Original Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/opinion/16thu4.html
A special three-judge state panel did not mince words this week when it declared Al Franken the clear winner over Norm Coleman in Minnesota’s fiercely disputed United States Senate race. Reviewing challenges to the painstaking recount following the November election, the judges unanimously found that the “overwhelming weight of the evidence” proved the election was conducted “fairly, impartially and accurately.” Mr. Franken’s 312-vote margin means he is “entitled to receive the certificate of election,” the court concluded.
Unfortunately former Senator Coleman remains in denial, and his fellow Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is already looking for a way to wriggle out of his responsibility to certify the result.
On election night — when he looked like the winner by a hair — Mr. Coleman grandly warned of the cost of a recount for taxpayers and how Minnesotans would suffer if they were deprived of full Senate representation. Five months later, and now the official loser, Mr. Coleman seems willing to let Minnesotans pay any price to ensure his win and is taking his challenge to the State Supreme Court. Governor Pawlenty says that even if the Minnesota Supreme Court rules for Mr. Franken, he’s not sure he will immediately provide his certification.
Surely it’s time for Republicans to let reason and the votes prevail. Mr. Coleman’s partisans in the Senate are clearly worried about a different count.
If Mr. Franken is seated, he’ll be the 59th senator to vote with the Democrats — leaving them one tantalizing vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority. Republicans are vowing to push the issue, if necessary, to the United States Supreme Court. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, promises a filibuster if Mr. Franken arrives without the governor’s certification.
The ringing three-judge ruling against Mr. Coleman was good enough for Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman and the garrulous host on MSNBC. “Morning Joe” urged Mr. Coleman to think of the right of Minnesota voters to a full presence in the Capitol and give it up: “It’s over, Norm. O.K.?”