Monday, June 1, 2009


Coleman’s Appeal is Heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court
by Charlie Leck

Holy mackerel! Golleeeeeeeee! Just an hour ago I sat watching the Minnesota Supreme Court in action. They were hearing the attorneys for what-do-we-call-him-anyway Senator Norm Coleman in his appeal to the decision of a lower court panel that declared that candidate Al Franken had won the Minnesota Senate election race, oh some, five months ago or so by oh some 312 votes.

I’d guess, off-hand, that most people would be unrelentingly bored by such television.

Personally, I was looking for the hot dog vendor and Jimmy the Beerman. This television production was lacking, but otherwise the hour-and-a-half had all the drama of a great contest between the two best teams in professional football.

Wow! Siss-boom-bah! This is electric, exciting and compelling stuff!

Am I crazy?

There I was screaming: “Why did you call that play, you dummy? That was the time for a short, simple, little pass to the sidelines.”

Another time I was on my feet, screaming for the ref’s head. “Blow your damned whistle you stupid, blind bean-brain! Throw the flag! The sucker was off-sides for goodness sake!”

The game seemed as if it would be forever tied in a scoreless match. The defenses were great. Then, all of a sudden, Franken’s quarterback, Marc Elias, went back to the play Team Franken uses again and again; and, whamo, they hit a long pass downfield for 38 yards and set up a certain touchdown late in the game. They call the play “every ballot has a story” and, boy, does it work. Coleman’s team was tight at that point and, obviously, looking for another run into the center of the line.

So, Team Coleman, is in a hole and time is running out. One of the Justice’s sets up the possibility for a big return play and asks attorney, Joe Friedberg, arguing for Coleman, if there was any evidence of fraud in this election and if that is a part of his game plan here.

“Absolutely not, your honor! Absolutely not. This is not a case about fraud!”

Then Friedberg goes back and throws a “Hail Mary Pass” hoping to pull the game out at the last possible second.

“This, your honor, is a case about widely differing standards that allowed Zero absentee ballots to be rejected in Minneapolis and St. Louis County and dozens and dozens to be rejected in each of others of counties around the state – counties like Carver that rejected many.”

Franken’s star, and highly paid, safety was back on defense and it was his big moment.

“The standard, your honors, established by the laws of Minnesota is that election judges must be satisfied that the requirements have been met before accepting an absentee ballot. That one word – ‘satisfied’ – connotes that judges may or will have substantially different viewpoints of how an election judge satisfies himself that all conditions are met that would allow the acceptance of a particular ballot.”

And the “Hail Mary Pass” is knocked to the ground and the horn sounds, indicating the game is over and Franken prevails.The crowd on my side of the field is going crazy and the spectators across the way are screaming foul, foul!

“The bum interfered on the play you blind zebras, you! He was all over the receiver! He was holding! He was bumping him! Throw the flag! Throw the flag!”

But, there was no flag and there is no joy in certain parts of Mudville.

What a game! What a game!

Now the Supreme Judges must get together and certify the results of the game. Were all the rules followed? Was there really some interference on that last play? Is that “each ballot tells a story” play really a fair play or were there ineligible receivers downfield?

How soon will we know?

Soon, I think. It won’t be months. The people are too tensed up for that! Minnesota can go only so long without a Senator.

Then, of course, there is another question. Will the Coleman Team call for one more chance to play before the U.S. Supreme Court or a Federal Appeals Court? And, will the Commissioner of the League certify Al Franken’s election and allow him to take his place in Washington even while a further appeal goes on?

It was a great game, but, unfortunately, it really isn’t over even yet!

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