Norm Coleman just got a Christmas present from the Minnesota Supreme Court: A giant lump of coal.
In a unanimous decision handed down just now, the state Supremes denied Coleman any relief in a lawsuit he was waging to deal with allegations of double-counted absentee ballots, which his campaign says have given an illegitimate edge to Al Franken. The Coleman campaign was seeking to switch 25 selected precincts back to their Election Night totals, which would undo all of Franken's recount gains in those areas and put Coleman back in the lead.
The court, however, sided with the Franken camp's lawyers in saying that a question like this should be reserved for a post-recount election contest proceeding, as the proper forum to discover evidence -- and which also has a burden of proof that heavily favors the certified winner.
Simply put, Coleman is in very big trouble right now. With Al Franken leading by 47 votes, this lawsuit was Coleman's best shot at coming from behind.
Of course, as long as a Republican lawyer still draws a breath in the Twin Cities, it isn't completely over. But it's encouraging news.
In fact, it's encouraging enough to bring up another story from Franken's SNL days:
In the second season, Franken and Davis got over their initial shyness about crossing the threshold into Lorne's office and learned to barge in whenever they felt like it. Franken in particular developed a reputation for stubborn aggressiveness, and people got used to hearing the hard, nasal sound of his voice raised to express an opinion, any opinion, any time he wanted to express it. When Ricky Nelson hosted the show, he walked into Lorne's office while Franken was there, lying on the floor with his feet up on Lorne's desk.
"Hey, Rick," Franken said cheerfully, "how about an 'Ozzie's Dead' sketch?"
After Franken left, Lorne turned to Nelson and said, "That was Al Franken. You have to understand."
"Stubborn aggressiveness." I like the sound of that in a Senator.
"That was Senator Franken. You have to understand." I kind of like the sound of that, too.