The Coleman team was scheduled to rest their case today, and they did indeed do it — not quite, though. In fact, they’ve provisionally rested, pending court action on a whole bunch of motions they just made.
First of all, Coleman lawyer James Langdon announced that they’re filing a motion for the court to declare that “Rule 9,” the procedure during the recount for handling duplicates of damaged absentee ballots, was illegal.
Both campaigns had called for this rule to be created during the recount, and they’d agreed to its conditions even with the risks that it could result in votes being counted twice — or in other cases, not counted at all — in precincts where some ballots weren’t fully labeled through human error. And of course, it’s really impossible to know just how much or how little this actually happened, or how the individual votes broke.Coleman has contended that Al Franken illegitimately gained over 100 votes because of this process. But his campaign’s prior role in creating Rule 9 means they are potentially stuck under the doctrine of invited error — that is, you can’t reverse your position just because it hasn’t worked out well for you.
As such, they need the rule to be declared wholly illegal — that its consequences are an affront to the voters, not just Coleman — in an attempt to absolve themselves from their commitment. The Coleman camp made a prior motion to nullify an agreement on the grounds that it wasn’t legal in the first place — and the court ruled against them. So if the court again rules that they made a legal deal and they’re stuck with it, this will be another issue for appeals.
Also, Langdon is filing a motion asking the court reconsider a previous ruling against Coleman, who wanted them to order the inspection of ballots from around the state. Here’s the thing: That ruling was in January, as the trial was just beginning. This isn’t exactly the most timely appeal.
So the Coleman camp has come down with a bunch of big legal arguments, and done them at the last minute. Does this mean they aren’t actually resting? Not really. What they’re doing here is laying down a basis for appeal, after the judges eventually give an expected ruling that Al Franken is the winner of this photo-finish.