Court Rejects Franken’s Motion To Toss Coleman’s Election Lawsuit

January 22, 2009 5:28 p.m.

Al Franken just had his first real legal setback in a while, with the special three-judge panel handling Norm Coleman’s legal contest denying his legal team’s motion to dismiss the case.

The court rejected the Franken team’s legal arguments that they didn’t have the constitutional authority to conduct a far-reaching election contest over a race for federal office, ruling that they do in fact have the authority and that Franken’s team hadn’t met the very high burden of proof necessary to throw out the lawsuit on its face.

This wasn’t all that surprising, as Franken’s arguments seemed a little too ambitious to succeed so easily. Next up is a hearing on motions for summary judgment, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET tomorrow, at which the court might be able to work its way through some of Norm Coleman’s various legal claims.Coleman’s team is already celebrating with this statement saying among other things: “Tonight’s decision from the court is a stinging defeat for Al Franken. It underscores that the Coleman contest will proceed, that there will be a trial, and that every valid vote will be counted and counted only once.”

The Franken camp has this response to the ruling: “We have reviewed the court’s orders, we look forward to the trial commencing on Monday, and moving forward expeditiously so that Minnesotans can have two Senators representing them as quickly as possible. We continue to believe the hard work done by hundreds of election officials throughout the state and the bipartisan State Canvassing Board was done carefully and accurately and produced a result will ultimately be upheld by the court.”

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