Legal experts are largely undivided in the opinion that Norm Coleman's Minnesota Supreme Court bid to overturn a lower judicial panel's decisions regarding the vote count in the Minnesota Senate race is senseless and has no chance whatsoever of winning.
This opinion was widely held prior to the presentation of arguments by Coleman, but now, with some real face time in the high court behind us, in which we see the arguments for real, and see the reaction by the judges, it is confirmed and certain that Coleman's fate is sealed.
But what is not known at this time is the fate of Governor Pawlenty. Pawlenty is now known to be stepping aside from the race for re-election for governor of Minnesota, and it is widely believed that he will run for president. I can't wait to see Pawlenty in a throw down against Obama. But, for Pawlenty to get that far he has to avoid being fallen upon, beaten, chewed up and spit out by his comrades in the Party of No. Which means that when the court rules in favor of Franken, but does not specifically order the governor to issue an elections certificat, Pawlenty CAN NOT issue that certificate. This is clear. As Hamline professor David Shultz recently noted (reported by Paul Demko noted in a recent piece in the Minnesota Independent) "As soon as he signs [the election certificate] voluntarily, he's dead meat with Republicans nationwide. They're never going to remember eight years of no new taxes. They're going to remember you voluntarily put Al Franken in the Senate."
On the other hand, if he does not sign, the citizens of Minnesota, who are quite tired of this process, will surely snub him if he runs for governor gain.
Which is why he is not going to too that, obviously.
If you are interested in the Minnesota Gubernatorial race, you should check out Mike Haubrich's interviews with some of the most likely folks to run for Gubernor next time around...
I can't wait to see Pawlenty in a throw down against Obama.
Or Biden :-)
He's burning his political bridges here -- if he's offered a second slot to Sarah Palin, he won't have much choice but to accept.
I think that this analysis is spot on. I suspected as much was so when he declared that he wouldn't seek another term as governor. I was confirmed when I watched an interview with him and he answered the question about whether he would sign the election certificate, he answer that he would when the MNSC ordered him to do so (and the video was on a crooksandliars blogpost titled "Pawlenty says he'll sign election certificate"--they didn't get it).
The key question is : will the MN-Supreme Court include in its ruling instructions that the certificate must be signed ?
Did you notice that the first question that Justice Page asked Frankenâs attorney related to jurisdiction and that the Senate could decide who and when to seat the next Minnesota Senator ? The Court had previously rejected Frankenâs request that a certificate be issued (after the State Canvassing Board ruling) stating that the Senate can do whatever it wants. It seems to be a balancing act that the Court views its role as only to address the election contest and not tell the Senate what to do.
The interesting question is when the MNSC made their decision on Monday did they even consider the certificate signing question. Based on the questions that were asked it seemed that they question whether Coleman even had a case. It could be that they would just deny his request and let the Election Contest Court ruling stand â¦ which would mean that the âsigningâ question was not addressed. So right now the five Justices know the decision and we will have to wait weeks while they write the opinion(s). The Justices know the question exists but they might not feel inclined to get involved in other branches of governmentâs responsibilities. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during the justices deliberations to see how much, if any, time they took addressing the âsigningâ question.
In the end, Pawlenty does not have much of a choice but to sign â¦ but he has little to lose by taking his time â¦ but then again he has little to gain either.
As a lame duck Governor, his political career may be over. His options are limited â President or US Senate. Considering the make-up of the Republican Party, a mid-westerner without any military or foreign experience and without a strong theology base does not offer much appeal to the typical Republican activist. Remember that Pawlenty was McCainâs Co-Chair -- yet couldnât deliver the MN delegation to McCain even though by that time in the primary season McCain was clearly the nominee. A 2012 Presidential campaign would be over after Huckabee wins Iowa again and Romney takes New Hampshire --- actually a 2012 Presidential campaign would largely be a campaign for the VP slot â¦ yet he has little to offer in terms of policy, experience or connections.
The odd thing is that for all the discussion of whether to sign, Pawlenty has publicly stated that Minnesota is being short-changed without two Senators.
As such, currently Minnesotans will remember Pawlenty as the Guardian Angel of NoNewTaxes, but if he does not sign the certificate, he will also be known as the Guardian Angel of the Republican Party. The next Senate race will be in 2012 for Klobucharâs seat â¦ considering that is a Presidential year and if Pawlenty does have an abbreviated campaign, he will not be the MN-GOP nominee ( Bachmann would be the obvious choice considering the redistricting that will happen after the 2010 census.) After that it would be Franken âv- Pawlenty in 2014 ! ! ! Wow, will anyone remember the âsigningâ controversy ?