Thursday, December 18, 2008

Supreme Court: absentee ballots (shorter version)

Coleman lawyer: May it please the Court. Boo! Florida! Florida! Florida! Ha, skeered ya!

Court: Settle down, counsel. Take a pill. This isn't Florida, and it's annoying when you suggest it is. Now, what's on your mind?

Coleman lawyer: Well I never! Anyway, we know there are a lot of wrongfully-rejected absentee ballots out there in the counties, maybe a whole lot of them. But, we don't want them counted because, well, we just don't. These voters do have a remedy: they can sue in each of the 87 counties in Minnesota to have their votes counted. Of course, most of them won't, and the Canvassing Board is probably going to certify a winner long before any of the suits could be heard, but hey, that's not our problem!

Court: That's cold, counsel.

Coleman lawyer: What do you want from us? Equal protection?

*  *  *

That's about how it went yesterday at the Supreme Court of Minnesota yesterday. From the linked Strib article:

The hearing in a packed room began with Justice Paul Anderson testily responding to Roger Magnuson, the lead attorney for Coleman, who compared Minnesota's recount to the 2000 presidential election dispute that focused on the counting of ballots in Florida. "This is not Florida," said Anderson.

Coleman's campaign does not want the Canvassing Board to count any improperly rejected absentee ballots, saying it is not the proper body to settle that issue. Instead, it wants those ballots set aside and preserved in the event either campaign goes to court after the recount to try to get a judge to include them in the tally. The Franken campaign wants the recount before the Canvassing Board to include the ballots.

You know how history museums have dioramas depicting different epochs: Stone Age Man, Bronze Age Man, etc.? Some day, there will be a diorama at the Minnesota History Center of someone looking remarkably like Roger Magnuson, shown standing in an ancient courtroom. The diorama narration will explain that the figure is Republican Age Man, a sub-species now extinct, who tried to maintain himself with increasingly bizarre and self-isolating rituals like the one depicted.

Regardless of how the election comes out, yesterday's court hearing represents the nadir of the story arc.

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