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Aspen Sheriff Candidate Supports Legalization For Personal Use

I've endorsed Joe DiSalvo for Pitkin County Sheriff several times over the past six months. Here's one more reason: Di Salvo supports the legalization of drugs for personal use:

DiSalvo, who is currently Pitkin County undersheriff, said he had no interest in whether people in their own homes “fire up a joint or do a line on [their] table.” That means no undercover work would be done by deputies under his command, DiSalvo said, calling the action too expensive and dangerous for law enforcement officers.

“I think adults should be able to do what they want in their own homes and do so safely,” DiSalvo said, adding that that attitude does not apply to children or people getting behind the wheel of automobiles.

Di Salvo shares the views of Aspen's retiring Sheriff (and my personal fave) Bob Braudis: [More...]

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Explosive New Details in John Edwards Saga

New York Magazine has a ten page excerpt from the new book, Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, which hits the stores Monday.

You'll feel like taking a shower after reading it.

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The Al Franken Decade Begins

So sez the Minnesota Supreme Court:

A unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Democrat Al Franken should be certified the winner of the state's long-running Senate race, paving the way for the former Saturday Night Live comedian to be seated after an almost eight-month fight.

Coleman concedes. It's over.

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Coleman-Franken Arguments Heard in MN Supreme Court

Five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in the Senate seat battle between Norm Coleman and Al Franken.

Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg argued that the panel applied too strict a standard in deciding which absentee ballots to count and that they didn't adhere to the constitution in coming up with that tally.

This argument relies on the fact that poll workers rejected some ballots for reasons that were not considered grounds for rejection by poll workers in other counties. "Every county should come very close to applying the same standards," Friedberg told the justices.


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MN-Sen: Franken Still Winning, On To The MN Supremes

The opinion from the ECC (PDF). Have not read it yet. Just know that it declares Franken the winner. Coleman will appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. More later.

Rick Hasen's take - "Coleman's Chances on Appeal Appear Quite Small."

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Powerline Perspective On MN-Sen: Franken Won

I have had many a nasty thing or two to say about Powerline in my blogging life, but credit where due to Scott Johnson for a pretty fair appraisal of the Minnesota Senate recount. In an election this close, it really is basically a tie. But you count the votes as best you can. The Franken team was simply better. Johnson writes:

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MN-Sen: Cornyn's Tipoff

I think Sen. John Cornyn's (R-TX) statement on the Minnesota Senate election contest let's you know where the end of the line comes for Coleman:

Events today do not address the main issue that remains unresolved: over 4,000 Minnesotans were disenfranchised by this three-judge panel. That's why it's so critical for this process to move forward before the Minnesota Supreme Court and why Senate Republicans fully support Senator Coleman's efforts. "The message from our side has remained consistent throughout this process: we want this election to resolve itself as quickly, but not at the expense of Minnesota's laws or voters. . . . Senate Democrats should stand down, set partisan politics aside, and respect Minnesota's laws and voters."

(Emphasis supplied.) No "equal protection" talk. Only a passing reference to "enfranchising the voters." The Minnesota Supreme Court is the end of the line for Coleman.

Speaking for me only

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MN-Sen: Franken Winning Margin Expands To 312

The Minnesota Senate contest is a foregone conclusion, as it was when it started, Al Franken won the election. Today, at the direction of the Minnesota Election Contest Court, Minnesota counted more ballots. The result? Franken's 225 vote lead expanded to a 312 vote lead. Apparently, the more votes Coleman asks to be counted, the larger Franken's lead becomes.

The question is not will Al Franken become Minnesota's next Senator, the question is when. A final order from the Minnesota ECC should be handed down shortly and then the inevitable Coleman appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court will need to be decided. Coleman has no chance of winning imo. Then the interesting part comes - will Minnesota's Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty certify Franken's election? Will a federal court (either a federal district court or the SCOTUS) enjoin the issuance of such certificate? Will Senate Republicans try to block Franken's entry into the US Senate? My guesses? Maybe (if Pawlenty does this, he is running for President in 2012), no and no.

Speaking for me only

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MN-Sen: The Return of Bush v. Gore?

Politico is reporting that Republicans are pushing Norm Coleman to go to the Supreme Court with his Bush v. Gore argument:

Top Republicans are encouraging Coleman to be as litigious as possible and take his fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if he loses this round, believing that an elongated court fight is worth it if they can continue to deny Democrats the 59th Senate seat that Franken would represent. And in pushing a possible Supreme Court conclusion, Republicans are raising case history that makes Democrats shudder: Bush v. Gore.

I shudder at the mention of Bush v. Gore, but not because I fear its impact in this case. I shudder because it was the most blatant example of a lack of judicial honesty that I have seen. More . . .

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MN Supreme Court Denies Franken Request For Certification Of Election

The Supreme Court of Minnesota denied Al Franken's petition (PDF) that the Governor and Secretary of State be ordered to issue a certificate of election. The key to the decision is this passage, imo: [More...]

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When Legal Realism Attacks

Via Kos, Republicans arguing for expansive statutory interpretation and Dems for strict construction:

Coleman lawyer James Langdon said that the Franken team "would have you sit in a vacuum, strictly interpreting a statute[]" . . . The Franken camp argued the opposite -- that Minnesota laws are very specific about what kinds of ballots are to be counted . . . "The contestants [Coleman] talk a lot about what they wish the law might be, but not what the law is," said lead Franken lawyer Marc Elias. "And the law is what it is, and has strict requirements that must be adhered to."

Without knowing more, I must admit I prefer the Coleman argument, especially when it comes to counting votes. Beyond that, if a consistent standard is applied, does anyone doubt Franken will still win? I am not thrilled with people not actually parties to the dispute letting their concern for voters suddenly disappear. Franken should be arguing for consistent expansive standards imo. I find his reversal the more depressing. I already expect the worst from Republicans.

Speaking for me only

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MN-Sen: Coleman Widens Net In Search For Votes

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MN-Sen: Is Coleman Asking For A Full Recount In His Contest Petition?

When I contemplated Norm Coleman's contest of the Minnesota Senate result, I assumed he would make discrete specific challenges (i.e. - specific rulings on objections to the determination of election judges, the exclusion of certain rejected absentee ballots, the inclusion of certain duplicate ballots, etc.) to the result certified by the Minnesota Canvassing Board. But reviewing Coleman's motion for contest and Notice of Contest (PDFs), it appears Coleman is asking for a new full recount, to be performed by 3 designated inspection officials (one Coleman inspector, one Franken inspector and one neutral inspector). Then all disputes will be submitted to the Inspection Panel.

It looks as if Coleman wants to drag this out as long as possible. The disputes are already known. It is the disputes that should be the subject of the contest. Instead Coleman is requesting a complete recount do-over. I assume the Election Panel can reject this request and proceed immediately to the disputes. I certainly hope they do.

Speaking for me only

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Franken Declares Victory

Go Al! Via TPM:

As someone who defended Norm Coleman's (and before that, Al Franken's) right to avail himself of all legal options to be sure that he did not win, I think it is time to acknowledge Franken's victory. Coleman must know now he has lost. He has no path to victory now. For the sake of Minnesota, he should concede.

Speaking for me only

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MN-Sen: Franken By 225 After Rejected Absentee Ballot Count

UPDATE - After the recount, The Uptake has Franken gaining a 176 votes and now leading by 225 votes, based on the election judge's call. Objections to the election judge's rulings will be decided by the Canvassing Board on Monday There were no objections to the Election Judge's rulings. Coleman's doors are closing. He is in Hail Mary territory now.

The Minnesota Canvassing Board is counting 953 improperly rejected absentee ballots this weekend in the Senate election between Franken and Coleman.

The Uptake has the proceedings. Franken currently leads by 49 votes. Coleman has asked for certain additional rejected absentee ballots be counted but the Minnesota Supreme Court has not acted on its request. Coleman will contest the election (presumably Franken will too in the unlikely event he is behind at the end of the Canvassing Board's tabulations.) Under Minnesota law, there can be no certified winner of the race until contests to the election are resolved.

Speaking for me only

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