Franken Wins! Minnesota High Court Rules To End Recount -- But Leaves Pawlenty An Out

Finally, it looks like the longest hissy fit in Republican history is finally drawing to a close, eight months after the election: ST. PAUL, Minn.

Finally, it looks like the longest hissy fit in Republican history is finally drawing to a close, eight months after the election:

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's long-running Senate race, paving the way for a resolution in the seven-month fight over the seat.

The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat are dwindling.

Justices said Franken is entitled to the election certificate he needs to assume office. With Franken and the usual backing of two independents, Democrats will have a big enough majority to overcome Republican filibusters.

However, there's a final hitch:

Coleman's campaign didn't immediately return a call for comment. Nor did Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose signature is required on the election certificate Franken needs to be seated.

Pawlenty, a Republican, has said he would sign the certificate if ordered to do so by the court. The court's ruling stopped short of explicitly ordering the governor to sign the document, saying only that Franken was "entitled" to it.

You may recall that when Pawlenty was on TV earlier this week, he indicated he'd sign the certificate -- but used very lawyerly language in doing so:

... I'm going to follow the direction of the court, John. We expect that ruling any day now. I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I'm prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.

... Well, a federal court could stay or put a limit on or stop the effect of the state court ruling. If they chose, if they do that, I would certainly follow their direction. But if that doesn't happen promptly or drags out for any period of time, then we need to move ahead with signing this, particularly if I'm ordered to do that by the state court.

Now, it would be a mighty thin straw to grasp, but Pawlenty could say that since he wasn't ordered to sign it, he doesn't have to (and then point to any appeal filed by Coleman as a further excuse). Normally, I'd guess that sanity would prevail and Pawlenty wouldn't attempt it. But given the behavior of Minnesota's GOP throughout this fiasco, anything seems possible.

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