Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is calling on the 111th Congress to seat Senator-elect Al Franken:
“If the Canvassing Board declares a winner, that should be our senator,” said the Minnesota Democrat. Even if a court challenge were to follow, she added, “[The Senate] could seat a senator pending the litigation.”
Should Klobuchar’s vision bear out, it would likely result in Al Franken taking over the Senate seat on a temporary basis. Democrats would get a 59th caucus member and a potentially important vote on key legislative matters.
Look, the Minnesota recount is over. The votes have been sorted out and tabulated by the state canvassing board, which has given Franken a 47-vote lead over incumbent Senator Norm Coleman. Franken won the recount according to the body given the legal authority to determine who won the recount.
Yes, it’s likely Norm Coleman will file a lawsuit to change the results of the recount in his favor. And who knows, maybe he’ll succeed. But we shouldn’t deny Minnesota their rightful representation in the Senate because of the potential outcome of a potential lawsuit; we can’t expect the Senate to grind to a halt because Norm Coleman doesn’t like how the recount turned out and might challenge it in court.
As it stands, Al Franken won more votes than Norm Coleman. He’s entitled to become the next Senator from Minnesota. If Coleman’s legislation succeeds and he steals the election away from Franken, then the Senate should seat him. But until that happens–if it does happen–Minnesota deserves to be fully represented in the Senate, and the government of Minnesota has determined that Al Franken is the duly-elected representative of the people of Minnesota.
So let’s seat Senator Al Franken and let him begin working on behalf of the state that–for now, at least–elected him.