It’s been nearly 8 months since Election Day.
It’s been more than 6 months since Inauguration Day.
And, finally, Minnesota’s outstanding Senate race has been decided.
Minnesota’s Supreme Court has affirmed [PDF] that Al Franken is the duly-elected junior Senator from Minnesota, having garnered more votes than former Senator Norm Coleman.
Of course, Franken still needs a certificate of election signed by his state’s governor, Republican Tim Pawlenty. But Pawlenty said that he would abide by the Supreme Court’s decision:
Minnesota law does not allow the governor to sign an election certificate until the state court process is complete. And when it is, and they direct me to sign the certificate, I’m going to sign it. There’s not going to be any undue delay or the like. But I’m going to follow the direction of the courts in that regard and we’re going to be having a decision here in the coming weeks … I have to follow the law. If the Minnesota Supreme Court says, “You sign the certificate” — and there’s not an appeal or some other contrary direction from a federal court — you know, that’s my duty. I can’t just ignore that or say I don’t feel like following a directive from the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would not be the responsible thing to do.
There’s a chance that Coleman could appeal this decision to the federal judiciary, which may give Pawlenty room to once again put off signing a certificate.
But the Minnesota Supreme Court should be the final say in this case, and they have resoundingly affirmed that Al Franken is the junior Senator from Minnesota.
UPDATE: I should note that the decision was unanimous–the court ruled 5-0 in Franken’s favor.
Here’s the key part of the ruling:
For all of the foregoing reasons, we affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minn. Stat. § 204C.40 (2008) to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota.
UPDATE II: Norm Coleman just conceded; congratulations to Senator Al Franken!