Franken in a Hurry

The Coleman campaign filed their motion for appeal yesterday, and today the Franken campaign responded with the following requests:

Cullen Sheehan and Norm Coleman ("Appellants") have appealed the unanimous decision of the three-judge election contest court ("the District Court"), which, after a seven week trial, affirmed the unanimous Minnesota State Canvassing Board certification that Al Franken ("Respondent") received the highest number of votes in the 2008 general election for the office of United States Senator. Because of the overriding public interest in the expeditious handling and resolution of this historic matter, Respondent respectfully moves for an order that:

1. The record of the District Court proceedings be provided to the Court by the close of business tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22, 2008;

2. Briefing be expedited pursuant to the schedule below, so that the case will be ready for argument twelve calendar days following provision of the record, or Monday, May 4, 2008; and

3. A date for oral argument be set such that the case will be argued promptly after briefing is complete.

This motion is made pursuant to Minn. Stat § 209.09, subds. 2 & 4, Minn. R. Civ App. P. 102 and 126, and the Court's inherent authority.


Under the United States Constitution, Minnesota is entitled to be represented by two United States Senators, Minnesota has been without its second Senator for more than 100 days, In a trial that lasted seven weeks, Appellants were given every opportunity to make their case to the District Court In its unanimous decision, the District Court declared that Respondent is entitled to the certificate of election. Now, because of the important public policy concern of ensuring that the interests of the citizens of Minnesota are properly represented in Congress, this appeal should be expedited.


1. Expedite the Preparation and Filing of the Record.


2. Expedite the Briefing Schedule.


Accordingly, Respondent suggests the following briefing timeline:

A. Opening brief of Appellants - Monday, April 27, 2009, five calendar days after delivery of the record;

B, Opposition brief of Respondent - Saturday, May 2, 2009, five calendar days after service of the opening brief; and

C. Reply brief - Monday, May 4, 2009, two calendar days after service of the opposition brief.

3. Set an Expedited Date for Oral Argument. Respondent respectfully suggests that the Court schedule oral argument now for a date very shortly after the reply brief is submitted.

More than five full months have elapsed since the November 4, 2008, general election. More than three months have elapsed since the State Canvassing Board declared the election result and the United States Senate convened to address the nation's urgent business. Yet, unlike every other state in the union, Minnesota stands alone with only a single United States Senator to represent its citizens and respond to their concerns. While Appellants had the right to challenge the State Canvassing Board's decision before three judges and now have the right to appeal the District Court's unanimous decision rejecting their claims, Respondent submits that the overriding public interest in resolving this dispute promptly requires that this appeal be expedited.

Dated: April 21, 2009

Source: Respondent's Motion to Expedited Schedule via [PDF]

The Franken campaign is seeking to accelerate the litigation proceedings to the greatest extent possible; they cite several Minnesota Statues, which I detailed yesterday, that give precedent to this election contest appeal. It should also be noted that the MN Supreme Court arranges their own schedule in accordance with Rule 102 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure.

I am however sure, that the MN Supreme Court will address this appeal in the most efficient manner possible. The Franken campaign is pushing for a May 4th start date, and their request seems reasonable given the circumstances. If I had to bet, I would say that May 4th would be the absolute soonest the oral arguments could start, with May 11th, the following Monday, presenting as another realistic start date.

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