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Downballot: Tough questions for Norm

MINNESOTA: The Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that yesterday's "vigorous interrogations" by the state Supreme Court "left no decisive signals about the justices' thinking. They challenged the arguments of both candidates, but leveled their toughest questions at a lawyer for Coleman, who is appealing a lower court verdict awarding Minnesota's disputed Senate election to Franken."

Both the Coleman and Franken lawyers urged observers not to read too much into the justices' questions, the New York Times adds. "But an election law expert who listened to the proceedings online said Mr. Franken had emerged a very likely winner. The expert, Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said that while Mr. Coleman's side might argue that the election had problems, 'the position of the justices appears to be: "You need to do more than that. You need to show us that whatever problems there were likely affected the outcome of the election." And that's a tough standard to meet.'"

DNC Chairman Tim Kaine released a statement that called on Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) to certify the results once the Minnesota Supreme Court rules. "Today's Minnesota Supreme Court hearing hopefully marks the end of the line for Norm Coleman and his extensive legal battle that has left Minnesota without proper representation in Congress," Kaine said. "Nearly seven months after Election Day, the fact remains that Coleman has lost at every turn – he lost the recount, he lost his lawsuit to overturn the results of that recount, and we expect Norm Coleman to lose in the Minnesota Supreme Court."

"Minnesotans realize that there is too much work to be done for their state and for the nation to allow divisive political tactics like Norm Coleman's legal battles to continue. The people of Minnesota deserve better, and I reiterate my call on Governor Tim Pawlenty to certify the result and bring an end to this should the Minnesota Supreme Court make a definitive ruling."