Bush v. Gore continues to haunt

BUSH V. GORE CONTINUES TO HAUNT…. The Mess in Minnesota just keeps getting stranger.

Republican Sen. Norm Coleman went before the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to block improperly rejected absentee ballots from Minnesota’s U.S. Senate recount, with his lawyer warning that justices must act to prevent a repeat of the tortured 2000 Bush-Gore impasse.

“With the best of intentions, this could become Florida 2008,” attorney Roger Magnuson told the court, saying it would be improper to add votes not counted on Election Day.

The argument drew stern words from Justice Paul Anderson.

“This is not Florida,” Anderson said. “I don’t appreciate the comparison.”

I can’t say I blame him. But keep in mind, Coleman’s lawyers aren’t using the Fiasco in Florida from eight years ago as a disaster to avoid, they’re using it as a template for their current arguments. As Kevin explained last night, Coleman hopes to stop vote counting “by using Bush v. Gore as precedent for an Equal Protection Clause claim,” the same Bush v. Gore decision “that was so contrary to previous conservative opinion that the court specifically (and to considerable mockery) stated that ‘Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances.'”

For what it’s worth, every time Coleman and his legal team go to court, their arguments seem to be rejected. Yesterday, the jurists on the Minnesota Supreme Court seemed especially unimpressed.

With that in mind, today should be a fairly consequential day. The state canvassing board, which had hoped to wrap up business by Friday, will meet to consider a series of ballot challenges by the Coleman camp, while the state Supreme Court will issue its opinion on Coleman’s lawsuit to stop the counting of improperly discarded absentee ballots. A decision against Coleman makes the likelihood of an Al Franken victory quite strong.

Stay tuned.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.