Endgame in Minnesota?

ENDGAME IN MINNESOTA?…. Most analysts seem to agree that the Minnesota Supreme Court will, one of these days, rule against Norm Coleman. At that point, the former Republican senator may very well try to keep the process going, taking his case to the federal courts.

Will Al Franken’s victory be certified after the state court’s ruling, regardless of Coleman’s next move? Maybe.

Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) said Sunday he has no plans for further delay in certifying the results of the state’s disputed U.S. Senate election so that Republican Norm Coleman can pursue a federal court challenge.

Pawlenty told CNN that he would abide by whatever ruling the Minnesota Supreme Court makes in the contest, where Democrat Al Franken appears to have an upper hand.

“I’m prepared to sign [the certification] as soon as they give the green light,” Pawlenty said. “I’m not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty.”

Pawlenty said he had no plans to slow up the process to allow federal litigation to play out, but would abide by any federal court stay Coleman might obtain. “If that doesn’t happen promptly or it drags out for any period of time, then we need to move ahead,” Pawlenty said.

This sounds fairly encouraging for those anxious to see this matter resolved, but like Dave Weigel, I’m not sure what Pawlenty means by “green light.” It’s certainly possible, for example, that the Minnesota Supreme Court will reject Coleman’s claim, but not specifically order the governor to certify Franken’s victory. Indeed, by saying he won’t “defy an order,” Pawlenty made it sound as if he’ll wait for specific instructions, and won’t necessarily act before.

In other words, the state court ruling may not resolve the matter, as far as Minnesota Republicans are concerned.