Court Rules Al Franken Has Won Senate Seat
Comedian Al Franken is the rightful winner of a hotly contested US Senate seat, Minnesota's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a decision which could hand Democrats unchecked control of both houses of Congress.
Should Franken be seated, Democrats would have the 60 Senate votes needed to break through a parliamentary delaying tactic called a filibuster.
Coupled with a strong Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the shift would give President Barack Obama immense power to push his ambitious agenda.
Franken, who rose to fame on the legendary Saturday Night Live program, has been locked in a months-long legal battle over the validity of the November 4 election after a series of recounts handed him a victory of just 312 votes.
Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, who challenged the fairness of the election and the accuracy of the recount, still has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court.
However, Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he will issue a certificate granting Franken the seat should the state's highest court rule in his favor.
In a unanimous opinion, the court ruled that "Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minnesota statute... to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota."