Norm Coleman suffered yet another setback in his court contests to win some more votes to overtake Al Franken in the Senate recount. The Minnesota Supreme Court denied his bid to remove the so-called "duplicate ballots" from the count, up to 150 ballots in all.
So what's next? An almost certain court ballot to the end.
View the PDF court document here
More from the Star Tribune
The justices said the campaign's claim of double-counted ballots is better resolved in a court hearing where evidence can be presented, instead of by canvassing boards.
The order allows those disputed ballots to remain in the vote totals, at least for now.
"We are deeply disappointed," said Coleman lawyer Fritz Knaak, declaring that the Supreme Court decision "virtually guarantees" that the election will be decided in a court contest and that Coleman's campaign is prepared to wage one.
"We win in Supreme Court," Franken spokesman Andy Barr said after the release of the 5-0 opinion written by Justice Alan Page. "The process can move forward despite attempts to halt its progress and cast doubt on the result."
A court battle wouldn't start until early to mid-January and could last more than a month, the Strib says. Read FiveThirtyEight's analysis here
So what does this mean for the new Senate, which begins work Jan. 6? They'll go on without a Minnesota and Illinois senator, says Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
. The Senate could call the seat a vacancy, which would allow Gov. Tim Pawlenty to fill it.
The Hill's statement
from the Coleman campaign furthers the guarantee that this race will end in court:
"There's no question, I mean no question in our minds that [a lawsuit] will happen now," Knaak said.