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Franken to Sotomayor: See Ya at the Senate Hearings

Al Franken used a statement on federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court to say he expects to be seated as Minnesota’s junior senator in time for confirmation hearings that President Obama has said should happen in July. “I look forward to joining my colleagues as we examine Judge Sotomayor’s qualifications,” Franken said. An alternate scenario could have Sotomayor deciding whether Franken won his Senate race.

Franken and Sotomayor are now in a kind of do-si-do dance in which Franken expects to take the lead.

The Minnesota Supreme Court hears oral arguments in former Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) election-contest appeal on June 1, with a decision expected within two or three weeks.

That decision could include specific instructions to issue an election certificate that the winner needs to be seated in the Senate, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) has said he’ll abide by the state high court’s decision. But Pawlenty has also signaled he might delay issuing an election certificate until federal courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court — have cleared any subsequent case Coleman might file.

In that event, Sotomayor could conceivably be seated in the U.S. Supreme Court in time to pass judgment on Franken’s prospects for a new job in Washington, D.C., rather than the other way around.

Here is Franken’s full statement:

I want to congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her history-making nomination to the Supreme Court. Confirming a Supreme Court Justice is among the most important responsibilities the Senate has, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I look forward to joining my colleagues as we examine Judge Sotomayor’s qualifications carefully before confirmation. However, it is already clear that President Obama has chosen a remarkable jurist with an impressive record of accomplishment and a life story with which working families can identify.

*Chris Steller is a reporter for TWI’s sister site, The Minnesota Independent. *

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