It\’s now going to a three-judge panel, folks!

As mentioned yesterday, Norm Coleman — despite the near-certainty that he is going to have his ass handed back to him as very-expensively-prepared legal sashimi — has done the will of his Republican masters and filed a contest of the recount, something he had said way back on November 5 that he would not do were he behind in the count. (How bogus is the contest?  Here’s one of the stronger arguments from it.  Yeah, it’s that pathetic.)

Now that the contest has been made, expect to see Norm’s media surrogates escalate their already intense effort to smear and attack anyone associated with the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Secretary of State’s office, or the pool of judges from which Minnesota Supreme Court justice Alan Page — who is handling this matter as the court’s chief justice, Pawlenty appointee Eric Magnuson, has recused himself as he was part of the State Canvassing Board — will pick the three-judge panel that will adjudicate Coleman’s contest.

We’ve already had the attacks on Mark Ritchie and the State Canvassing Board, implying that he, as an Evil Partisan Democrat, stacked the SCB with like-minded Evil Partisan Democrats.  Jeff Fecke, his Snark-O-Matic set on "fricassee".  blasts that particular bogosity down rather effectively:

 Yes, Mark Ritchie has been a schemer! And he’s completely outschemed the canvassing board, which is made up of poor, pathetic creatures like:

  • Minnesota Chief Justice Eric Magnusuon, an appointee and former law partner of Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Magnuson has drawn praise from pro-life groups and is known as a “lawyer’s lawyer.”
  • Minnesota Associate Justice G. Barry Anderson, an appointee of Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is known in the state as a conservative stalwart.
  • Ramsey County Chief Judge Kathleen Gearin, first elected in a non-partisan election in 1986, Gearin has been re-elected three times; she was promoted to Chief Judge in 2008 after serving as Associate Chief Judge for four years.
  • Judge Edward J. Cleary, a Ramsey County judge appointed by Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002, he received the Graven Public Service Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association in 1998.

So, clearly, we have a bunch of weak-willed simpletons who are all willing to cave to an evil Secretary of State. It’s just too bad that Ritchie couldn’t have chosen someone who’d accomplished something in their lives, and of course, the fact that he appointed two Republicans, one Independent, and one Democrat to serve with him proves that he was out to fix things so only Franken could win.

Got that? The State Canvassing Board was if anything more conservatively than liberally tilted, yet they still refused to let Norm Coleman and his Hordes of Lawyers©  run roughshod over them, hence the whines emanating from Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page.

If they can get away with implying that the conservatively-tilted State Canvassing Board as liberally-biased — and the conservatives running the once-proud St. Paul Pioneer Press seem to be happy to help them do so — then they can set up their next move, which is to pressure Alan Page into picking nothing but Republican trogdolytes or easily-rolled Dem or Indie judges for the three-judge contest panel.   Luckily, Justice Page doesn’t seem to be as pliable as the Cons would like:  He dissented from the Minnesota Supreme Court’s sole blunder in the recount, which was to force the county elections personnel to allow the campaigns to have a say in the counting of "fifth-pile" (wrongly rejected) absentee ballots — a move that  gave Norm’s campaign the power to attempt to sabotage the counting of fifth-pile ballots.   In addition, while Norm may have the Murdoch Journal and the PiPress for his Amen Corners, the rule of law has us — and while they likely will have weight with the rest of the TradMed, we probably have more readers than they do.