As mentioned here yesterday, the Franken campaign wants the Minnesota Supremes to rule February 5 on whether they can carve out an exception in state law to allow Federal legislative election winners to receive signed election certificates despite the existence of an unresolved lawsuit or contest.  Such exceptions, or carve outs, already exist for state legislative election winners.  Otherwise, since the Coleman suit trial isn’t scheduled to start until February 23, Franken would have to wait until March for his cert!

However, the Coleman campaign may well be starting to face reality, in a kinda-sorta way.  Here’s their proposed schedule for the contests:

February 9th.  That’s when the first trial in the MN Senate Election contest begins if a schedule proposed by the Norm Coleman campaign is adopted. Trials on five separate issues would begin between February 9th and February 23rd, indicating a process that could stretch well into March.  Here are some of the most important dates:

JANUARY 21: If there’s a Motion to Dismiss the election contest, the courts may choose to hear it on this date.

FEBRUARY 9th: Rejected Absentee Ballots trial begins.

FEBRUARY 16th: Duplicate/Original ballots trial begins.

FEBRUARY 16th: Missing 133 ballots in Mpls Ward 1/Precinct 3 trial begins.

FEBRUARY 23rd: Voter Intent  Challenges trial begins.

FEBRUARY 23rd: "Remaining Issues" trial begins.

So where does the kinda-sorta reality come in?   There’s also a statement to the effect that if it is ever mathematically impossible for Coleman to overturn the recount result, then Coleman will give up and any planned trials after that point will be cancelled.  Then again, this is Coleman-speak, so who knows what it really means? 

Even Norm’s waging this legal battle, he’s playing defense in another legal battle, the Kazeminy suit in Texas.  Revelations from that suit could well prove embarrassing to Norm and to the Republican party infrastructure fighting so frantically to get him back into the Senate.

Meanwhile, in other news, the Minneapolis StarTribune — a paper that had been among the most profitable in America when it was bought by McClatchy in 1998 — has now filed for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy citing assets of $493 million and liabilities of $661 million.  We’d better hope that online media can be ready to meet the challenge, because soon hardcore print journalism will be gone from the land.