As expected the Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday declared Democrat Al Franken the winner of the long disputed Senate race ousting incumbent Norm Coleman.

With this decision all that is left is for Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty to sign the election certification and Franken can claim his seat next week when the Senate returns to business.

In an era of increased scrutiny over election fraud this race now stands above all others for the way that the recount process was handled and in effect turned what should have been a Coleman victory into a narrow defeat.

On election night Coleman led Franken by just 725 votes out of 2.9 million triggering a recount.  After the initial canvass Coleman was still ahead by 215 votes and that set the Franken lawyers into overdrive.

Through a long and tedious process Franken’s lawyers managed to get disqualified votes counted for the Democrat while Coleman lost votes.

Then there was the case of the absentee ballots that numbered in the thousands that the Franken team claimed had been mistakenly rejected.  Thanks to their efforts another 1,350 absentee ballots from Franken friendly areas were added to the count while Coleman gained but a handful.  When the dust settled Franken was now on top by 312 votes.

It isn’t a surprise that the court ruled the way they did.  They really didn’t have a choice unless they were willing to completely overhaul the Minnesota election system which courts are loathe to do.

In the end Franken was able to steal a U.S. Senate seat by manipulating the system and taking advantage of uneven standards across the state that few were willing to admit existed.

After the court verdict Coleman told reporters that “Ours is a nation of laws, not men and women,” and that he respected the court’s decision and would abide by it.

Unfortunately for Coleman in this case justice didn’t prevail and he is now an ex-Senator.