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Coleman appeal: 5 justices to hear the case

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In the first document released by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Norm Coleman's appeal, it appears that five of the seven justices will hear his case. The order released gave Al Franken permission to be represented by two out-of-state lawyers and was signed by five justices.

As expected, two of the justices have recused themselves from the case because of their involvement in the state Canvassing Board during the original recount. Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Justice G. Barry Anderson will sit this one out.

While there were some questions about several other justices with histories of political donations that could have chosen to recuse themselves, it appears they will still hear the case.

Three of the five justices hearing the case have made political donations that made their hearing of the case come into question earlier this month. But it appears they don't find it to be a conflict of interest in the case. From the Star Tribune:

Before becoming judges, Justice Lorie Gildea contributed to Coleman's 1998 gubernatorial race; Justice Christopher Dietzen gave to Coleman's Senate campaigns in 2001 and 2004, and Justice Helen Meyer contributed to several DFL candidates, including Coleman opponent Paul Wellstone in 2001. Most legal experts said they don't think that donations given years ago pose a conflict of interest, and some have characterized the court as non-ideological. Justices Alan Page and Paul Anderson are the other members of the court.