by Dee Newman
The Minnesota Supreme Court ordered today that Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's long contested Senate race. The court rejected unanimously the incumbent Republican Norm Coleman's legal challenge. His appeal rested almost entirely on whether thousands of absentee votes had been unfairly rejected by local election officials around the state.
Coleman conceded the race at a news conference just after 4 p.m. ET.
The ruling will give Senate Democrats a majority large enough to pass legislation without any Republican support, that is, if Democrats and the two Senate independents remain united.
Since the Senate is out of session for the July 4th holiday, the earliest Franken could be seated will not be until sometime next week.
Senate Democrats are urging Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to certify Franken's election as soon as possible.
Update: Gov. Pawlenty will sign the certification today.