Franken Still Waiting To Take Senate Seat

Won't be sworn in until the legal challenge to his election settled

According to a Democratic spokesman in the Senate Cloak Room, Al Franken was not sworn in Tuesday along with other members of the freshman class of the 111th Congress.

Franken won't be installed as the junior Senator from Minnesota until the legal challenge to his election has been settled, said the spokesman.

The Minnesota Canvassing Board concluded their recount in Monday, with Franken defeating incumbent Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes. But Coleman immediately challenged the decision in court.

Senator John Cornwyn (R-TX), chairman of the Republican Senatorial Committee, had very publicly cautioned Senate Majority Leader Harry Ried (D-NV) Monday not to try to seat Franken until the legal challenge had been resolved, but the expectation for some time now has been that Franken would have to wait for the legal system to take its course first.

Franken, the former Saturday Night Live writer/performer and liberal talk radio host, has declared victory and said he is ready to start serving his state. He apparently did not press the point as did Roland Burris of Illinois, the choice of embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the term of President-elect Barack Obama.

Burris was turned away Tuesday after he traveled to Washington for the swearing-in, claiming he was the duly appointed junior Senator from Illinois. That is according to representatives who held a press conference after Burris was turned away because the Illinois Secretary of State had refused to sign off on the appointment. 

As sworn in, the Senate now comprises 55 Democrats, 41 Republicans, and two independents, with two vacancies.