“I hate Ted Cruz,” said Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) earlier this week in an interview with USA Today while promoting a new book in which he described himself as a "Giant of the Senate." Below are five noteworthy elements and moments of Franken's senatorial history.
1. HE SAYS IT’S ‘RACIST’ TO MOCK FAUXCAHONTAS
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) regularly describes herself as having Native American heritage. She denies that this self-description has ever afforded her any professional or academic advantages via formal or informal racial quotas.
It’s “racist” to mock Warren as “Pocahontas,” said Franken to CNN’s Jake Tapper in a February interview with State of the Union. President Donald Trump has often mocked Warren as "Pocahontas" given her false self-description as possessing Native American heritage.
2. HE SAYS CONSTITUTIONAL ORIGINALISM IS AN INFECTION
During confirmation hearings for then Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, Franken described the judicial philosophy of originalism as an infection. Jurisprudence should not be grounded in application of the law as written and intended by its drafters, but with a push toward “common ground” and “consensus” among justices:
But your record suggests that, if confirmed, you will espouse an ideology that I believe has already infected the bench — an ideology that backs big business over individual Americans and refuses to see our country as the dynamic and diverse nation that my constituents wake up in every morning.
He also implored Gorsuch to protect the bureaucracy — “the administrative state” — from what he described as the dual threat posed to it in the form of White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon and President Donald Trump.
Franken won his 2008 Senate election in Minnesota against then Republican incumbent Norm Coleman by a margin of 312 votes. The election saw ballots cast by 1,099 felons who were ineligible to vote.
The initial election results had Coleman victorious with a margin of 725 votes. Franken and his political team then waged lawfare to secure the senatorship, as writes Byron York in The Washington Examiner:
In the '08 campaign, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was running for re-election against Democrat Al Franken. It was impossibly close; on the morning after the election, after 2.9 million people had voted, Coleman led Franken by 725 votes.
Franken and his Democratic allies dispatched an army of lawyers to challenge the results. After the first canvass, Coleman's lead was down to 206 votes. That was followed by months of wrangling and litigation. In the end, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes. He was sworn into office in July 2009, eight months after the election.
During the controversy a conservative group called Minnesota Majority began to look into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons — all ineligible to vote — who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.