A federal judge says Alaska should have a U.S. Senator before Jan. 3 even if that senator is replaced at a later date.
The judge's order comes days before the Alaska Supreme Court is set to hear arguments from Republican candidate Joe Miller over the election process.
In his order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline says he doesn't believe certification of the U.S. Senate race will end the dispute over the way the state conducted the election, but he stopped short of letting the state certify the race.
The order says that if Miller loses his appeal in the Alaska Supreme Court, he will let Miller plead any outstanding issues in federal court.
Miller’s spokesperson Randy DeSoto said the campaign is taking it one step at a time, but if it feels necessary, and depending on the rulings, he says Miller is prepared to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Alaska Supreme Court will hear the case Friday.
If Miller chooses to appeal that outcome, he has until 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 20, 48 hours from the entry of the decision, whichever comes later, to appeal to the federal court.
The state will have 24 hours to respond, and then the court will address the issue of certification.
“We're hoping that the decisions that are rendered by the courts will put this on an expedited schedule,” Miller said. “If we can get a decision soon, we, as well as the other parties, are interested obviously in a quick resolution, but also a fair resolution.”
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