Illinois appeals court throws Rahm Emanuel off Chicago’s mayoral ballot

Former Illinois Congressman and Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was kicked off the Chicago mayoral ballot by the state appeals court today. In a 2-to-1 decision, the Illinois appellate court ruled that Emanuel did not meet the residency requirements (under a state code) to run for mayor, reversing decisions by a lower court and the local elections board to allow Emanuel’s name to be on the ballot for the Feb. 22 election.

While Emanuel is no stranger to the “Chicago-style” politics, yesterday’s court decision does reek of political sabotage by the judiciary for two reasons:

1. The decision was issued on the day before ballots were scheduled to be printed. Keep in mind that the ballots have to be printed and distributed before early voting starts on Monday, Jan. 31, just a week later.

2. The appeals court made a point of not certifying Emanuel’s case, creating administrative hurdles for Emanuel to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court in a case where timing is everything. Even the lone dissenting Justice Bertina Lampkin called out the unprofessional maneuver by the court:

Finally, the majority’s decision certainly “involves a question of such importance that it should be decided by the Supreme Court.” Consequently, I believe this panel should certify this case under 41 No. 1-11-0033 Supreme Court Rule 316, which would permit review of the majority’s decision in the most expeditious manner possible. The majority, however, has refused to certify this case under Rule 316. As of the writing of this dissent, there is less than one month before the election and even less time for absentee ballots to be mailed out and returned. An opinion of such wide-ranging import and not based on established law but, rather, on the whims of two judges, should not be allowed to stand.


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