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Rahm Emanuel Ruled Eligible for Chicago Mayoral Race

Rahm Emanuel Ruled Eligible for Chicago Mayoral Race

Former congressman and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago Mayor, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.  The Chicago Sun-Timesreports:

In a 7 to 0 decision, the court Thursday said an appellate court erred in taking Emanuel off the ballot earlier in the week.

The decision means Emanuel holds onto his position as the first name on the ballot in the Feb. 22 election. Emanuel has been leading in both the polls and fund-raising in the race that includes candidates Carol Moseley Braun, Gery Chico, and Miguel del Valle. Patricia Van Pelt Watkins and William “Dock” Walls are also on the ballot.

"So there will be no mistake, let us be entirely clear," the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling. "This court’s decision is based on the following and only on the following: (1) what it means to be a resident for election purposes was clearly established long ago, and Illinois law has been consistent on the matter since at least the 19th Century; (2) the novel standard adopted by the appellate court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law; (3) the Board’s factual findings were not against the manifest weight of the evidence; and (4) the Board’s decision was not clearly erroneous."

In response, the Emanuel campaign said their candidate was "very pleased that this issue is finally behind us."  The Supreme Court's ruling makes it clear, Emanuel attorney Kevin Forde told the Chicago Tribune, "the law has been settled for 150 years."

The Supreme Court's ruling overturns a Monday appeals court decision that prohibited Emanuel from running due to residency concerns.  In that decision, Judge Thomas Hoffman ruled that "the candidate’s name be excluded [or if, necessary, be removed] from the ballot” because Emanuel lived in Washington D.C. and had not “resided’’ in Chicago for a full year prior to Election day.

But the state Supreme Court ultimately agreed with Judge Bertina Lampkin who wrote Monday's dissenting opinion which criticized Hoffman's residency requirement as "not based on established law."

Emanuel's attorneys argued that the Illinois state election code should also apply to local elections and that leaving the Chicago area to serve as chief of staff counted as "business of the United States" for which he should not have to forfeit his residency status.

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