ruling this Thursday leaves Rahm on the ballot in the mayor’s race or takes him off, the case will almost certainly end up in the courts. The first step in the appeals process is the Circuit Court of Cook County; then the Illinois Court of Appeals; and after that, the Illinois Supreme Court. Should that last body not rule Rahm’s way, it’s hard to imagine him accepting the defeat and moving on with his life. If he loses, could Emanuel take his case to the highest court in the country?...">
Carol Felsenthal
On politics

Could Rahm Emanuel’s Residency Case End up in the U.S. Supreme Court?

Whether the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’ ruling this Thursday leaves Rahm on the ballot in the mayor’s race or takes him off, the case will almost certainly end up in the courts. The first step in the appeals process is the Circuit Court of Cook County; then the Illinois Court of Appeals; and after that, the Illinois Supreme Court. Should that last body not rule Rahm’s way, it’s hard to imagine him accepting the defeat and moving on with his life. If he loses, could Emanuel take his case to the highest court in the country?…

Whether the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners’ ruling this Thursday leaves Rahm on the ballot in the mayor’s race or takes him off, the case will almost certainly end up in the courts. The first step in the appeals process is the Circuit Court of Cook County; then the Illinois Court of Appeals; and after that, the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Should that last body not rule Rahm’s way, it’s hard to imagine him accepting the defeat and moving on with his life. If he loses, could Emanuel take his case to the highest court in the country? I called two law professors who said, with some reservations (neither had read the complaint): “Yes, he can.”

DePaul’s Jeffrey Shaman, an expert in constitutional law, said, “If there is a ruling against Rahm Emanuel [in the Illinois Supreme Court] he could argue that the ruling violates his federal constitutional rights.”  

If the state’s supreme court rules for Rahm, Shaman adds, “that’s the end of the case. The ruling is on the meaning of election law here, and the Illinois Supreme Court has the final say. There’s no federal issue involved, so the United States Supreme Court would not have jurisdiction.”

Northwestern’s Sam Tenenbaum, who specializes in civil litigation, offered pretty much the same conclusion. If Rahm comes up the loser and challenges the law itself, he could argue “denial of due process or equal protection and ask for a motion for expedited consideration.” (Expedited because the nonpartisan primary is on February 22nd.)

Tenenbaum agrees that if Rahm wins at the state Supreme Court, it’s over for his opponents. 

Both he and Shaman were reluctant to hazard a guess as to the outcome of the residency challenge. Tenenbaum called it “a tough question,” but said his “hunch” was that Rahm would win, and that the ruling will “support someone’s right to run for office”—especially “given the factual circumstances Rahm finds himself in… it’s a straight legal question; the facts themselves are not in dispute.”  

What is in dispute, of course, is whether those facts show Emanuel to be a resident of Chicago for the last year—or, as the objectors’ attorney Burt Odelson argues, a resident of Washington D.C.

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3 years ago
Posted by soccer

Hilary Clinton was born here but has traveled a bit so I guess she can't be mayor. Yet....yet...wasn't she a New York United States Senator for 20 days while still holding her day job as first lady (a job similar to Rahms)?

3 years ago
Posted by onymous

"In most cases, comity and respect for federalism compel us to defer to the decisions of state courts on issues of state law." Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 112 (2000) (Rehnquist, C.J., concurring).

3 years ago
Posted by Papa Bear

Can someone please explain to me how being the First Lady is a position anywhere near similar to that of the Presidential Chief of Staff. The First Lady is not a position, it is an honorary title. She has absolutely no statutory or Constitutional duties, has no authority in any role as an adviser to the President other than at a personal level, and has no legal input at all in the the day-to-day operations of the nation. She is simply the President's wife and the title of First Lady means only that.

On the other hand, the position of Presidential Chief of Staff is one that has been created by law and carries with it the duties of being an adviser to the President as to his day-to-day activities. The chief of staff manages the schedule and itinerary of argualby the most powerful person in the world. He supervises the President's staff; has input, albeit only advisory, on the budget and executive decisions; he supervises the Presidential staff; and more than likely a myriad of many other duties all assigned and delegated by law.

The First Lady is a figurehead whom, although she provides the President with comfort and advise, is completely unnecessary. The chief of staff is a functionary whom the President relies heavily upon to accomplish his day-to day duties and would need to be replaced virtually immediately if he resigned. There is no similarity to the two.

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