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Posted at 7:05 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Rahm Emanuel is back in the race -- but what's the damage?

By Stephen Stromberg

Rahm Emanuel is back in the Chicago mayoral race. The Illinois Supreme Court Thursday slammed an appellate court ruling that took President Obama's former chief of staff off the city's ballot -- and emphatically. From the opinion:

We wish to emphasize that, until just a few days ago, the governing law on this question had been settled in this State for going on 150 years....Things changed, however, when the appellate court below issued its decision and announced that it was no longer bound by any of the law cited above....Its reasons for departing from over 100 years of settled residency law are hardly compelling and deserve only brief attention.

All of that said, and putting aside the appellate court's conclusion that Smith [settled law] is not binding in this case, the appellate court's residency analysis remains fundamentally flawed. This is because, even under traditional principles of statutory analysis, the inevitable conclusion is that the residency analysis conducted by the hearing officer, the Board, and the circuit court [those who heard Emanuel's case before the appellate court] was proper.

In other words, the appellate court was wrong to dismiss Illinois judicial precedent and wrong in its analysis subsequent to doing so. Not to mention in violation of the spirit of the law, as Richard Cohen pointed out on Tuesday. Emanuel's case was solid enough that the courts didn't need to determine for the people of Chicago whether he is a carpetbagger.

Now the question is what this pre-election mess has done to Emanuel's prospects in the race. Early voting begins Monday. Before the appellate court's ruling, he led by something like 23 points. It's possible the recent court action has changed that. As I wrote Tuesday:

Even if the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court's ruling immediately, staying on the ballot with a legitimate candidacy wouldn't be enough to repair the damage that all of this last-minute confusion has done to Emanuel's run. Some voters will surely end up seeing his name on the ballot and thinking that he's still ineligible. Others may already be reconsidering a pro-Emanuel vote out of renewed concern about his ties to Washington or his absence from the city. Still others might consider other candidates they once deemed unlikely winners with Emanuel in the race -- and stick with their new picks. Voters, of course, are free to change their minds. The process of influencing them, though, is a political one that the courts should avoid with extreme care -- of the sort the appeals court seems not to have exercised in the Emanuel case.

Also, if Emanuel fails to get 50 percent of the vote by Election Day, he will face a runoff. If he was on his way to a first-round victory before the appellate court's ruling but not now, that could dramatically alter his political standing and, should he be elected even so, the early years of his mayorship.

By Stephen Stromberg  | January 27, 2011; 7:05 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

I do understand your point, but as an Illinois resident, I actually believe this whole scenario may work to Mr. Emanuel's advantage. During this entire debacle, Rahm has conducted himself in a calm and "mayoral" manner, which certainly has been reflected in recent polls. As of last night, I believe the figure was that 77% of Chicago voters felt his name should at least be included on the ballot, whether or not they intended to vote for him.

In my opinion, I believe that many Chicago residents feel that Mr. Emanuel was a victim, and in fact, several people I have talked to (who were initially planning on voting for someone else) are now seriously considering changing their vote. There seems to be a feeling that if all of the other candidates were so anxious to have him ruled ineligible, then he must bring something good to the table. Let's just say it will be interesting to live in the Chicago area for the next several weeks.

Posted by: babbitt1 | January 27, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Damage? Nothing. Chicago has no credibility anyway so damage unless you are one of the few left in the USA that believe in rules of law. Clearly a judge was paid off somewhere...Typical Chicago style politics...so low, it's below the cow pies.

Posted by: NO-bama | January 27, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me he should have been allowed on the ballot anyway but seriously , did anyone think that he would no succeed in his appeal given his connections , power and the $ behind him ? Democrat / Republican , no difference in this regard . In case you have not noticed that's how it works in this country now days , Russia has nothing on us when it comes to the good old boys , corruption and $ running the show .

Posted by: Koom | January 27, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

After Emanuel jump ship and and wanted to cut his losses and make the most out of being in the Obama administration he then decided to run for Mayor. Immediately the people thought the fix was in and after the Illinois Supreme Court slapped the appellate court ruling, the people are more convinced the fix is in. Emanuel's race for Mayor is tarnished and can never be seen as an honest race based on the ruling of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Posted by: houstonian | January 27, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

This analysis doesn't make sense. If people were following the various court cases they know he is eligible and why. If they weren't following the court cases and they just heard his name as the saying goes "just spell my name right".

Posted by: rlj611 | January 27, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Classic Chicago and now Washington DC politics: bought and paid for.

Posted by: azumaguy | January 27, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The Rahm naysayers are anti semites. We need an Isrealli senator to replace Joe Arrrgh Koff Koff Liebermann of CT who is retiring, sos the US does the Bidding of Isreal.

Posted by: yard80197 | January 27, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

babbitt1....DeadFish wasn't a victim of anything, your the victim of a currupt Chicago political system and your own ignorance. Chicago politics as usual corrupt as the Chicago mob and the Cummunity Organizer you call President.

Posted by: jhnjdy | January 27, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Chicago is such a whole. It's a crime driven city so why not put Rahm Emanuel on the ballet? He will get the votes whether they are person voting is real or not.
After all, it's the Chicago way.

Posted by: Steve863 | January 27, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Government workers serve this country in DC, in Iraq, in Afganhistan, in many countries in the world as ambassadors and clerical in D.C. while 'their man' is in office and all serve for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 years. And they don't lose their state residency - RIGHT?

So why does the local Chicago court judges claim that Rahm E. has no residency?

Give me an obvious break. So looks like to me that the Chicago courts are corrupt and their corruption does not pass onto the strong, decisive, get-thing-done Rahm Emanuall.

So there.

Posted by: MissClarty | January 27, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

We may not know everything, but Chicagoans know how to vote. The city was stunned by the Appellate Court's decision. The two who voted Rahm off the ballot were backed by an alderman who really hates Rahm and who is backing another candidate. Really stinky stuff, but thankfully the Supremes didn't let that stand. I think this fiasco has captured everyone's attention and will do Rahm much more good than harm.

Posted by: jpawlik1 | January 27, 2011 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I like how so many comments are posted by people who do not live in Chicago, who have never been to Chicago and who know nothing about us. We don't hang our heads for anyone. Look to yourselves and don't be throwing bricks at us if you want your glass house to remain intact.

Posted by: jpawlik1 | January 27, 2011 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Mafia Won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: igrmng777 | January 28, 2011 2:40 AM | Report abuse

I am reminded of southern Illinois politics in the 1980s when our congressman, the late Paul Simon, moved from the House to the US Senate. Kenneth J. Gray, the former congressman who had resigned several years earlier in the midst of a scandal, and then stayed on in Washington as a lobbyist, decided to run for his old office. His residency was challenged. (As I remember it, his "home" in Illinois consisted of a post office box.) In spite of everything, Ken Gray went back to Congress for the final two terms of his career. I can't imagine what the Rahm appellate court was thinking: it's Illinois, for heaven's sake!

Posted by: theodoregill | January 28, 2011 5:03 AM | Report abuse

To everyone who is saying judges were bought off or that the fix had to be in, it was a 7 - 0 ruling in favor of Emmanuel. That's seven to nothing, as in UNANIMOUS. So, unless you believe all seven Illinois Supreme Court justices are in the bag (adjust your tin hat accordingly), maybe you need to look elsewhere for another consipracy to get worked up over.

Posted by: ala6 | January 28, 2011 5:48 AM | Report abuse

What's the fuss? The deceased in Chicago's cemeteries who vote every year can't read anyway.

Posted by: OldCoach | January 28, 2011 5:58 AM | Report abuse

I would not be surprised to find out that this whole 'residency' fiasco was well-orchestrated from the very beginning, to add more drama to the election results when Rahmbo wins.

I don't believe that Rahmbo should have been allowed to run for Chicago Mayor, he very clearly was NOT in Chicago....and the residency requirement should mean that you have to be physically present in Chicago for 12 months prior to the election.

Considering that Chicago gangster politics is still alive and well, I do wonder how much Court decision cost Rahmbo.

Posted by: momof20yo | January 28, 2011 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Rahm has nothing to fear. As they say in Chicago - The fix is in. The tentacles of the corrupt Daley machine reach all the way to Springfield and the Illinois Supreme Court, not to mention the White House.

Rahm Rahm he's the man - if he can't do it - nobody can.

Posted by: alance | January 28, 2011 7:04 AM | Report abuse

This is really good news. It'll keep that little scumbag bottled up in Chicago which is already hosed anyway. They both richly deserve each other.

Posted by: jpost1 | January 28, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

There are many examples of other individuals who went to Washington and returned to run for office with hardly any notice (Abner Mikva for one). This was all political theater orchestrated by the opposition to Emmanuel.

Posted by: gzlib | January 28, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Nothing will emphasize the vast corruption of Chicago more than Rahm as Mayor. Go ahead Chicago elect him the rest of the country needs a good laugh.

A victory for corruption.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 28, 2011 9:14 AM | Report abuse

This is really good news. It'll keep that little scumbag bottled up in Chicago which is already hosed anyway. They both richly deserve each other.

Posted by: jpost1
-------------------------------------------
Really? You are a mean-spirited and stupid person.

Posted by: zone22 | January 28, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Rahm is the archtypical sleezy, corrupt, thuggish Chicago politician, much the same as his most recent boss. He and the city deserve each other. All that's left to do is sit back and wait for everyone but the vermin that run our big cities to be blamed for the deplorable conditions in most of them.

At least it insures that our fair city, DC, will not move up the list of political cesspools now that Rahm is a shoo-in.

""what a woild, what a woild."
-Yogurt

Posted by: theduck6 | January 28, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

It's simple. The Appellate Court was wrong. There will be no blowback.

Posted by: interactingdc | January 28, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Rahm clerked for the IL Supreme Court justice who just heard the case and ruled in Rahm's favor. My first thought is the word "recruse". Why didn't the judge do it? Does a conflict of interest charge need to be brought against the judge?

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 28, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I haven't read the statute or the court precedents behind it, so I don't have an opinion as to the rulings. But it does sound like Stromberg is charging dirty tricks and concerned with there impact on the system. Is this beyond the pale of what someone like Rahm would do to an opponent of his, or Obama for that matter, what with leaked divorce records in his senate race? Not hardly.

Posted by: GnirJ | January 28, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Well, if there is no horse race I guess we can always imagine one. Is this guy seriously quoting from his own column of three days ago? What passes for journalism these days....

Posted by: Seytom1 | January 28, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Well, if there is no horse race I guess we can always imagine one. Is this guy seriously quoting from his own column of three days ago? What passes for journalism these days....

Posted by: Seytom1 | January 28, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

All these people who are standing by the judges' decisions and the state Supreme Court and supporting Emmanuel and "due process"--I'd be VERY curious to hear what you were saying about the Florida Supreme Court in December 2000 and January 2001, with regards to West Palm Beach, ballots being recounted to death, etc.

I don't have the proverbial dog in this fight, but I do know a double standard when I hear it.

Posted by: LNER4472 | January 28, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Rahm clerked for the IL Supreme Court justice who just heard the case and ruled in Rahm's favor. My first thought is the word "recruse". Why didn't the judge do it? Does a conflict of interest charge need to be brought against the judge?

Posted by: Desertdiva1


You make a very good point, and it's certainly something that should be discussed. My understanding is that it's not the type of relationship that ordinarily requires recusal, although maybe it should be. (Btw, it's 'recuse').

Posted by: Seytom1 | January 28, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Illinois' politics, and Chicago's in particular, have a colorful history. So it's fitting that there be drama here.

For those who felt the 'fix' was on, there was at least one who felt the vote would swing against Rahm Emanuel.
http://hillbuzz.org/2011/01/25/what-are-rahm-emanuels-chances-of-being-forced-onto-the-chicago-mayoral-ballot-by-the-illinois-supreme-court/

Incidentally, the spouse of one of the Justices is a Chicago alderman who's backing an Emanuel opponent. Another Justice once got a big infusion of campaign cash from the Illinois House Speaker, who's not an Emanuel fan. (Yes, the Supremes in Illinois are elected, not appointed.)

So if it was politics as usual in Illinois, why were there no dissenting votes?

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@LNER4472, can you explain how you think the ballot recounting in Florida during the Gore-Bush presidential election and this situation are related? I'm not following you.

@Stephen Stromberg: By what process did you reach your conclusion? As Babbitt1 indicated, the sentiment amongst Chicago voters isn't necessarily running in that direction. As another candidate said during last night's televised mayoral debate, "I'm talking about the issues that affect real Chicagoans and the ruling today doesn't affect that one way or the other."

That's how things are proceeding from here. The focus has rapidly shifted to what's best for Chicago. It's almost as though the residency drama never occurred.

@commenters who disparage Chicago: It's actually a fun city. It has great parks, amazing festivals, marvelous food, incredible theater, and a beautiful lakefront. Yes, it has its problems, as do all municipalities, but there's so much to enjoy as well.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Rahm clerked for the IL Supreme Court justice who just heard the case and ruled in Rahm's favor. My first thought is the word "recruse". Why didn't the judge do it? Does a conflict of interest charge need to be brought against the judge?

Posted by: Desertdiva1
=====================

WTF are you talking about? This was a unanimous decision by the entire 7 person supreme court.

Posted by: rapchat1 | January 28, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Rahm clerked for the IL Supreme Court justice who just heard the case.

Posted by: Desertdiva1
=======================

What's the source of this info? It's probably not accurate for the following reasons:
a) If he ever clerked at the Illinois Supreme Court, it would have been long before any of the current Justices arrived on the scene.
b) Those who clerk for a judge on an internship basis tend to be law school students or recent grads. Emanuel didn't attend law school.
c) I believe the state of Illinois judiciary uses career clerks, not internship clerks. I haven't found a job listing of that sort on any of Emanuel's bios.

Posted by: MsJS | January 28, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Al Capone has not been in Chicago for 78 years and prohibition has been repealed for 77. Please lose the Chicago-mafia-ha-ha jokes. They are from another century.

Rahm went to Washington to serve fellow-Chicagoan President Obama. This is analogous to a Chicago Congressman moving to DC. Neither loses his ability to run for political office.

Posted by: lesfab29 | January 28, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Al Capone has not been in Chicago for 78 years and prohibition has been repealed for 77. Please lose the Chicago-mafia-ha-ha jokes. They are from another century.

Rahm went to Washington to serve fellow-Chicagoan President Obama. This is analogous to a Chicago Congressman moving to DC. Neither loses his ability to run for political office.

Posted by: lesfab29 | January 28, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Al Capone has not been in Chicago for 78 years and prohibition has been repealed for 77. Please lose the Chicago-mafia-ha-ha jokes. They are from another century.

Rahm went to Washington to serve fellow-Chicagoan President Obama. This is analogous to a Chicago Congressman moving to DC. Neither loses his ability to run for political office.

Posted by: lesfab29 | January 28, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Rahm clerked for the IL Supreme Court justice who just heard the case and ruled in Rahm's favor. My first thought is the word "recruse". Why didn't the judge do it? Does a conflict of interest charge need to be brought against the judge?

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 28, 2011 9:36 AM |"

I'm not sure where this poster got their facts, but Rahm did not clerk for this Justice or any other Justice, as Rahm is not a lawyer. He has said so repeatedly.

I'm amused by all the people posting who are not from Chicago. You claim to know an awful lot about corrupt politics. Hmmm....

I for one happy to have a world class politician, who is not a lawyer, willing to run for Mayor of this great city! We deserve a change and I'm looking forward to it!

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I am a lawyer, albeit a woefully underemployed one.

Posted by: proudtoliveinchi | January 28, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

For yard80197: You are right. Jews are behind everything evil. In fact, they are behind you right now.

Posted by: sailhardy | January 28, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

For yard80197: You are right. Jews are behind everything evil. In fact, they are behind you right now.

Posted by: sailhardy | January 28, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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