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Posted at 1:26 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Illinois Supreme Court will hear Emanuel's case

By Aaron Blake

Updated at 2:51 p.m.

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear Rahm Emanuel's appeal to remain on the ballot in the Chicago mayor's race.

The court granted a motion by the former White House chief of staff seeking an expedited hearing on his residency case. An appeals court ruled Monday that Emanuel did not meet the residency requirement for the office -- a ruling that Emanuel is appealing,

It will hear the case without oral arguments or new briefs, allowing for a faster ruling on the matter. The quick proceedings are necessary, with the race less than a month away and early voting set to begin next Monday.

It was the second break in a matter of hours for Emanuel. The court ruled earlier Tuesday that no ballots may be printed without his name, at least not until the court has dealt with the appeal.

"This Court is taking the case on the briefs filed by the parties in the appellate court," the court said. "No additional briefs will be filed in the Supreme Court. Oral argument will not be entertained."

Ballot-printing began Tuesday, and there has been some question about whether Emanuel's name would be on the ballots after the appeals court ruling. A spokesman for the city board of elections said ballots were being printed with Emanuel's name on them shortly after the Supreme Court handed down its ruling.

The surprise ruling in the case Monday has sent the campaign into all kinds of uncertainty. Polling has shown Emanuel to be the clear front-runner to replace longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley, and he has also raised the most money. Without him in the race, the most likely beneficiaries are former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and former Chicago Board of Education president Gery Chico -- who was also a Daley chief of staff.

"With or without Rahm Emanuel on the ballot, we will continue running our own race based on putting Chicagoans back to work, making our streets safer and giving our children the education they deserve," said Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for Chico.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett weighed in on her former colleague's case Tuesday morning, stating that President Obama believes in Emanuel's appeal for residency.

"I think that he believes that he is eligible, and that he believes that Rahm will pursue his appeal in the courts," Jarrett said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Elections officials and the Supreme Court are in the unenviable position of needing a final ruling fast so that those voting early know who is eligible to be mayor. And they can do so, said Abbe Gluck, a state government expert at Columbia Law School.

"They're nimble," Gluck said. "State courts are experts at dealing with election-related controversies."

The ballots that need to be printed are absentee ballots and those used on Election Day. Early voting uses computer touch screens that can easily be reprogrammed to include or exclude Emanuel's name shortly before voting begins. Chicago elections officials had indicated they would include his name on the early voting touch screens as long as it appeared on the ballot.

Election Day is Feb. 22, with a potential runoff if no candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote.

By Aaron Blake  | January 25, 2011; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
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