Appellate Court Bounces Rahm

Rahm Emanuel's residency fight just took a turn for the worse.

The Illinois Appellate Court ruled 2-1 to overturn a Chicago Board of Elections decision to allow Rahm Emanuel on the mayoral ballot. Judges Thomas Hoffman and Shelvin Louise Marie Hall ruled against Emanuel and Justice Bertina Lampkin voted in favor of his inclusion.

Hoffman wrote in today's ruling: “"We conclude that the candidate neither meets the Municipal Code's requirement that he have 'resided in' Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement," the majority judges wrote.

"Accordingly, we disagree with the Board's conclusion that he is eligible to run for the office of Mayor of the City of Chicago. We reverse the circuit court's judgment confirming the Board's decision, set aside the Board's decision and ... order that the candidate's name be excluded (or, if necessary, removed) from the ballot."

Emanuel reacted to the news at an afternoon press conference saying he was confident the Supreme Court would rule in his favor.

"I have no doubt we will prevail in this matter," Emanuel said. "It's just one turn in the road."

The erstwhile candidate said the appellate court issued an opinion while the Chicago Board of Elections, and hearing officer Joseph Morris made a decision, and that it's incumbent upon them to push the Supreme Court for a hearing.

"As I've said from the beginning, I was just elected to congress two years ago," Emanuel said. "I own a home here, I vote from here, I pay taxes here. The Board of Elections agreed with that. Joseph Morris agreed with that, and Judge Ballard agreed with that.

When the president of the United States asks you to serve your country, you do that."

Writing for the minority, Judge Lampkin said: 

"I disagree with the majority's contrary conclusion that the candidate is not eligible to be on the ballot because that conclusion is based on an analysis of two issues --- establishing residency and a statutory exemption to the residency requirement --- that are not relevant to the resolution of this case."

Upon hearing the decision, Emanuel's Attorney Kevin Forde says "its a surprise."

The candidate's residency has been questioned since he announced his intention to leave the White House and pursue public office in Chicago.

Opponents say Emanuel gave up his residency when he moved his family to Washington D.C. to serve as the White House Chief of Staff. During his abscence he rented his home to Rod Halpin.

Emanuel endured a lengthy questioning by citizen objectors in December after which the Chicago Board of Elections said Emanuel belonged on the ballot.

One of the most ardent objectors, Paul McKinley, today said better luck next time.

"It's about the law nothing personal," McKinley said. "Rahm- he can run in four years."

Lead opposition attorney Burt Odelson then filed a motion in Cook County Circuit court, which upheld the Board of Election decision to allow him on the ballot.

Odelson said he was "pretty damn happy," and that since the ballots have not been printed Emanuel's name will not be on it.  

"The Supreme court doesn't often over turn an Appellate Court ruling," Odelson said.

Mike Kasper, Emanuel's atty says he will appeal to Supreme Court as soon as tomorrow. 

In order for Emanuel's case to make it to that level, his attorneys will have to convince four of seven Supreme Court justices say they will hear the case.  Then he has to get them to rule in his favor.

More to come. Check back for details.

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