Emanuel residency up to IL Supreme Court

January 26, 2011 7:58:50 PM PST
The decision of whether Rahm Emanuel can run for mayor of Chicago is now up to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Until the high court rules, justices have ordered election officials not to print any ballots without Emanuel's name. However, some ballots missing the former Chicago congressman's name have already been printed.

A spokesman told ABC7 the Illinois Supreme Court says it will consider the case in an "expedited manner" and plans to look at the briefs filed by the Illinois Appellate Court. No other briefs will be allowed, according to the Court, and there will be no oral arguments. Read the Supreme Court order on consideration of case

"The voters deserve to make the choice in this decision. Some will vote for me. Some will vote against me, as will be the case for other candidates in this race, but they deserve the right to make the choice for who they want to be mayor," Emanuel said Tuesday.

It is not known how quickly the state Supreme Court will reach a decision.

In the mean time, the court of public opinion appears to be leaning in Emanuel's favor. A new poll of 2,300 people conducted for the Chicago Retail Merchants Association asked people whether they think Emanuel's should stay on the ballot. Seventy-one-and-a-half percent said 'yes' while just over 22 percent said 'no.'

The survey for the Merchants Association, which has not endorsed any candidate, found if Emanuel is kicked out of the race, Gery Chico becomes voters' preference with 33 percent support to Carol Moseley Braun's 17 percent.

"I am pleased...the Supreme Court will give the voters clarity on this issue," said Emanuel.

Emanuel's name is currently back on the ballot after the Supreme Court ordered the Chicago Board of Elections to stop the presses and add his name. It will remain there, unless the Supreme Court ruling agrees with that of the appeal's court and decides that Emanuel cannot run.

If that happens, the Board of Elections will have to change the ballot again.

"We'll have to make adjustments, and we're confident that we always have a back-up plan in place," said Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Elections.

If the Supreme Court justices have a split decision and there is no majority, the decision will automatically revert back to that of the appellate court, which ruled that Rahm Emanuel did not meet residency requirements.

However, if the Illinois Supreme Court rules in Rahm Emanuel's favor, that decision would clear the way for Emanuel to run in the race without any additional threat of legal action.

The court's decision could come late in the week, or even early next week, which could create a fluid situation. Early voting is supposed to begin Monday.

Politics is not expected to influence the high court's decision. However, the justices are elected, and the court is made up of four Democrats and three Republicans.

There has been some speculation that Justice Ann Burke may recuse herself. But so far, Justice Burke has not said she will do that. A potential conflict of interest could exist because her husband is Ald. Ed Burke, a friend and supporter of mayoral candidate Gery Chico.

Emanuel continues campaign, picks up endorsement

Emanuel picked up a major endorsement Tuesday morning. The Teamsters Joint Council 25, with about 30,000 members in Chicago, endorsed him for mayor at Panama Banana, a produce distribution center on the West Side.

"Today, the Teamsters endorsed Rahm Emanuel for mayor of the city of Chicago," said John Coley, president, Teamsters Joint Council 25. "There's two appellate court judges that are subverting democracy not only for the 55 percent of Teamsters that support Rahm but for the millions of people in Chicago that are going to vote for him."

"I'm honored by the endorsement because Teamsters are a strong voice for their families. When I've been telling John, we're gonna have changes, what I like about his leadership, he understood that to meet the challenge of change you need a level of strength, determination, grit and resilience," Emanuel said. "In the end, we will be on the ballot so people have that option to vote."

What if Emanuel is not on the ballot?

"We'll cross that bridge when we come there," Coley said. "I'm an attorney. I've read the opinion. I think it's a flawed opinion. I think Rahm is going to be successful. And we are not about to back down from a fight. Teamsters are gonna be with Rahm to the bitter end."

An attorney for Emanuel said if Emanuel doesn't ultimately make it on the ballot, he will most likely not run as a write-in candidate.