Illinois Appellate Court Kicks Rahm Emanuel off Chicago Mayoral Ballot

The above video exemplifies the attitude that many politicians in Illinois demonstrate  to laws that stand in their way.  Rahm “Never let a crisis go to waste” Emanuel was a Chicago congressman.  Besides being noted for a fondness for a  certain four letter word which I discussed in this post, Emanuel is also noted for two things:  he came up with the strategy of running phony conservative Democrats for Congress around the country, which helped the Democrats take back the House in 2006, and pad their short-lived majority in 2008, and he was Obama’s chief of staff.  After tiring of being chief of staff, after Richie the Lesser, Mayor for life of the City-State of Chicago, decided that he didn’t wish to go on being Mayor until he died, like his father Richie the Incoherent, Rahm decided that becoming Mayor of the Windy City was an excellent escape plan from the Obama administration.  After he announced, he quickly became the front runner, facing only token opposition.  The election is set for February 22.

There was one pesky thing standing in the way of Rahm and his coronation.  A provision in the state municipal code which requires that someone actually live in a city for at least one year, before seeking office to run the place.  However, this is Illinois!  When is the last time that the law in Illinois prevented a powerful Democrat from doing whatever he pleases?  (If you regard the question as other than entirely rhetorical, I will assume you do not live in the Land of Lincoln.)  The Cook County Board of Elections determined that although Emanuel resided in DC while he was Chief of Staff, and had rented out his Chicago house, he was, mirabile dictu!, still a resident of Chicago.  A Chicago Circuit Court judge affirmed this decision.  However, in a stunning development, an Appellate Court panel ruled two  to one that Rahm is not a resident of Chicago and is not eligible to have his name appear on the ballot.  The decision may be read here.

My made up sources indicate to me that Rahm received the news stoically:  “Who the —- do these —-ing —-ers think they are —-ing with!”

Next stop the Illinois Supreme Court. For now this decision leaves Carol Moseley Braun, a former one term senator from 1993-1999, as the front runner.  Ms. Braun’s nickname in Illinois is  “Carol Mostly Fraud”.  She earned the nickname by being unable to account for a quarter of a million in campaign funds and various other instances of public corruption.  George Will wrote a devastating column on her in 1998 which may be read here.  Ms. Braun “refuted” the column by calling Mr. Will a racist.

Illinois politicians tend to be good for very little except for entertainment value.  As the Illinois economy continues to crumble, as the Governor and the State Legislature chase people and businesses out of the state with a huge personal and corporate tax hike in the midst of a recession\depression in Illinois, we can at least take heart that Emanuel and Braun are doing their very best to ensure that as long as Illinois has politics, vaudeville will never be dead in this state.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. I think it’s going to be reversed, and not because of Chicago political shenanigans. Frankly, the dissenting opinion strikes me as having the better of the argument.

  2. Now comes the real fun. There are seven justices on the Illinois Supreme Court. Four are Democrats and three are Republicans.

    One of the Democratic justices is Anne Burke, wife of Ed Burke, a powerful and very wealthy Chicago Alderman who is known to support one of the other candidates for mayor (Gery Chico).

    Assuming that the three Republican justices would rule against Rahm, and that the three other Democratic justices would rule in his favor (both pretty big assumptions), that means Justice Burke would cast the deciding vote.

    However, some suggest she should recuse herself because of the potential conflict of interest with her husband being a supporter of another candidate. But if she does, the court might end up deadlocked 3-3. That would let the appellate ruling stand, and keep Rahm off the ballot. Seems to me she’s in a bit of a “damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t” situation.

  3. Also, should Rahm be kicked off the ballot it’s highly likely most of those who would have voted for him will gravitate toward Gery Chico and HE will become the new front runner. Carol Mostly Fraud has VERY high negatives among white and Hispanic voters, and even to a considerable extent among black voters as well. Plus her fundraising has been really pathetic in comparison to Emanuel and Chico.

  4. Well, if Obama can become POTUS without showing a birth certificate, don’t see why Rambo has to establish residency before getting on the Chicago ballot. Surely, you can’t be serious. I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.

  5. In true Chicago fashion, the 3-member appellate court actually voted against Rahm 593 to 349, with 201-year old Abraham Lincoln voting with the majority.

    This is a painful lesson in how well-intentioned laws can be useless or worse. I’m convinced that one day this country will be choked to death by red tape.

  6. Do not underestimate CMF Elaine. I still remember how stunned I was when she toppled Dixon, a sitting Illinois Democrat senator in the primary in 1992. Chico might be able to beat her, but my money would still be on her to pull it off.

  7. You’re right about our Illinois policitians being good for very little except for entertainment. If so, why do we keep bringing them back for sequels? it’s a sad commentary on us Illinoisians, isn’t it?

  8. Having now read the opinion, I have to agree with Dale. It’s pretty clear that Rahm meets the residency requirement under the law, and that the Court of Appeals got it wrong.

  9. Here is an interesting look at the case from David Ellis, the prosecutor of Blagojevich in the Senate trial for removal after his impeachment:


    Having practiced law in Illinois now for 28 and a half years I agree with this sentiment at the end of his post:

    “But predicting the outcome of that appeal? You might as well predict the weather in Chicago this April.”

    I would say that the stay given to the appellate decision by the Court is probably a good sign for Rahm.

  10. “If so, why do we keep bringing them back for sequels? it’s a sad commentary on us Illinoisians, isn’t it?”

    The penchant for the voters of the Illinois to vote for obvious crooks is something that has astounded me for years, and it is a sad commentary on the aptly named Sucker State.

  11. I have to side with Dale and Blackadder also — the arguments in FAVOR of Rahm’s residency are stronger. If intent is key, it seems to me that by not SELLING his home, and by keeping his voter registration and driver’s license in Chicago, all that indicates clear intent not to abandon Chicago residency.

    As strange as it may seem, it’s the decision AGAINST him that reeks more of crooked Chicago politics.

  12. I too lean towards the dissent but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk. As far as I can there there’s no case law on point and “reside” in other contexts like where to serve process refers to the usual place of abode, which was DC, not Chicago. All the cited cases deal with other laws in other sections of the municipal code enacted at different times. I think they’re similar enough that they should be applied here but there’s no reason why they MUST be.

  13. And just in case anyone was wondering who NOT to vote for, Carol Mostly Fraud has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC.

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