llinois Supreme Court Puts Emanuel Back on Chicago Ballot

The Illinois Supreme Court today reversed the decision (below) of the appellate court and reinstated former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to the mayoral ballot in Chicago. As discussed earlier, the Supreme Court hit on the burden in overturning a factual finding of the lower court.

The court found that the appellate court did not establish that the finding of fact was clearly erroneous: “Given the record before us, it is simply not possible to find clearly erroneous the (Chicago Board of Elections’) determination that the objectors failed to prove that the candidate had abandoned his Chicago residence . . . We therefore reverse the decision of the appellate court and affirm the decision of the circuit court, which confirmed the Board’s decision.”

This effectively ends the matter since this is a ruling on state law. The United States Supreme Court generally defers such questions to the highest court of the state. The decision puts the burden on those challenging residency of a candidate — requiring a clear finding of intent by the candidate. It also armor-plates the decision of the election board in such matters.

The ruling turns on the standard for review, but also reaffirms the sole dissenter on the appellate court, Judge Bertina Lampkin, when she noted a long list of factors indicating an intent to return.

The Court dismisses the analysis of the appellate court, stating “its reasons for departing from over 100 years of settled residency law are hardly compelling and deserve only brief attention.”

The Court lays out the standard for this and future cases:

So where does all of this leave us? It leaves us convinced that, when determining whether a candidate for public office has “resided in” the municipality at least one year next preceding the election or appointment, the principles that govern are identical to those embodied in Smith and consistently applied in the context of determining whether a voter has “resided in” this state and in the election district 30 days next preceding any election. Thus, in assessing whether the candidate has established residency, the two required elements are: (1) physical presence, and (2) an intent to remain in that place as a permanent home. Once residency is established, the test is no longer physical presence but rather abandonment, the presumption is that residency continues, and the burden of proof is on the contesting party to show that residency has been abandoned. Both the establishment and abandonment of a residence is largely a question of intent, and while intent is shown primarily from a candidate’s acts, a candidate is absolutely competent to testify as to his intention, though such testimony is not necessarily conclusive.

The Court added its own view of the most compelling facts:

This is a situation in which, not only did the candidate testify that his intent was not to abandon his Chicago residence, his acts fully support and confirm that intent. The candidate told severalfriends that he intended to serve as Chief of Staff for no more than 18 months or two years before returning to Chicago. The candidate has continued to own and pay property taxes on the Chicago residence while only renting in Washington, D.C. As set forth above, the ending dates for the Woodley House lease and the Hermitage House lease were identical and coincided with the end of the school year of the candidate’s children. This supports an inference that the candidate intended to move back into the Hermitage House when the Woodley House lease ended. The candidate has continuously maintained an Illinois driver’s license setting forth the Hermitage House as his address and has never obtained a Washington, D.C., driver’s license. The candidate has continued to register his car at the Hermitage House address. The candidate registered to vote from the Hermitage House address in 1999 and has continuously voted from that address in every election through February 2010. Up and through 2010, the candidate did his banking in Chicago and had the Hermitage House address printed on his personal checks. The candidate left many personal items in the Hermitage House, including his bed, two televisions, a stereo system, a piano, and over 100 boxes of personal possessions. Although the candidate paid income taxes to the government of the District of Columbia, the candidate continued to pay state income tax in Illinois.

Here is the decision: Emanuel decision

Source: CNN

31 thoughts on “llinois Supreme Court Puts Emanuel Back on Chicago Ballot”

  1. I’m glad you are out of the direct “line of fire” as it were, raff. I’m really really disappointed in the bad judgment of the Chicago voters in this instance. Public office? Rahm isn’t fit to work in the mall let alone public office.

  2. the problem with a process that is ‘adversarial’ is that it never learns to respond in any other way….

  3. If “residence” is only a matter of physical presence, I presumably would likely be found to not reside anywhere.

    If a person cannot do as the person intends, surely there is no such actual thing as intent?

    How many angels can dance on the point of a pointless pin?

    How many demons can dance on the head of headless pin?

    How many laws can dance on the law of lawless law?

    How does one of freedom a prison make?

  4. Mike A.

    Well, I guess it’s just God’s way of keeping you from committing the deadly sin of pride. BTW, thanks for filling in us heathens about “the sin of despair”!

  5. Being a citizen (i.e. a vassal of corporations), I have neither right nor need to understand that I have no rights, which is okay with me because, as a form of chattel property, what can I ever know.

    Nonetheless I was so incompetent that I took a course in American Government at Triton College circa 1990 and my government professor said quite a few things that only a government professor might properly say.

    In my incompetent education, I learned of what was incorrectly called, long ago, “a legal residence,” pertinent to people who may have a summer home or a city and a country home or may own a home and work for a company who sends their employees to different work areas for different lengths of time.

    Before I learned that I cannot learn or know or understand anything whatsoever about the law, I harbored the delusion that law existed for the benefit of people. I have, perhaps miraculously, been thoroughly disabused of that delusion during the past fifteen or so years.

    When I did not know that I could never know or understand the law, my terribly wrongful education led me to mistakenly believe that a person who had multiple abodes could properly choose one of them as the designated legal residence. Many people I have known whose work sent them scurrying about between long-term and short-term abodes, because of the nature and purpose of their work and their employer’s changing needs, were profoundly incapable of knowing very far in advance where their work would take them or for how long it would take them where it took them.

    Of course, the problem is trivial for those who can make an exact and errorless detailed list of every perfectly unforeseeable problem which will arise.

    The notion that a person needs to schedule every unforeseeable problem in advance of the problem occurring is a natural consequence of any effective adversarial approach to life and the process of life.

    I have worked as a self-employed design-build engineer-contractor at locations away from my home and, once, for months at a time. The residence – legal residence – place of abode has been a concern in my own life. Fortunately, I am free of that form of madness, if it be madness, which allows any person to be willing to serve in elective office.

    From the back cover of Robert Benson, previously mentioned on this blawg, ” ‘The Interpretation Game’ questions traditional methods of legal interpretation and challenges the position that objective interpretation is possible.”

    It is my personal observation that my life experiences totally rebut the notion that objective interpretation of adversarial law can ever be possible.

    Sorry about how I write, I can do the work I do only because it is not given to me to “think in words,” the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis notwithstanding.

    I guess I was just too terribly stupid and, in such stupidity, allowed the egg and sperm that formed my zygote to unite.

    Mea summa culpa?

    Or, what if what people can actually do is always good enough?

    When the law is such that Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Election Board, the Appellate Court and that Supreme Court supremely differ in aspects of interpretation, I sense that “the law” may have become something of a terrorist in its own right (or is “wrong” the right word?).

    If it were possible for me to understand human society, what I understand might make sense to people (if any?) who do understand human society.

  6. Nicely written Mr. Appleton.

    Didn’t he live rent free in some studio owned by a big wig from BP and not disclose it on his tax return. Had he been required to pay rent at that location, could that have been used as evidence of where he resided. Maybe thats why he never wrote a check.

  7. Bob, Esq.:

    I think that’s correct. And “domiciliary” is a more accurate description.

  8. Mike,
    You could be right, I was just suggesting that everything I have seen by local “experts” was that they got the law correct. That being said, you are right about the tone of the decision. It was a real public smackdown of the Appellate Court.

Comments are closed.