CHICAGO (STMW) – Attorneys for Rahm Emanuel and those fighting his mayoral bid appeared briefly before a Cook County Circuit Court judge Tuesday, the start of what is expected to be a series of legal challenges to the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners’ recent ruling allowing Emanuel on the Feb. 22 ballot.
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Judge Mark Ballard set a hearing for next Tuesday, when both sides are expected to make their formal arguments — which are like going to sound very familiar. Ballard also gave Emanuel’s attorneys until Friday to respond to legal documents filed by those challenging his candidacy.
Burt Odelson, the main attorney for those objecting to Emanuel’s presence on the ballot, said he expects the judge to make a ruling on the case next Tuesday. He again told reporters that Emanuel, who moved to Washington D.C. in 2009 to serve as President Obama’s chief of staff, doesn’t meet the residency requirement to be on the ballot.
“He wasn’t a resident of the city of Chicago one year prior to the election — nothing’s changed,” Odelson said.
Emanuel, who stepped down from his White House post to return to Chicago to run for mayor, has argued that he only relocated to Washington D.C. to work for the president, but that he kept his Ravenswood home — though he rented it out — and always intended to return.
Last Thursday, the Chicago Board of Election commissioners sided with Emanuel, ruling his name should remain on the ballot.
Election Board Commissioner Richard Cowen said at the time that the question turned on whether Emanuel abandoned his residence in 2009, and the evidence showed he did not. Cowen said that although state law requires candidates to live in the state for a year prior to the Feb. 22 election, he said case law states that candidates only need to be physically present in the city to establish residency in the first place — not to continue it. Emanuel clearly intended to return to Chicago all along, Cowen said.
No matter how the judge rules, Odelson believes the case will end up in the state Supreme Court.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)