Updated 01/25/11 – 5:34 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to review an Illinois Appellate Court ruling that knocked Rahm Emanuel out of the race for mayor. The decision came about an hour after the court ordered elections officials to put Emanuel’s name back on the ballot until the justices make their final ruling.
“I am happy the Supreme Court will be providing clarity to the voters,” Emanuel said Tuesday afternoon of the Supreme Court’s decision to review the case against him.
An Illinois Supreme Court spokesman said Tuesday afternoon that the justices would review Monday’s Illinois Appellate Court ruling that Emanuel does not meet the residency requirement to run for mayor of Chicago and should be removed from the ballot.
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The court will not hear any oral arguments in the case and will “review the case on an expedited basis by examining the briefs filed in the Appeals Court case,” Illinois Supreme Court spokesman Joe Tybor said.
By not hearing oral arguments or requiring new briefs to be filed, the high court will be able to review the case and issue a ruling as quickly as possible.
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, the court ordered the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to put Emanuel’s name on any ballots that are printed before the court rules whether or not Emanuel can stay on for good.
Board of Elections Commissioners Chairman Langdon Neal said a suburban Chicago printer was called around noon Tuesday and literally told “stop the presses.”
But by that time, the Waukegan-based printing firm had already printed 300,000 ballots without Emanuel’s name on them. Later Tuesday afternoon, they started printing new ballots with Emanuel’s name included.
Neal said the court’s decision to keep Emanuel on the ballot for now came about as quickly as election officials could have hoped.
“Of course, the one piece of information we’d love is when they’re gonna decide. But it does appear that they’re gonna be proceeding on an expedited basis.”
Election officials said they don’t have a lot of time to print the ballots because they were already behind for the Feb. 22 election.
On Monday, the panel ruled that Emanuel does not meet the residency requirements to run for mayor of Chicago. Appellate judges Thomas Hoffman and Shelvin Louise Marie Hall ruled against Emanuel, while Justice Bertina Lampkin voted in favor of keeping President Obama’s former chief of staff on the Feb. 22 ballot.
In their appeal, Emanuel’s attorneys call the Appeals Court decision “one of the most far-reaching election law rulings ever” issued by an Illinois court. They say the ruling imposes “a new, significant limitation” on ballot access.
Emanuel has said he is confident that the Illinois Supreme Court will rule in his favor.
“I think that we will succeed because of the thoroughness of our argument, but most importantly, I’m also more determined to see this through so the people have a right to make the choice for themselves of who they think should be mayor,” Emanuel said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Mike Dorf, an election law attorney, said in his opinion, the appellate court made a bad decision.
“They completely ignored the statue that says if you’re on business of the United States, you don’t lose your residency; and they said that only applied to voters and not to candidates,” Dorf said.
Dorf also said that it would have been an expensive and confusing process if elections officials had printed ballots without Emanuel’s name and then the Illinois Supreme Court had ordered Emanuel be placed back on the ballot.
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said that the speed with which the high court handed down its decisions on Tuesday might hint that Emanuel will prevail.
“They don’t want any briefs, they don’t want any argument, they just want to decide the case,” Miller said. “I think the body language that’s coming from the Illinois Supreme Court is that they’re gonna put Rahm Emanuel back on this ballot and let him stay there.”
Miller explained that the high court could have simply refused to hear the case.
“They decided to jump in with both feet and they decided to do it quickly,” Miller said. He also said that, while the justices likely felt pressure from the public and the media to weigh in on the case, they wouldn’t allow newspaper editorials urging the court to rule in Emanuel’s favor to sway their final decision.
Emanuel rival Miguel del Valle said Tuesday afternoon that he expected the Illinois Supreme Court would order Emanuel’s name to stay on the ballot while it considers the case.
But del Valle said it could hurt his campaign and others if the high court does not decide the Emanuel residency issue soon.
“There will have been people who would have seen me as an alternative, but ended up casting their vote for an individual who eventually will not be on the ballot,” del Valle said. “So it creates serious problems.”
Del Valle said anyone who decides to vote early should cast their ballot for one of the candidates whose residency is not in question
Gery Chico has said that, regardless of whether Emanuel is allowed back on the ballot or kept off, he’ll run the same way he has from the beginning.
“From Day One I have never looked out the side mirrors or the rear view mirror about who’s in, who’s not, who’s musing it, who’s thinking about it. We go straight forward and these processes will take care of themselves,” Chico said Tuesday.
Carol Moseley Braun has called on Emanuel’s supporters to back her campaign, while standing by the decision to knock him off the ballot.
“There is no way that I would second guess the Court of Appeals of our state — I mean, I believe in the rule of law — that’s kind of basic — and it seems to me that the law is the law is the law,” Braun said Monday.
Meantime, the public support Emanuel said he has received from Chicago voters was reflected in a new poll obtained by CBS 2 News on Tuesday.
The Illinois Retail Merchants Association commissioned the poll conducted Monday night, after the appellate court tossed him off the ballot.
It asked whether Emanuel should stay on the ballot; 72% answered yes, 23% answered no.
If Emanuel does stay on the ballot, the poll showed he would have 53% of the vote, compared to 14% for Chico and 11% for Braun.
Without Emnauel in the race, the poll showed Chico getting 33% of the vote, compared to 17% for Braun and 38% of voters undecided.
It was the third poll done by the Retail Merchants Association, with Emanuel leading in all three and his lead increasing every month.
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