Ill. court tosses Emanuel off Chicago’s mayoral ballot

Sources close to Rahm Emanuel said that the former White House chief of staff will appeal yesterday’s ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. Sources close to Rahm Emanuel said that the former White House chief of staff will appeal yesterday’s ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. (Associated Press)
January 25, 2011

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WASHINGTON — An Illinois appellate court ruled yesterday that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is ineligible to run for mayor in Chicago because he does not meet the residency requirements of the office.

By a 2-to-1 vote, the panel decided that Emanuel should not appear on the Feb. 22 ballot, a stunning blow to the onetime Chicago-area congressman who had emerged as a clear favorite to replace retiring Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Emanuel appealed the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. Four of the seven state Supreme Court justices must agree to hear the case.

“I have no doubt at the end we’ll prevail in this effort,’’ Emanuel said at a news conference in Chicago. “We’ll now go to the next level to get clarity.’’

Rick Hasen, election law specialist at Loyola Law School, said Emanuel has grounds for an appeal. “The dissenting judge says that the majority opinion is based not on established law but the ‘whims’ of two judges.’’

The news shocked political operatives and legal analysts.

“It is absolutely amazing,’’ said Dawn Clark Netsch, a former Illinois state senator and comptroller who is now professor emeritus at Northwestern Law. “I don’t know that it will hold up once it goes to the Illinois Supreme Court.’’

She said that the justices will almost certainly examine the facts entirely from scratch and that it is unclear whether the opinions of two appellate judges will carry more weight than the other rulings that Emanuel can run.

At issue is whether Emanuel, the front-runner, has been a resident of Chicago continuously for the past year. His lawyers have maintained that Emanuel never abandoned his residency even when he served as President Obama’s chief of staff; it is an argument that Chicago Board of Election Commissioners accepted in ruling that Emanuel was eligible for the ballot.

But the appeals court disagreed, setting up a legal showdown in the state’s Supreme Court with less than a month before the election. Time is critical to Emanuel’s chances, as early voting begins in one week’s time. If Emanuel’s name is not included in those ballots, he would be at a significant disadvantage. — WASHINGTON POST

Thomas acknowledges errors on disclosure forms
WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has corrected financial disclosures for the past 13 years that omitted his wife’s employment.

Letters amending the reports, released by the court yesterday, show that Virginia Thomas has worked for Michigan’s Hillsdale College, the Heritage Foundation, and the Republican leadership in the House. Her employment was previously known, but Thomas neglected to include it, as required, on the report of his personal finances that he files annually, along with all other federal judges. Thomas blamed the error on misunderstanding the filing instructions. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

White House lawyer Verrilli tapped for solicitor general
WASHINGTON — Donald Verrilli Jr., a deputy counsel to President Obama, was chosen yesterday by Obama to be the next US solicitor general. If confirmed by the Senate, Verrilli would succeed Justice Elena Kagan as the lawyer representing the executive branch of government before the US Supreme Court.

As a private attorney, Verrilli has argued 12 cases before the justices and has participated in more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama’s energy adviser to resign, officials say
WASHINGTON — Two White House officials say Carol Browner is stepping down as President Obama’s chief adviser on energy and climate matters.

Browner’s resignation is expected to happen in the coming weeks. The officials said she will stay on as needed to ensure a smooth transition. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the personnel move had not been announced.

Browner has been a central figure in the White House’s strategy of trying to get a comprehensive energy bill passed, a matter that has stalled on Capitol Hill. She was also a prominent voice in the administration’s response to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Her resignation comes amid a series of high-profile staff changes in Obama’s White House. — ASSOCIATED PRESS top stories on Twitter

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