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Turmoil in Chicago: Rahm Emanuel back on ballot as top court takes case

Illinois Supreme Court stays the ruling dropping Rahm Emanuel from the Chicago ballot and agrees to hear his appeal on residency. With the mayoral election in turmoil, anger is voiced at the appellate court ruling.

By Staff Writer / January 25, 2011

The official seating of the seven justices of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Illinois' highest court agreed Tuesday, to take Rahm Emanuel's appeal of a decision that threw him off the ballot for Chicago mayor and ordered election officials not to print any mayoral ballots without Emanuel's name.

Gregg D/Daniel-Ackerman Photography/AP

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Chicago

Tuesday turned out to be a better day for Rahm Emanuel than Monday, when an Illinois Court of Appeals ruled that he was ineligible to run for mayor of Chicago and his name must be struck from the ballot.

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First, the Illinois Supreme Court granted his request for a stay to the appellate court ruling on the ballot – meaning that ballots, whose printing began Tuesday, will carry his name.

Then the court also agreed to hear his appeal of the ruling, though it will not accept any additional briefs or oral arguments.

Now, Mr. Emanuel – who until Monday was the heavy favorite to replace Richard Daley as Chicago's next mayor – just needs the state's top court to agree with two lower courts that he is, in fact, eligible to run for the job, despite living in Washington for much of the last year as President Obama's chief of staff.

"I believe [voters] deserve the right to make that choice, to say yes or no, and nobody else," Emanuel said at a news conference Tuesday morning, where he declared himself "confident" in the argument he is making to the state's supreme court. Otherwise, he largely continued to campaign as usual.

But the city has been thrown into turmoil with the events of the past two days, putting the field of candidates up in the air just a week before early voting begins, and causing some to question the political process for selecting Illinois judges. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners had already ordered ballots to be printed without Emanuel's name when news of the stay came down. “We called the printer ... and essentially told them, ‘Stop the presses,’ ” Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, told the Chicago Tribune.

Emanuel was frontrunner

Emanuel was the frontrunner in the latest Tribune poll, with 44 percent backing – more than double that of Carol Moseley Braun, his closest competitor. And the city was largely stunned by the news that he might be removed from the running on a technicality.

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