Rahm Emanuel’s Mayoral Race & the Rule of Law
Three cheers for textualism rang out when an Illinois state appellate court ruled former Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel ineligible to run for mayor of Chicago. CFIF previously highlighted Emanuel’s dubious residency claims. Then, it was obvious Emanuel did not meet the 1 year Chicago residency requirement because he had been living in Washington, D.C.
Tellingly, no one disputes this now. Instead, Emanuel’s defenders (including the Chicago Board of Elections) support the theory that a candidate’s intent to return should be read-in (i.e. judicially legislated) as an exception to the residency requirement. The state appeals court had none of it. In a straightforward opinion, a 2-1 majority ruled for textual integrity and struck Emanuel’s name from the ballot. Of course, he’s appealing it to the state supreme court, but that shouldn’t deter that body from applying the same plain meaning of the statute to his situation.
No one is saying that Rahm Emanuel can never run for mayor of Chicago, just that he must comply with the legal standards for assuming the office. If that’s too much to ask of Rahm, then maybe it would be too much to expect a faithful application of other laws once he’s in office.