Court Allows Emanuel on Ballot for Chicago Mayor – NYTimes.com

Court Allows Emanuel on Ballot for Chicago Mayor – NYTimes.com.

This is an interesting decision, written by a court that appeared intent on chastising the lower appellate tribunal.  If the supreme court analysis of Illinois law was correct, this is a classic case of judicial activism.  Opinion here: Rahm

Some excerpts from the decision below:

Before proceeding to the merits, we wish to emphasize that, until just a few days ago, the governing law on this question had been settled in this State for going on 150 years. In Smith v. People ex rel.Frisbie, 44 Ill. 16 (1867), this court was faced with a question remarkably similar to that which is before us today.

Thus, from April 1867 through January 24 of this year, the principles governing the question before us were settled. Things changed, however, when the appellate court below issued its decision and announced that it was no longer bound by any of the law cited above, including this court’s decision in Smith, but was instead free to craft its own original standard for determining a candidate’s residency.  See No. 1–11–0033, slip op. at 6-8 (dismissing the foregoing authority in its entirety). Thus, our review of the appellate court’s decision in this case begins not where it should, with an assessment of whether the court accurately applied established Illinois law to the particular facts, but with an assessment of whether the appellate court was justified in tossing out 150 years of settled residency law in favor of its own preferred standard. We emphatically hold that it was not.

But, the concurring justices did not seem to think that the case was that clear cut, partly because of the supreme court allowing prior conflicting precedent:

Suffice it to say, therefore, that this court has not always spoken
clearly on what is meant by residency, and the majority should
acknowledge this fact. This is why both sides in this dispute can
contend that their respective positions are supported by decades of
precedent. Indeed, contrary to the majority’s assertions, the only thing
that is well established in this case is the confusion that has existed on
this subject. The majority today now makes clear that residency for all
purposes is the equivalent of domicile. The majority, therefore, should
overrule those portions of Pope, Park, and Clark which hold to the
contrary.


It is for this reason that the tone taken by the majority today is
unfortunate. Because our own case law was, until today, unclear, it is
unfair of the majority to state that the appellate court majority
“toss[ed] out 150 years of settled residency law” (slip op. at 10),
adopted a “previously unheard-of test for residency” (slip op. 17), or
was engaged in a “mysterious” analysis (slip op. at 16). In order to
properly address the parties’ arguments, the appellate court had to
reconcile this court’s conflicting pronouncements on the question of
residency. That court did the best it could without the benefit of a
supreme court opinion which clarified the standards. By refusing to
acknowledge the role our own case law has played in creating the
dispute before us, the majority unwittingly adds credence to the
inflammatory statements contained in the dissenting opinion below.

Posted on January 27th, 2011 by Woodring Law, filed under Uncategorized
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