Rahm Emanuel would probably be the best mayor of Chicago, considering who is running for the office. But that's not why the ruling yesterday of the Illinois appellate court is so egregiously wrong. It's because the decision totally devalues service to our country.
The court ruled that Emanuel was not truly a resident of the city and so did not qualify for the ballot. [Read 10 Things You Didn't Know About Emanuel.]
Emanuel was born and raised in Chicago. He not only owns a house and votes there, but he served as a congressman from the city for three terms before being tapped as President Obama's chief of staff.
No matter what you think of Emanuel and his fiery temperament, there is simply no doubt that he was in Washington serving the nation.
If he were a member of the military stationed overseas who decided to return home to run for office, would he similarly be disqualified?
Emanuel has filed an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court, and one can only hope they act quickly to reverse this decision since the ballots are on the verge of being printed and early voting begins next week. [The year in cartoons: 2010.]
It is Chicago after all, and there are undoubtedly many layers of political chicanery behind the ruling, which reversed the decisions of a lower court and the board of elections.
But the Illinois Supreme Court needs to do the right thing. Emanuel was in the nation's capital serving his country, and that fact needs to be acknowledged.
The voters of Chicago should have the chance to decide whether Emanuel will be their next mayor—not a court.