Emanuel, for now, removed from Chicago ballot

EMANUEL, FOR NOW, REMOVED FROM CHICAGO BALLOT…. As you may have heard, the former White House chief of staff isn’t having a good day.

Rahm Emanuel was thrown off the ballot for mayor of Chicago Monday by an appellate court panel, a stunning blow to the fund-raising leader in the race.

An appellate panel ruled 2-1 that Emanuel did not meet the residency standard to run for mayor.

Appellate justices Thomas Hoffman and Shelvin Louise Marie Hall ruled against Emanuel. Justice Bertina Lampkin voted in favor of keeping President Obama’s former chief of staff on the Feb. 22 ballot.

Emanuel, speaking to reporters at The Berghoff in the Loop, said he is confident he will win an appeal and return to the ballot.

I hesitate to weigh in too heavily on this because (a) I haven’t read the ruling; and (b) I know literally nothing about Chicago’s election laws. In other words, my take on this is admittedly based on incomplete information.

That said, looking at this from a distance, I may not be an especially big fan of Rahm’s, but I think he’s getting a raw deal. From what I gather from media accounts this afternoon, the argument is he’s not eligible to run because he served as White House chief of staff for two years, and in the process, forfeited his residency.

As a practical matter, this seems pretty silly. The guy’s a Chicago native who represented Chicago in Congress for several years. He was in D.C. to work in the Obama White House for a couple of years, but it was a temporary gig, which should probably be considered national service.

Ultimately, I’m hard pressed to imagine why the decision should be removed from the hands of voters. If Chicagoans consider his tenure in D.C. problematic, they can vote for someone else. If they don’t care, they can evaluate Emanuel’s platform, and decide accordingly. Other candidates are certainly free to make their case to voters, too.

But what’s the rationale for denying the public the choice? It’s their city; let them vote for whomever they want to vote for.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.