Thursday, January 27, 2011

Will Emanuel ruling escape political taint?

The Illinois Supreme Court justices deliberating the fate of Rahm Emanuel's bid for Chicago mayor are sworn to uphold the state constitution without regard for special interests, yet that same document requires them to run for election in an inherently political system.

While much of the high court's work is done in relative anonymity, the pedigrees of the justices are fodder for debate whenever they tackle high-profile cases with political consequences — from deciding a close governor's race to ruling on the district maps that determine which party will control the Legislature.

Charles Wheeler, a professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield and a longtime Capitol observer and writer, said there have been "very few issues" decided by the court along partisan lines — with approval of legislative redistricting maps a major exception.

Wheeler's comments were featured in a January 27, 2011, article in the Chicago Tribune.

Download a PDF of the article