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. Smith, a longtime
resident of Illinois, had been appointed a circuit judge by the governor
of Illinois, and a quo warranto action was brought to remove Smith
from that office on the grounds that he had not been an Illinois
resident “for at least five years next preceding *** his appointment,”
as the Illinois Constitution then required. In support of their action,
the objectors pointed to the fact that Smith had moved with his family
to Tennessee for eight months during the relevant five-year residency
In concluding that Smith’s eight-month sojourn to Tennessee did
not result in an abandonment of his established Illinois residency, this
court explained that, once established, “residence is lost *** by a
union of intention and acts” and that “the intention in many cases will
be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.” Smith, 44 Ill. at 24.
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.
… 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.
The Smith principles control this case, plain and simple. With the
sole exception of the prescribed time period, the provision at issue in
Smith is identical to one the issue at here.
* This opinion is a true beatdown of the appellate court decision. For instance…
All of that said, and putting aside the appellate court’s conclusion
that Smith is not binding in this case, the appellate court’s residency
analysis remains fundamentally flawed. This is because, even under
traditional principles of statutory analysis, the inevitable conclusion is
that the residency analysis conducted by the hearing officer, the
Board, and the circuit court was proper.
Indeed, once a person has established
residence, he or she can be physically absent from that residence for
months or even years without having abandoned it
[The appellate court’s] reasons for departing from over 100 years of settled
residency law are hardly compelling and deserve only brief attention.
Although adopting a previously unheard-of test for
residency that would have applied to all future municipal elections, the
court made no attempt to explain what its standard means. The only
hint given by the appellate court is that, whatever its standard means,
this candidate did not satisfy it. The appellate court never explained
what it meant by “actually reside” or “actually live.” Indeed, as its
discussion of section 3.1–10–5(d) reflects, the entire appellate court
opinion can be read as nothing more than an extended exercise in
question begging, in which the appellate court sets forth the question
to be answered as what it means to “reside” (No. 1–11–0033, slip op.
at 11), and concludes that it means to have “actually resided” (No.
1–11–0033, slip op. at 21).
The difficulty of applying such a standard is immediately apparent.
For instance, consider a Chicago resident who owns a second home
in Florida and typically spends a month there every winter. Where is
that person “actually living” or “actually residing” during the month
when he or she is at the second home? Is such a person ineligible for
municipal office unless he or she sleeps at the Chicago house every
night for the year preceding the election? Is there a time limit with this
test? Would a week at the second home be short enough but two
months be too long? What about a Chicago resident whose job
requires him to spend extended periods of time out of the country
every year? Where is such a person “actually living” or “actually
residing” when out of the country? Assuming without deciding that
the appellate court was correct that the government service exception
does not apply to candidates, consider the example of Representatives
in Congress who often spend 4-5 days a week in Washington. If a
Representative from a Chicago congressional district owns a
condominium in Washington, where is that representative “actually
living” or “actually residing” when Congress is in session? Under the
majority’s test, would the candidate have been ineligible to run for
mayor even during the time he was serving in Congress? The same
confusion would arise with respect to State Representatives or State
Senators who must spend considerable amounts of time in Springfield.
* Emanuel’s intent…
This is a situation in which, not only did the candidate testify that
his intent was not to abandon his Chicago residence, his acts fully
support and confirm that intent. […]
The objectors claim that, once a person rents out a residence, he
or she has abandoned it as a matter of law. This is obviously incorrect,
as it is directly contrary to Smith. Indeed, Smith makes clear that
rental is merely one factor to consider in determining abandonment
(Smith, 44 Ill. at 24), and the terms of the rental and the circumstances
surrounding it must be considered.
So there will be no mistake, let us be entirely clear. This court’s
decision is based on the following and only on the following: (1) what
it means to be a resident for election purposes was clearly established
long ago, and Illinois law has been consistent on the matter since at
least the 19th Century; (2) the novel standard adopted by the appellate
court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law; (3) the
Board’s factual findings were not against the manifest weight of the
evidence; and (4) the Board’s decision was not clearly erroneous. [Bolding added]
* There were no dissents. Two justices (Freeman and Burke) concurred in the result but not the reasoning.
Moody’s Investors Service has begun to recalculate the states’ debt burdens in a way that includes unfunded pensions, something states and others have ardently resisted until now.
States do not now show their pension obligations — funded or not — on their audited financial statements. The board that issues accounting rules does not require them to. And while it has been working on possible changes to the pension accounting rules, investors have grown increasingly nervous about municipal bonds.
Moody’s new approach may now turn the tide in favor of more disclosure. The ratings agency said that in the future, it will add states’ unfunded pension obligations together with the value of their bonds, and consider the totals when rating their credit. The new approach will be more comparable to how the agency rates corporate debt and sovereign debt. Moody’s did not indicate whether states’ credit ratings may rise or fall. […]
In the past, Moody’s looked at a state’s level of bonded debt alone when assessing its creditworthiness. Pensions were considered “soft debt” and were considered separately from the bonds, using a different method.
“A more standard analysis would view both of these as liabilities that need to be paid and put stress on your operating budgets,” said Robert Kurtter, managing director for public finance at Moody’s.
Moody’s presentation of combined debt and pension figures as part of a more integrated view of states’ total obligations follows a period of rapid growth in unfunded pension liabilities.
“Pension underfunding has been driven by weaker-than-expected investment results, previous benefit enhancements, and, in some states, failure to pay the annual required contribution to the pension fund,” says Hampton. “Demographic factors — including the retirement of Baby Boom-generation state employees and beneficiaries’ increasing life expectancy — are also adding to liabilities.”
Moody’s says that the evaluation of current and projected pension liabilities is an important area of focus in its rating reviews. For some states, such as Illinois, which is rated A1 and has a negative outlook, large and growing debt and pension burdens have already contributed to rating changes.
As I’ve said before, when New York says “Jump!” Illinois, with its huge bonded indebtedness, has no choice but to ask “How high?” If I had to bet, it would say we’ll see more pension reform stuff soon, including forcing government employees to pay lots more into the system.
* This Politico article pretty much sums up how disgusted I am with DC politics…
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) had been a member of the “most exclusive club” for about two weeks when he pulled the equivalent of spiking a football on the decorous Senate floor, reveling in the GOP’s defeat of a catch-all $1.1 trillion spending bill riddled with earmarks.
“As the most junior people, for those who don’t understand what just happened, did we just win?” Kirk inquired, feigning ignorance for dramatic effect, at the end of one of the Senate’s final debates in December. […]
“I think his whole demeanor wasn’t that appropriate,” Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) told POLITICO after chiding Kirk on the Senate floor. “I saw what he said, and I thought, ‘I’m going to say something.’ And I thought that that was the politics that people are fed up with. So he has to be very careful.”
Among Republicans who privately complained about the episode, one called it “amateurish.”
Yeah, lock him up and throw away the key.
What a freaking crock.
I’d like to send them Rickey Hendon for a few days. His electric blue suit with matching shoes and attitude might finally shake that place up a bit.
There was a time in the French royal court when one had to speak in rhyme to be respected. DC is pretty much the same way. They have their own little world out there and it makes little real sense to anyone outside of it.
Remember the scene from Animal House, in which Otter is trying to persuade the Deltas to pledge the sad-sack Flounder?
When Otter was a freshman, he says, “I myself was so obnoxious the seniors beat me up once a week.”
That’s the kind of start Mark Kirk is getting off to in the U.S. Senate. Here in Illinois, we’ve always known he was a self-aggrandizing pipsqueak — remember those triumphant little hops every time he scored a point in a debate against Alexi Giannoulias? Now, his new co-workers are finding out, too.
* His “inappropriate” behavior didn’t hurt Kirk with his committee assignments. The freshman just snagged seats on Appropriations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions; and the Special Committee on Aging. Not bad at all.
* We received a phone call this week from a car salesman in Libertyville. Apparently, somebody had applied for a car loan on the Internet in my wife’s name. The loan was never approved, but the salesman said he knew who the culprit was. However, the salesman adamantly refused to tell us the dastardly fool’s name over the phone, because of various privacy laws.
Needless to say, this greatly puzzled me. They know who a criminal is, but they won’t give us the name? And they didn’t report him to the coppers? What the heck?
So, I called the attorney general’s office. To my amazement, there is no law requiring merchants to report even blatantly obvious attempts at identity theft. The car dealer was also within his rights not to release any information over the phone, according to the AG’s office. Lisa Madigan’s office tried to be helpful, sending us two several-page forms to fill out which they would then mail to the car dealer and he would then mail them the details, which they’d then forward to us. My wife decided that she’d just make the long trek from Springfield to Libertyville herself today and get the information. Whether the cops or anyone else will do something about it is another matter entirely.
* The Question: Have you or a close loved one ever been the victim of identity theft? If so, did you find existing laws adequate? Explain.
There was one fellow who would have defeated Daley in a one-on-one race, reform Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd. Waguespack terrified City Hall by actually speaking up against the cost of corruption. He began criticizing that terrible parking meter deal. He promised that if elected mayor, he’d hire IRS agents to conduct forensic audits of every department going back 20 years.
Almost immediately, Daley stepped down. Then the usual suspects — those who’d never dare challenge the mayor — crawled out of the bush and made like change agents. In such a crowded field, poor Waguespack was forced to withdraw.
OK, if Waguespack was such a great candidate, wouldn’t he have stood out in this big crowd? After all, he had an enormous campaign bank account balance of $33,260.63 at the end of last year. Surely, those billions would’ve allowed him to stomp Daley as well as dominate the big field.
Also, do you have any idea how long a 20-year forensic audit would take? Probably 20 years [/snark]. Daley’s cronies would’ve all passed away to that great patronage hiring hall in the sky by then.
The [appellate] court concluded that the words “resided in” in one election law mean something entirely different from the same words in a second election law. It did so even though neither the second law nor the Illinois Supreme Court has defined them differently.
The Supreme Court has for decades defined “residency”… to mean the place where you intend to make your permanent abode. If you leave your home for a temporary work assignment intending to return to your home, your residency does not change. The court has not interpreted the word to mean where you “live” or sleep each night. Emanuel obviously lived in Washington while serving as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, but clearly he intended to return to his Chicago home. […]
Two Appellate Court judges agreed that Emanuel is a “resident” of Chicago under this definition, as he had not abandoned his permanent home and intended to return to it. The court therefore held — under the first law — that he can vote in the mayoral election.
But when the court returned to the very same words in the second law (a related law regarding candidates), it decided that “resided in” could mean something different because the laws were separate. And it decided that in this second law, the Legislature had used the word “reside” to mean two different things within the same sentence — and that one of those meanings equated “reside” with “live.” [Emphasis added.]
That appellate ruling is a total mess. Subscribers know more, but that was a pretty good look by David Hoffman.
Experts say a court never has ignored a candidate’s intent.
“We’ve all been working under this absolute presumption based on cases of the last 50 years that intent was really the key,” Dorf said. “But the appellate court got rid of intent.”
Edward Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University who heads the school’s election law program, said the court’s decision to disregard intent was striking.
“There is a general theme in election law that when in doubt, you err on the side of democracy,” he said. “If there is any doubt about the understanding of the statute, you interpret it so that you let the voters decide.”
Adlai Stevenson II was absent from Illinois for much of 1945-48, while serving as an American delegate to the United Nations in London and New York. Then, in 1948, he was elected governor — despite the Illinois Constitution’s requirement that a candidate for governor must have been “a resident of this State for the three years preceding his election.”
* Will Emanuel ruling escape political taint?: Joseph Tybor, spokesman for the Supreme Court, said it would be unfair to imply the high court is tainted by politics simply because the constitution requires they be elected. “I challenge you to find one case, or two cases, in which a judicial decision was made because of improper political influence,” he said.
Illinois remains 48th in job creation while it wallows in a $13 billion deficit.
OK, first of all, that $13 billion figure is outdated because of the income tax increase. I wish people would stop using it. But facts always get in the way of long-established memes when you’re dealing with the mainstream media.
“And so between me and Governor Quinn in Illinois, here’s the very simple difference: He’s raising taxes, I’m cutting them. And the promise I made to the business owners in Illinois is come to New Jersey, and for as long as I’m governor we’re not going to raise your taxes. If you stay in Illinois, you know for a certainty that Pat Quinn’s going to raise your taxes. Because what he’s done is made his bed with the public sector unions during the election campaign.”
Gov. Christie already did raise taxes. By getting rid of the state’s property tax rebate program, property taxes jumped almost 30 percent. And that doesn’t count the actual property tax increases to cover state cuts to education and local governments.
In several reports by national media, Illinois has been used as an example of a state that could use a bankruptcy option because of its billions-dollar deficit.
But there are constitutional hurdles that would be hard to overcome, according to Douglas Baird, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“A state may contract debt but, typically speaking, you can’t go to an Illinois court and sue the state of Illinois to collect the debt and you can’t go to federal court to sue a state and collect the debt because states have what’s called sovereign immunity,” Baird said.
Bankruptcy affords individuals and businesses a way to get out from under the debt they owe and, in some cases, reorganize that debt to remain in business. States don’t need that option because of sovereign immunity, Baird said.
“If you’re immune from suit, then you don’t need bankruptcy because your creditors can jump up and down but they’re not going to be able to do anything because they can’t seize your assets or do stuff like that anyway,” he said.
This immunity makes bankruptcy for states unnecessary, according to opponents of the plan.
Last March 24, the pols who run Illinois nearly ruptured multiple vertebrae by slapping themselves so enthusiastically on the back.
In one day they had rammed through the Illinois General Assembly a bill establishing scaled-down pension benefits for public employees — but only those hired in 2011 and later. This was the so-called major pension reform that had Gov. Pat Quinn and his budget director, David Vaught, bragging that they had saved taxpayers $200 billion over nearly 35 years. Why, they even estimated that Illinois could reduce $300 million to $1 billion from the state’s required pension contribution in the fiscal year that began July 1. House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton were thrilled too. Pension mess? Solved! Slap, slap.
Robertson was the lead author of a study published by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine that found that doctors who study in Illinois are fleeing the state in droves. Robertson is chairman of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Northwestern. […]
The study surveyed Illinois’ graduating residents and fellows, and sampled about 561 respondents, of a 1,738 total population size.
The primary reason for the exodus was overall practice opportunities; however, the medical malpractice liability environment was a major consideration, the study stated.
Sixty-seven percent of the study’s participants cited the medical malpractice liability environment in Illinois as a reason for leaving the state. There are no caps to the amount of money for which a physician can be sued, Robertson said.
* Edgar: State needed a tax hike: Saying that Democrats have likely “used up all of their courage,” Edgar, who was governor from 1990 to 1998, said more efforts to cut spending and put the state on a “fiscal diet” will have to come from both sides of the aisle, along with cooperation from the governor’s office.
* State lawmakers grilled over income tax in Kane County: “You guys are one of hundreds of organizations that are screaming that we haven’t paid you,” said Chapa LaVia, of Aurora. “You’re just as important as our kids … as our veterans … just as important as all our vendors who haven’t gotten paid.”
* New-home sales in 2010 fall to lowest in 47 years: For December, sales rose in all parts of the country except the Northeast, which saw a 5 percent decline. Sales surged 71.9 percent in the West and were up 3.2 percent in the Midwest and 1.8 percent in the South.
* Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz filed the lawsuit which resulted in the capital bill’s demise yesterday at he hands of the appellate court. At least one union is now talking boycott…
Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz might face a backlash now that the lawsuit he filed has indirectly put tens of thousands of construction jobs in jeopardy. […]
The lawsuit that led to Wednesday’s ruling was filed by Wirtz, whose family owns the Chicago Blackhawks. The foundation of their financial fortune is Wirtz Beverage Illinois, a distributor of alcoholic beverages. Used to getting their way in Springfield, the Wirtz family was infuriated when the legislature ignored their objections to the liquor tax.
Chicago labor leaders were not happy about the construction jobs that will vanish if the capital projects don’t go through. Jim Sweeney, President of Local 150 International Union of Operating Engineers, said his members might boycott Wirtz family businesses including the Blackhawks.
First of all, there was nothing “indirect” about it. That lawsuit led directly to the current calamity. Also, secondary union boycotts are illegal, although this might not be viewed as such.
Lawmakers are, of course, free to disassemble their Frankenbill and pass the measures separately, as they should have done in the first place. Good luck with that. In the year and a half since they pulled this stunt, we’ve had the sort of public airing we didn’t get in the beginning, and it’s clear Illinois residents don’t want those new bridges and buildings badly enough to welcome video poker to their neighborhoods.
More than 70 communities already have voted not to allow the machines. All four major candidates for mayor of Chicago want to leave the city’s ban on video gambling in place. We’ve elected some new lawmakers, and set old and new on notice: This doesn’t fly. Wednesday’s ruling should be the end of it.
* As I explained to subscribers this morning, it won’t be easy passing another funding bill. The Sun-Times has more on that…
If Wednesday’s decision is not overturned, Gov. Quinn will face an unexpectedly difficult and financially uncertain spring legislative session that many observers had expected to be relatively tame. Now, after passage of the politically unpopular income-tax hike, he could be faced with scaling back the construction plan or persuading re-enactment of the stricken tax and fee increases, borrowing and video poker that has been rejected by dozens of communities.
“For those who supported this most recent tax increase and then went home and heard from their constituents, what will your reaction be to another vote on fee and tax increases, which were part of the original capital proposal?” said Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who said it is not a certainty that Republicans in a new Legislature will agree to the same framework as before on a construction package. “We’re in a different time.”
The prospect of having to go back to the Legislature and win backing again for billions of dollars in construction borrowing is further complicated by Gov. Quinn’s push for a separate $8.75 billion borrowing package he had intended to seek this spring to whittle down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.
“You’d like to think at a certain point we’d collectively achieve borrowing fatigue. I know I’m there personally,” Murphy said. “This is just a sticky wicket.”
State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, said he was disappointed with the court’s ruling on a measure he called a “jobs bill.”
“When you now say that the funding in the legislation itself is unconstitutional, you put a choke hold on those jobs and the state and the economy,” Brady said. “This whole jobs bill … was directed to stimulate the economic engine of the state of Illinois and put people back to work in this high unemployment time.”
“Regardless of my feelings on what the Legislature did to fund the capital bill, what’s concerning is that we haven’t had one in such a long time. The infrastructure in our state is terrible. My immediate concern is that it’s addressed,” said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis.
“My initial concern would be the impact that this ruling would have on all the capital projects that have been identified and planned and, most notably, with the Peoria Riverfront Museum,” said Peoria County Administrator Patrick Urich. “The state has identified $5 million for part of this project and I’m concerned what’s going to happen with that.” […]
District 150 Treasurer Dave Kinney said he hoped the ruling would not have any effect on the money expected to go to the school district.
If it does, though, “I would think that our first step would be to meet with the PBC and architects involved … and put a temporary halt to the projects until we can sort out what the priorities would be,” Kinney said. “We were anticipating bids to go out on both projects in April or May, so right now there isn’t an obligation to one project or the other from the standpoint of having hired contractors. Hopefully, since we have been on a (Capital Development Board) list for quite some time, there will be minimal impact. Obviously, we will need to find out as soon as possible what that link might be.”
* Except for video poker, most people have forgotten what was used to fund the capital program. The SJ-R has a handy list…
* Legalizing video poker in places like bars and social clubs, raising an estimated $375 million.
* Turning over day-to-day management of the lottery to a private firm and allowing the sale of lottery tickets online, $150 million.
* Increasing the tax on alcohol, $114 million.
* Extending the sales tax to previously exempt items such as candy, non-carbonated beverages, and health and beauty products, $150 million.
* Increasing vehicle fees, $331 million. Vehicle registration and driver’s license fees increased $20. Titles and commercial licenses went up by $30.