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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

In a Global World, Where Does A Person “Live” – An Answer from the Supreme Court

In today’s world of global travel and mobile jobs, where does an adult person "live" when he or she and/or the family sometimes occupy space in more than one location ? Seemingly simple questions are becoming even more challenging in this increasingly global world and careers involving increasingly impermanent jobs. And,the question even applies to corporations as some purport to skip around the globe to seek lower tax rates as exemplified by Cooper Industries and myriad insurance companies, or other legal advantages, as evidence by James Hardie (moved from Australia to the Netherlands to Ireland) and myriad insurance companies.

In the US, the question of residency has achieved some notoriety over the last few days due to rulings by Illinois courts on the eligibility of a candidate to become the new Mayor of Chicago. Under our state’s statute on elections, a candidate for mayor must have "resided in" in the city for the year prior to the election. The candidate, Rahm Emanuel, clearly "resided in" in Chicago for many years, but then moved temporarily to Washington, D.C. to serve as Chief of Staff for President Obama. That position is necessarily impermanent, and so Mr. Emanuel and his family did not sell their Chicago home, and instead simply rented the home while "living" in Washington. Yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion affirming that Mr. Emanuel satisfies the standard because determining where a person "resides" includes an intent element plainly satisfied by Mr. Emanuel.

The impemanence of today’s world raises interesing questions.

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