Posted August 6, 2018, 7:02 pm CDT
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a surprise appearance before the ABA House of Delegates on Monday, praising the association for its efforts to promote the rule of law and criticizing the Trump administration.
“Never before did I think that this country would have this moment in time, where we would take the rule of one man’s opinion over the rule of law of our collective will,” he told assembled delegates at the Hyatt Regency hotel.
After sharing the story of his grandfather’s immigration from Lithuania and the contributions immigrants have made to the city, Emanuel expressed his pride in Chicago’s immigration policies. “We’re not a sanctuary city; we’re a welcoming city,” he said.
Chicago is suing the Department of Justice regarding a hold the Trump administration attempted to place on federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities. The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has placed an injunction on that hold, and the case is scheduled to be heard next month.
“The city of Chicago has taken this administration on, and its political culture, and this idea that one person can define what’s right and wrong, what’s legal and illegal,” Emanuel said, “from health care to immigrant rights to the notion that a city can be coerced off of its policies by using the purse of the federal government.”
Emanuel was not listed on the House agenda but appeared toward the end of the day’s session.
“I’m only here because you have played an important role in shaping this country,” he told the House and got a laugh from the crowd by adding, “I’m also here to shamelessly ask you to spend more money while you’re here.”
“But I’m really only here to ask you to continue to find your voice in this time,” he continued. “Let’s be honest. All of us are very fortunate. We can go back to our places of comfort respectfully. And we will. But in the time that we’re in public positions—positions with titles and authority that mean something and have value—we have to use this belief and defend what we believe America stands for.”
Emanuel recalled a conversation his daughter had with Shimon Peres on a family trip to Israel for her bat mitzvah. He said Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, told her there are only two books of importance: the history book and the guest book. And now that she was an adult, she must decide which book her name went in.
“We all have to decide, collectively, which book our name goes in,” Emanuel said. “Which book does the ABA go in?”
Follow along with our full coverage of the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting.