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Sorry Hillary

Doesn't Barack Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School, know the constitution? From the Washington Post-

Even if the vetting problems involving former president Bill Clinton's finances can be resolved, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton may face another roadblock on her way to the secretary of state's chair.

It's called the Constitution of the United States, specifically, Article One, Section Six, also known as the emoluments clause. ("Emoluments" means things like salaries.) It says that no member of Congress, during the term for which he was elected, shall be named to any office "the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during his term." This applies, we're advised, whether the member actually voted on the raises or not.

In Clinton's case, during her current term in the Senate, which began in January 2007, cabinet salaries were increased from $186,600 to $191,300. This situation has arisen before, most famously in the case called "The Saxbe Fix," but it involves a controversial, somewhat tortured reading of the Sacred Document.

It is just plain incredible no one has thought of this before. That goes for both the media and law professor bloggers. Here is the particular part of the constitution in question-

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
President Nixon worked his way around it when he nominated Ohio Senator William Saxbe to be Attorney General in 1973. Will Obama risk a constitutional battle by nominating Hillary?

Doug at Below the Beltway writes-

Could it possibly be.......

"You know, Hillary, I really wanted you to be my Secretary of State, but the Constitution says I can't have you. Sorry."

Talk about out clauses.


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Comments (11)

If Congress voted to lower ... (Below threshold)

If Congress voted to lower the salary she could take it.

Looks like Hillary! is gonn... (Below threshold)

Looks like Hillary! is gonna have to take a pay cut.

Does Obama really even care... (Below threshold)

Does Obama really even care what the constitution permits?

You'd think a Constitutiona... (Below threshold)

You'd think a Constitutional Law expert like Obama would already have known this...

While you are correct, do y... (Below threshold)

While you are correct, do you think someone is actually going to invoke this to challenge her nomination? The Republicans have to pick their battles carefully and this one doesn't seem worth the fight. And as disappointed as some Democrats may be in some of Obama's nominees, I also can't imaging they'd choose this juncture to fight it out.

Who says the GOP has to bri... (Below threshold)

Who says the GOP has to bring this up?

There are plenty of people on the Left who would do anything to make sure that Hillary doesn't get anywhere near the Oval Office again.

Simple solution -- before s... (Below threshold)

Simple solution -- before she resigns from the Senate, Congress votes to decrease the Sec. of State's salary back to what it was. President signs, then she resigns.

One more reason why I cheri... (Below threshold)

One more reason why I cherish and revere our Constitution!

"Hillary, thanks for disclo... (Below threshold)

"Hillary, thanks for disclosing all yours and Bill's personal information to my administration, sorry it didn't work out. And at least it looked like I was trying to be inclusive so your supporters angry at me may soften up a bit."

I say let her take office a... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

I say let her take office as SoS, and resign her Senate seat. THEN come down on the deal like a ton of bricks, forcing her to resign from SoS.

That way, when the music stops, there is no chair.

Golly, and I thought Obama ... (Below threshold)

Golly, and I thought Obama was a big expert on the Constitution. *snark*

"If Congress voted to lower the salary she could take it."

Any members of Congress taking a paycut? How often does that happen?






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