Thursday, December 4, 2008

Constitution back in force!

Like a rabid dog to raw meat, Judicial Watch announced this week that Hillary Clinton is forbidden by the Constitution from serving as Secretary of State:

Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution says the following: "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."


In January, President Bush signed an executive order increasing the salary for the secretary of state and other Cabinet positions by $4,700.
Executive order? The Constitution was written under the assumption that Congress held the purse strings. Article I, section 6 was an anti-corruption measure. Of course, Duhbya was probably granted the power to give Cabinet raises as part of a deal to piggyback Congressional raises without actually having to vote on them, since they're always unpopular with everyone who makes less - most of us. Or maybe Duhbya just arrogated it, and no one stopped him.

Wouldn't that violation of separation of powers be something more important for Judicial Watch to care about? (Only the Supremes might well have rubberstamped it since I think their salaries were included in the escalator clause.)

The Constitution's words, of course, do matter, even when raised by these guys. Though Hillary did not participate in the increased emolument to the Secretary of State, it did happen. There is no reason, however, that this possible defect can't be cured by a simple reduction to the previous level of pay. Since there's no corruption here, even that may not be necessary.

I guess Larry Klayman's Clinton Derangement Syndrome wasn't cured by eight years of Bushism! He hates him some Clinton.

The oddest thing is that Darth Cheney's election in 2000 was clearly unconstitutional, and nary a peep from Judicial Watch. Unless you bought his bullshit show of journeying back to Wyoming to register to vote there, the reality was that Cheney could not receive the electoral votes of Texas, due to the 12th Amendment:
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.
In the absence of a majority of electoral votes for Vice President, the Senate should have had to choose between Darth and Joe Lieberman, no matter how much a Hobson's choice the intervening eight years have revealed that to be.

I do have to thank Judicial Watch for one thing: Article I, section 6 proves that the Cheney-Addington theory of the fourth branch is not just bunk under any commonsense interpretation of the Constitution. It also violates the black and white text within the four corners of the document:
[N]o Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Oops! The VP is prohibited from being a member of Congress. Next theory!

Foolish of me to fight this old battle, though. With a Democrat back in the White House, of course the limits to Presidential power are back in force.

More on the Constitution or lack thereof here.

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