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Clinton, "emoluments" and Sec of State
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, December 02, 2008

MichaelW brought you the Constitutional question yesterday. Today, the "fix" shows up:
But she's not the first member of Congress to run into the problem, and there have been fixes before.

William Saxbe, a Republican senator from Ohio, faced the same problem when President Richard Nixon nominated him to be attorney general in 1973. The office's salary had been increased a few years earlier during Saxbe's term. The solution: Congress voted to reduce the attorney general's pay, clearing the way for Saxbe to take the post. A similar fix was arranged to allow Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen to become Treasury secretary in 1993.

Clinton "can take the office, she can't take the pay," said Senate historian Don Ritchie.
 
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I honestly don’t see a problem with this. More to the point, Hillary is not exactly a diplomatic creature. But at least she has more iron in her constitution than anyone I would have expected Obama to pick.
 
Written By: Phil Smith
URL: http://
Seeing as how Bush increased the Sec’y of State by executive order, Congress could reduce the pay to the level it was at before it was increased, and then Obama can increase it back by executive order.

But really, it’s not like she needs the money, her husband can go talk to some folks for 13 seconds and make up the salary difference.

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
The only issue is that it is blatantly unconstitutional, and truly creates an Executive Branch officer who is operating ultra vires. What that might actually mean in reality is hard to say, primarily because the Sec. of State holds a largely advisory position. Most substantive actions must be ratified by Congress which seems to negate any lack-of-authority problems.

Just the same, if it’s unconstitutional then it should not be carried out by Congress. Should a new Amendment be introduced that codifies the "Saxbe fix"? Sure. That makes sense. Until then, however, Congress needs to follow the law, however niggling it may seem.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Until then, however, Congress needs to follow the law, however niggling it may seem.
I certainly won’t argue against that, however I find it fascinating that the "work around" is to simply cut the pay.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I’m no friend of Clinton’s or Obama’s, but I too don’t see a problem. The Saxbe Fix is consistent with the spirit of the law. Perhaps Congress should codify the Saxbe Fix so that this confusion doesn’t happen again, but I really don’t see who is harmed by it.
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
... I really don’t see who is harmed by it.
That’s what a lot of people say about the D.C. Voting Rights Act, but it doesn’t change its unconstitutionality.

My thinking is simply that it should not be left up to Congress to decide which parts of the Constitution are important enough to be followed, and which can safely be ignored.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
I certainly won’t argue against that, however I find it fascinating that the "work around" is to simply cut the pay.
It effectively solves the problem without having to rip up the constitution.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
It effectively solves the problem without having to rip up the constitution.
No need to rip up the Constitution when you can just selectively ignore or redefine the words that are in it without any repercussions.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
All nuance aside, how refreshing would it be to have a candidate say, "I’d love to take the job, but I’m currently constitutionally ineligible, therefore I must decline. I would be happy to serve if and when I become eligible in the future."

While I’m at it, I’d like a Ferrari, a helicopter, and Elisha Cuthbert.
 
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