Friday, January 30, 2009

Should Hillary be Removed as Secretary of State?

Constitutionally, maybe... consider this: A US diplomat has filed a lawsuit charging that Hillary Clinton's appointment as secretary of state is unconstitutional, a watchdog group representing him said Thursday.

The lawsuit filed by David Rodearmel argues that Clinton is "ineligible" for the job because the Senate approved, while she was a senator, a salary raise for her predecessor Condoleezza, Judicial Watch said in a statement.

According to article one, section six of the US constitution: "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 the lawsuit filed in a Washington court, Rodearmel wrote that "for almost a century, administrators of both parties have used various legal maneuvers to avoid complying with the constitution's emoluments clause."

He added: "I am bringing suit to finally resolve this issue and to seek compliance with the manifest tenor of the constitution."

The constitutional problem posed by the salary increase granted to Rice in January 2007 was raised last month when Barack Obama announced his intention to name Clinton his secretary of state.

In order to circumvent the problem, Congress decided that Clinton's annual salary would be reduced 4,700 dollars from Rice's at the end of her term, to 186,600 dollars -- the amount Rice earned before January 2007, when Clinton began her second Senate term.

Rodearmel said he was not pursuing "a partisan, political or personal issue."

He added: "To detach ourselves from the text of the constitution is a true slippery slope that would negate the rule of law. If the constitution needs to be changed, it should be done by the means the constitution provides."

What do you think? Does reducing her salary to the pre-vote level make this consitutional point moot? Or should we stick to a strict interpretation and remove her? Personally, I think trying to oust her is a bit crazy. That is, the intent of the emolumnets clause is not in jeopardy here... do you really think Hillary Clinton voted for that $4700 raise just so she could get that money if at some future point she became Secretary of State?

18 comments:

BAWDYSCOT said...

Rice's salary was raised in January of 2007 and at that time Clinton had her sights set on being the next President, not the Secretary of State. As much as I believe in the Constitution as a "dead" document, common sense and reasonableness should also be considered when circumstances change. Especially since the salary has now been reduced by the increased amount which seems common sense and reasonable.

Of much more importance in these troubled times is the bailout. Now that is a topic which should be at the forefront of our minds....

The Intellectual Redneck said...

Lawsuit filed claiming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve

There were serious questions about the constitutional eligibility of Hillary Clinton to serve as secretary of State. Lawsuit filed claiming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve. The issue arises from the Secretary of States salary having been raised during Hillary Clinton's term in the Senate. The Constitution forbids members of the Senate from being appointed to civil office, such as the Secretary of State, if the "emoluments," or salary and benefits, of the office were increased during the Senator's term. This clearly occurred. Congress tried to do an end run around the Constitution by lowering the Secretary of States salary. This does not change the historical fact that the salary of the Secretary of State was raised three times during Hillary Clinton's tenure as a Senator from New York. This case will eventually end up at the Supreme Court.

coreydbarbarian said...

this is pretty funny.
the anti-clinton crowd will keep repeating rumors until they're convinced, just like they did/still do with every aspect of bill's life.

wingnuts are entertaining.

Anonymous said...

I think you are right Redneck. It is interesting the constitutionalist pissed all over themselves under Bush but now that Clinton is under the microscope they want to look the other way. The case seems pretty clear cut and intent was not a consideration here. This is a clear case of Blagging for time.

csm said...

What the hell is "Blagging for time"? How can we know if it is a "clear case" of that if we don't even know what the fuck it is?

BAWDYSCOT said...

I repeat,

Of much more importance in these troubled times is the bailout. Now that is a topic which should be at the forefront of our minds....

G said...

Bailout? I haven't seen any new about a bailout recently. There's that massive spending bill that has nothing to do with fixing the economy. But that doesn't really qualify for the word "bailout" (or "stimulus", for that matter). Just wasting the money of the taxpayers on the same old pet projects like usual. Although this one is more like hamstringing our children and grandchildren as well.

Are people actually naive enough to believe that the govt can spend nearly a trillion dollars it doesn't have (hence the words "deficit" and "debt" that are a normal part of our vocabulary) without bleeding it out of the population at large in one way or another?

BAWDYSCOT said...

Thanks, g. The ghost of John Maynard Keynes is alive and well unfortunately. The consolidation of power and money in Washington is getting to ridiculous heights and will be one more lever(scare tactics, it takes a village to raise your kids, the government has too little regulation at it's disposal, et al)to wedge their way into every single facet of our lives. This isn't going to work and will be wasted money.

The problem was, as they tell us, too much cheap credit; so what is their answer? Has anyone seen what the Fed has done to the discount rate?

Recessions are a healthy thing. It is analogous to forest fires as healthy to the forest. Sure some will get burned, but it it the surest way to correct misinvestment and malinvestment. The key is to help those who do get burned(not the companies, the displaced workers through payments and retraining)and to let the market punish those who guessed wrong. This is supposed to be how it works. And if the government had let Bear Stearns fail, instead of finding some white knight, others may have taken their own situations a little more seriously.

csm said...

IMHO what should be in this recovery plan is a reinvestment in infrastructure (bridges, raods, energy grid, etc.), govt projects to fund alternative energy programs, and similar efforts that would employ people and deliver "things" of actual substance.

SoCal Tim said...

Learn from the past. Cut taxes and keep Uncle Warbucks from trying to FIX the economy. JFK & RR both proved the best way to fix an economy. Look to Ireland, they suffered with Euro-socialism and now they have drastically cut corporate taxes & the economy in booming. Works without fail

G said...

csm,

I don't completely disagree with you on infrastructure spending in general. I do believe that it is one of the few responsibilities that fall upon the federal govt (at least for federal highways and lands). But I don't think that kind of spending (or any spending, really) is going to have a "stimulative" effect on the economy. It might provide a few temporary jobs (although with the inherent inefficiency of govt, that is not a guarantee).

The economy is basically people buying, selling, and investing. In order to get those things moving, we need to either decrease the cost/burden of doing so, increase the benefit, or both. Since the govt doesn't actually have money to spend (it would need to be either printed or borrowed, neither of which is beneficial), the only way to spur things along is to give a financial incentive. The idea of a tax writeoff for new car purchases this year is a good one. The same types of incentives could be applied to real estate as well. In fact, giving tax writeoffs for things like sales taxes would probably give a big boost as well.

But more than anything, things have stagnated because of the uncertainty people face. When investors don't know what the govt is going to do, they are afraid to invest. Then the markets fall. People get scared and hold onto their money more tightly. Etc. It's a downward spiral.

One thing is certain, though. You can't make your financial situation more stable by spending money you don't have. It applies to govt as well as to individuals. If this bill passes, it will be an economic nightmare for our country.

csm said...

So instead of spending money we don't have you want to avoid collecting money we need to pay off the existing debt? And you think that a tax writeoff will eliminate the uncertainty you speak of?

One thing is for sure, I don't have the answers... no one does, really. The worst thing I can think of though is to sit around and do nothing.

Building our infrastructure creates jobs. And it bolsters the future because the infrastructure consists of "things" we all use.

G said...

No, I think the uncertainty is a completely different issue than reducing the cost/increasing the benefit of doing business. The only way to get rid of the uncertainty is for the govt to declare what they are going to do (or not do).

Like I said, I don't totally disagree with you about the spending on infrastructure projects. If they ARE going to spend money, then that's the type of thing that is tolerable. But most of the items in the bill are absolutely ridiculous. Regardless of how one feels about increasing spending on education, energy research, etc., everyone KNOWS that it will do nothing for the present economic situation.

I agree that the govt doing nothing would be unwise. But when it comes to SPENDING (in order to stimulate the economy), I actually think that nothing is exactly what they should do... and make sure everyone knows they aren't going to interfere. What I believe they SHOULD do is reduce the cost of doing business, possibly include some incentives (like the new homebuyers' credit that they've now put into place), and actually REDUCE overall govt spending. They would also do well to reduce the amount of govt interference in many areas of commerce that are stagnant.

I don't claim to have all the answers. But I DO know that spending money the govt doesn't have on things that won't cause any immediate economic benefit will be wasteful at a minimum, and probably destructive as well.

G said...

I stumbled upon this Op/Ed piece in the LA Times today from Niall Ferguson on the subject of this "bailout/stimulus" issue. I thought it might be of interest to some of you:

Keynes can't help us now

And this news brief:

Democrats defeat GOP plan on mortgage rates

I thought the second one was interesting because of the absurdity of Chuck Schumer's argument that this provision is too expensive (as they prepare to spend nearly a trillion dollars) and that it would provide a windfall to banks (as opposed to the recent handouts from the first bailout).

I guess spending huge amounts of money and giving windfalls to corporations are only acceptable if the American public doesn't get anything out of it.

Here's another I read recently from an outside observer:

Gerald Warner: New president, same old snake-oil economics

csm said...

Anyone hear about Jon Stewart's idea for a stimulus plan? He says the money should be used to pay off consumer debt (credit cards, mortgages, etc.). That way the banks would get the money from having these obligations paid off (freeing them to loan the money) and consumers would get some of their debt burden removed.

I don't know if this is workable, but it isn't any worse than any other idea floating around out there - and maybe it is a bit better cause many of us would get something out of it, too.

G said...

So those of us who have actually lived within our means and are debt-free will have to pay the price for Joe Minimumwage, who just had to have that plasma TV for the Super Bowl and maxed out his card?

Brilliant. How about NOT using the govt printing press, loans from China, and increased taxes as an insurance policy for people who have made bad financial decisions.

I'm glad Jon Stewart chose to be a comedian rather than a politician. Although the ideas that come from many of the people in DC are just as bad (or worse).

It isn't like the govt has a stash of money that they're looking to spend. They have to TAKE it from somewhere (i.e. you and me).

G said...

Actually, here's a thought. Rather than all the "sky is falling" rhetoric from those who are trying to push this bill through, how about someone actually explaining to the country (in economic terms) exactly how doing nothing is worse than spending more than $800 billion.

I read a little eye-opener today that might help us to understand how much money we're talking about. If you were to start on the day of Jesus' birth (or the beginning of the C.E. if you prefer to go secular) and spent a million dollars each DAY until the present time, you still wouldn't have reached the total cost of this ONE spending bill.

csm said...

I have no credit card debt at all, but I can see how bringing some folks out of that might help. And if it is just too much for some folks to stand, then we could consider paying down people's mortgage with it (instead of just handing the money to banks).

As I said, though, can't say I agree or disagree with this one, but it is a different way of looking at things.