Hillary Clinton Ineligible to Be Secretary of State
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and
prosecutes government corruption, announced today that Senator Hillary Rodham
Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State in the
According to the Ineligibility Clause of the United States Constitution, no
member of Congress can be appointed to an office that has benefited from a
salary increase during the time that Senator or Representative served in
Congress. A January 2008 Executive Order signed by President Bush during
Hillary Clinton's current Senate term increased the salary for Secretary of
State, thereby rendering Senator Clinton ineligible for the position.
I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides "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 encreased during such
time." The provision is seen by most as designed by our Founding Fathers
to protect against corruption.
Former President Richard Nixon circumvented this constitutional provision
after appointing former Ohio Senator William Saxbe to the position of Attorney
General. The Nixon administration managed to force legislation through Congress
to reduce the salary for the position of Attorney General to the level that
existed prior to Senator Saxbe's appointment. This scheme, known thereafter as
"The Saxbe Fix," was also used to allow Senator Lloyd Bentsen to
assume the position of Treasury Secretary under President Clinton.
"The Saxbe Fix" may reduce the salary of Secretary of State to
previous levels, but it does not affect what is a clear constitutional
prohibition. It cannot change the fact that the salary had been increased while
Senator Clinton served in Congress. (President Ronald Reagan reportedly did not
appoint Senator Orrin Hatch to the Supreme Court because of this provision.)
Simply put, the Constitution does not provide for a legislative remedy for the
"There's no getting
around the Constitution's Ineligibility Clause, so Hillary Clinton is
prohibited from serving in the Cabinet until at least 2013, when her current
term expires," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Barack
Obama should select someone who is eligible for the position of Secretary of
State and save the country from a constitutional battle over Hillary Clinton's
confirmation. No public official who has taken the oath to support and defend
the Constitution should support this appointment. And aside from the
constitutional issue, Hillary Clinton's long track record of corruption makes
her a terrible choice to serve as the nation's top diplomat."
For more on this, visit Judicial Watch's web site here.
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