Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
A brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, questions whether members of the “political branches of the government” can “evade the clear and precise language of a provision of the Constitution through the use of a legislative ‘fix.’”
The dispute is over former Sen. Hillary Clinton’s eligibility to be secretary of state.
The U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 6, clause 2, 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 [increased] during such time.”
The case brought on behalf of a career government employee outlines how during Clinton’s tenure in the U.S. Senate, the salary for the secretary of state was raised to $186,600, then to $191,300, and then again to $196,700.
The complaint challenges whether a resolution adopted by Congress as Clinton was preparing for the position that rolled back the compensation to the level of Jan. 1, 2007, could remove the obstacle to Clinton’s appointment.
WND reported when Judicial Watch filed its notice that it would bring the arguments to the Supreme Court, and now the brief in the case has been submitted.
The lawsuit asserts Clinton is ineligible because she was serving as a senator from New York immediately prior to her selection by President Obama as secretary of state.
The case notes the text of the provision is an absolute prohibition and does not allow for any exceptions.
The case was brought on behalf of U.S. Foreign Service Officer David C. Rodearmel, who argues that “compensation and other emoluments” of the office of secretary of state rose during Clinton’s tenure in the Senate.
A special three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case, concluding Rodearmel lacked standing.
But Judicial Watch has argued Rodearmel cannot be forced to serve under the former senator as it would violate the oath he took as a Foreign Service Officer in 1991 to “support and defend” and “bear true faith and allegiance” to the U.S. Constitution.
“Our client’s goal is to vindicate the U.S. Constitution,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Constitution clearly prohibits Hillary Clinton from serving as secretary of state until 2013. We hope the Supreme Court assumes jurisdiction over this matter and puts a stop to this attempt to do an end-run around the Constitution.”
The newly filed brief states “the salary of the U.S. Secretary of State was increased three times during Mrs. Clinton’s second term in the U.S. Senate. A subsequent ‘rollback’ of the salary by Congress does nothing to remedy this ineligibility for office, as no such ‘work around’ is authorized by the Constitution and cannot alter the fact that these increases in salary occurred.”
“The Joint Resolution did not and cannot change the historical fact that the ‘compensation and other emoluments’ of the office … increased during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure in the U.S. Senate.
“At the core of the case is the casual disregard of a clear and unambiguous directive of the Constitution,” the brief states.
The case raises two key questions for the Supreme Court:
- Whether an officer of the United States, when placed in a position where he must either violate his oath of office or risk substantial, adverse consequences to his employment, has standing to maintain a challenge to the appointment of a constitutionally ineligible superior.
- And whether members of Congress who are otherwise ineligible for appointment to an office in the executive branch under the plain language of Article I, section 6 of the Constitution, can have their eligibility restored by an act of Congress.
“The Supreme Court has an obligation to settle the Ineligibility Clause issue once and for all,” said Fitton. “If our government and courts will not observe even the plain and unambiguous provisions of the Constitution, then we are cut adrift from the anchor of law and liberty and the rule of law is in jeopardy. We hope the Supreme Court takes this opportunity to vindicate the Constitution.”