Judicial Watch Asks Court to Declare Hillary Clinton Constitutionally Ineligible to Serve as Secretary of State
JULY 08, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that on July 2 it filed a motion with a special panel of three federal judges in the District of Columbia asking the court to declare Hillary Clinton ineligible to serve as Secretary of State. The Judicial Watch lawsuit, filed on behalf of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and State Department employee David C. Rodearmel, maintains that the "emoluments clause" of the U.S. Constitution prohibits Mrs. Clinton from serving as Secretary of State until January 2013, and that Mr. Rodearmel cannot be forced to serve under the former U.S. 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 Constitution of the United States (Rodearmel v. Clinton, et al., (D. District of Columbia)).
Government lawyers had previously filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss, as well as a "cross motion for summary judgment."
According to Article I, Section 6 of the U.S. 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 encreased during such time." The text of the provision is an absolute prohibition and does not allow for any exceptions. However, as noted in the motion, "the ‘compensation and other emoluments’ of the office of the U.S. Secretary of State increased during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure in the U.S. Senate, including as many as three times during the second, six-year term to which she was elected."
Congress attempted to circumvent this constitutional provision by "rolling back" compensation for the position of Secretary of State to the level in effect on January 1, 2007, when Mrs. Clinton’s second term in the Senate began. The motion maintains: "This [fix] does not and cannot change the historical fact that the ‘compensation and other emoluments’ of the office of the U.S. Secretary of State increased during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure in the U.S. Senate." Judicial Watch also notes that throughout the nation’s history, "the Ineligibility Clause was readily understood and applied consistent with its plain language." Only relatively recently have government officials attempted to get around this constitutional provision through legislative quick fixes.
"Congress must not be allowed to do an end run around the U.S. Constitution," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Hillary Clinton is ineligible to serve as Secretary of State until 2013. The Constitution is crystal clear on this point. We hope the court puts a stop to this naked attempt to circumvent the Constitution in the name of political expediency."