Friday, November 14, 2008


Does the Constitution Forbid a Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

The talk is everywhere about Senator Clinton as a possible Secretary of State for our new president. Does the SoS constitute “a civil Office under the authority of the United States”? In other words, is Article I, Section 6 of the Constitution a problem here?

“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; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.” The U.S. Constitution Online

Article II, Section 4 allows for the impeachment (and conviction) of “[t]he President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States”. Cabinet members have long been considered civil officers subject to the impeachment provision. (Ed. Note: The only Cabinet member to have been impeached was Secretary of War William Belknap and he was later acquitted by the Senate.)

And it looks like the “Emoluments” for the position have increased since Senator Clinton was re-elected in 2006. Here’s the Executive Schedule – Level I pay rates for the last few years:

2006: $183,500
2007: $186,600
2008: $191,300

But I’ve never taught Con Law at Chicago so if there is any constitutional wizard out there that can add more to this, I’d appreciate it.

UPDATE: The usually perceptive Simon over at StubbornFacts has a similar observation.

UPDATE II: Follow the comments to a posting at Althouse where Simon provides even more insight into this matter. I am impressed.

it seems like, if Hillary becomes the Sec. State, then there will be some serious personality and agenda conflict between her and Obama
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