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Gingersnap
10-16-2009, 11:59 AM
An Unconstitutional Nobel

By Ronald D. Rotunda and J. Peter Pham
Friday, October 16, 2009

People can, and undoubtedly will, argue for some time about whether President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, though, there's a simpler and more immediate question: Does the Constitution allow him to accept the award?

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: "And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."

The award of the peace prize to a sitting president is not unprecedented. But Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the honor for their past actions: Roosevelt's efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War, and Wilson's work in establishing the League of Nations. Obama's award is different. It is intended to affect future action. As a member of the Nobel Committee explained, the prize should encourage Obama to meet his goal of nuclear disarmament. It raises important legal questions for the second time in less than 10 months -- questions not discussed, much less adequately addressed anywhere else.

The five-member Nobel commission is elected by the Storting, the parliament of Norway. Thus the award of the peace prize is made by a body representing the legislature of a sovereign foreign state. There is no doubt that the Nobel Peace Prize is an "emolument" ("gain from employment or position," according to Webster).

An opinion of the U.S. attorney general advised, in 1902, that "a simple remembrance," even "if merely a photograph, falls under the inclusion of 'any present of any kind whatever.' " President Clinton's Office of Legal Counsel, in 1993, reaffirmed the 1902 opinion, and explained that the text of the clause does not limit "its application solely to foreign governments acting as sovereigns." This opinion went on to say that the emolument clause applies even when the foreign government acts through instrumentalities. Thus the Nobel Prize is an emolument, and a foreign one to boot.

Second, the president has indicated that he will give the prize money to charity, but that does not solve his legal problem. Giving that $1.4 million to a charity could give him a deduction that would reduce his income taxes by $500,000 -- not a nominal amount. Moreover, the money is not his to give away. It belongs to the United States: A federal statute provides that if the president accepts a "tangible or intangible present" for more than a minimal value from any foreign government, the gift "shall become the property of the United States."

This is at least the second time that Obama has run afoul of the emolument clause. On June 3, 2009, the day before he gave his speech in Cairo on relations with the Muslim world, he accepted (and even donned) the bejeweled Collar of the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, Saudi Arabia's highest honor, from the hands of King Abdullah. (President Bush was awarded the Order in January last year.)

Aside from whether a president shows questionable judgment in accepting any preferment from the House of Saud named for its anti-Semitic modern founder, there is another issue: The Collar is clearly a chivalric "order" of the Saudi monarchy conferring a rank in that system of titled royalty and nobility. It is not a mere decoration or campaign ribbon. There does not seem to be any record of congressional permission asked for, much less granted, for the president to accept this bauble. Washington, Madison and Hamilton would have clearly understood that the Abdul Aziz Order falls under the same ban they had in mind for any public officials coveting awards made under the honors system of the British monarchy.

Oops!

WaPo (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/15/AR2009101502277.html?hpid=opinionsbox1)

djones520
10-16-2009, 12:05 PM
I missed the part where he Nobel Committee is a King, Prince, or Foreign State.

KCornett
10-16-2009, 12:08 PM
I missed the part where he Nobel Committee is a King, Prince, or Foreign State.


Here...


The five-member Nobel commission is elected by the Storting, the parliament of Norway. Thus the award of the peace prize is made by a body representing the legislature of a sovereign foreign state.

noonwitch
10-16-2009, 01:18 PM
If he gives the money to an american charity that will benefit americans first, most people will be satisfied. I suggest something that is totally not partisan, like St. Jude's Hospital.

It's not like he nominated himself for the award, or voted for himself to get it. I don't think he really did anything to deserve the prize (yet), but it was funny to watch heads explode on FNC over it.

Del Rio Roy
10-16-2009, 01:34 PM
Our POTUS and his speech writers need to brush up on U.S. Constitutional Law.

The framers of our Constitution and following Supreme Court interpreters placed guidelines within the Constitution to protect us from undue influence from foreign concerns--particularly including matters such as this.

Past Presidents who received the same honor from Norway's tentacles were honored for past accomplishments.

Not so in this case!!! I believe it is clearly an attempt by the appeasers of Norway to create 'some influence' upon the future actions of our POTUS to put us into a further state of military weakness. History tends to repeat itself--check our history for the years leading up to 1941.

In addition--the 1.4 million dollars is not something the POTUS can decide what charity it is to be destined for. According to the U.S. Constitution, because this happened during his office of presidency, the 1.4 million dollars becomes the property of the U.S. Government {Sorry acorn or Planned Parenthood}.

linda22003
10-16-2009, 01:35 PM
In addition--the 1.4 million dollars is not something the POTUS can decide what charity it goes to. The 1.4 million dollars becomes the property of the U.S. Government according to the U.S. Constitution {sorry Acorn or Planned Parenthood}.

Cool. Then he can help pay for his own stimulus programs. :cool:

GrumpyOldLady
10-16-2009, 02:09 PM
If he gives the money to an american charity ....

He has said notihng about doing this.
I'm sure Michelle would have a hissy fit.
She really loooooves those expensive french designer sneakers ya' know.

linda22003
10-16-2009, 02:14 PM
He has said notihng about doing this.
I'm sure Michelle would have a hissy fit.
She really loooooves those expensive french designer sneakers ya' know.

The White House has said it for him.

"Money to Charity

White House spokesman Bill Burton said Obama will donate the 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million) in prize money to charity. "


http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a13s9NAh4D2w

Del Rio Roy
10-16-2009, 03:31 PM
It doesn't matter what the White House said as to what happens to the prize money. It simply is not their decision. Anything received as a gift or 'prize' by a while in office president--whether it's merely a simple photograph or 1.4 million dollars belongs to the U.S. Government {unless by consent of Congress}. If this happened after our POTUS was no longer president--that would be different. Then Michelle would have a say in the matter.

Speedy
10-16-2009, 04:16 PM
If he gives the money to an american charity...

I hear ACORN is short of money.

fettpett
10-16-2009, 05:51 PM
Roosevelt got his while in office IRC, have too look into it, but what he did with the money is the presadent

hazlnut
10-16-2009, 05:55 PM
Oops!

WaPo (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/15/AR2009101502277.html?hpid=opinionsbox1)

Great, now the birthers can sue the charities Obama donates the prize money to.

Go Far Right!!
:rolleyes:

FlaGator
10-16-2009, 06:02 PM
Roosevelt got his while in office IRC, have too look into it, but what he did with the money is the presadent
It was argued that he won the award for something he did before he became President and wasn't subject to the law.

PoliCon
10-16-2009, 08:09 PM
And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."It won't be hard for the ONE to get Congress to rubber stamp his award. :rolleyes:

fettpett
10-17-2009, 08:09 PM
It was argued that he won the award for something he did before he became President and wasn't subject to the law.

how is that? he won the award for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese war in 1906 for his actions in 1905 and he didn't leave office till 1909, the award is legit for Obama to receive, he just shouldn't have based on the fact that he didn't do anything

Also Wilson received the award while he was sitting in office at the end of WW1 for his part in the Treaty of Versailles. (which one could argue in 20/20 hindsight he shouldn't have as it lead to WW2)

as much as i agree with the sentiment of the writers of the article they are very blatantly partisan and wrong when it comes to history and a little searching on google or wiki would have shown them the truth. Unfortuntaly this is the kinda crap that the left loves to eat up, historically and factually wrong. (but so do we on the right, they just yell louder)