Madam Secretary

Judicial Watch back on the attack

Judicial Watch back on the attack

Judicial Watch, perhaps best known for its judicial harassment of the Clintons in the 90s, is at it again. Today, officially on behalf of Foreign Service Officer David C. Rodearmel, the organization filed a lawsuit claiming that Hillary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as Secretary of State — as they telegraphed last month that they would.

The basis of the lawsuit is that, in effect, any senator who was serving when a Cabinet secretary position received a raise (as the secretary of state did in January 2008) cannot then assume that position.

Under the "Emoluments" or "Ineligibility" clause of the U.S. Constitution, no member of Congress can be appointed to a civilian position within the U.S. government if the "emoluments" of the position, such as the salary or benefits paid to whoever occupies the office, increased during the term for which the Senator or Representative was elected.

In order to get around this, as presidents have done since the days of William Howard Taft, Congress decreased the salary of the secretary of state by $4700 in mid-December — to the salary Rice was making when Clinton started her second Senate term. Judicial Watch argues that even though Clinton won’t benefit from the pay raise Rice received, she nonetheless was there when it happened and thus is technically ineligible.

They furthermore argue that forcing Rodearmel to serve under her would be forcing him to break his Foreign Service oath, by which he promised to uphold the Constitution. Apparently, some habits die hard, and suing the Clintons is one of them.