We reported earlier (12/04/08) that Hillary Clinton’s nomination as Secretary of State was in jeopardy for constitutional reasons:
There is a long history of controversy and litigation regarding the provision in the U.S. Constitution prohibiting members of Congress from subsequently attaining to federal offices offering increased monetary compensation due to the largess of the Congress in which they sat. The most recent example is that of Hillary Clinton who has been nominated to the office of Secretary of State. In Clinton’s case the salary for the position was increased, not by Congress, but via an executive order by President Bush as a COL increase.
In any event the Constitutional provision comes in to play: (CNS reports)…the Senate’s senior member and staunchest constitutional advocate on the Democratic side of the aisle, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, is exploring whether Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) is eligible to become secretary of state in the Obama administration. (CNS reporting again)
Since the bill passed both houses of Congress unanimously, we are guessing that Senator Byrd chose to approve this end run around the constitution.Here is James Taranto at WSJ online writing today:
As if she hasn’t already suffered enough indignities at the hands of the unfairer sex, Hillary Clinton will make “about $4,700 less as secretary of state than her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice,” the Associated Press reports:
Congress late Wednesday lowered the salary for the nation’s top diplomat to keep Mrs. Clinton’s nomination from running afoul of the Constitution.An obscure section on compensation for public officials, the Emoluments Clause, says that no member of Congress can be appointed to a government post if that job’s pay was increased during the lawmaker’s current term.In other words, Clinton, D-N.Y., might have been ineligible to serve in the post because she was serving in Congress when Rice’s salary was raised to its current level of $191,300. So late Wednesday, the House and Senate quietly rolled the secretary of state’s salary back to $186,600, its level in January 2007 when Clinton began her second Senate term.So as a result of the emoluments clause–written by dead white males–Mrs. Clinton will be earning less than a man would for the same job. She’ll even be earning less than another woman now makes! (emphasis added)