Is It Constitutional?
For some time, I have been plugged into Representative* Ginny Brown-Waite’s (R FL-05) official website to keep track of her press releases since I live in her district.
I just got an update that just floored me.
Basicly, Ginny Brown-Waite congratulates the President on being chosen to get the Nobel Peace Prize:
I congratulate President Obama on receiving this distinguished honor. This award is a testament to America’s continuing importance as a broker of peace and a promoter of democracy.
With every great honor, however, comes great responsibility, not the least of which is the President’s constitutional responsibility to receive the consent of Congress before formally accepting this award.
Article I, Section 9 (or the Emolument Clause) of the Constitution clearly states: “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
I urge President Obama to affirm his devotion to our Constitution and seek the consent of Congress before accepting the award in Oslo, Norway on December 10.
Most, if not everyone knows that this was included to prevent foreign states from influencing US office holders through gifts or titles. However I have to wonder if the Nobel Peace Prize falls into the Emolument Clause. People who win are known as a Laureate, thus a title is being given to President Obama. Our next question is if this title of “Laureate” is given by a King, Prince, or Foreign State? In order to answer that question, lets look at how the prize is awarded:
“The Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, currently Thorbjørn Jagland, presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway on December 10 each year. ”
Umm, it says “in the presence” of the King of Normay and not on his behalf. Thorbjørn Jagland is just a politician of no nobility and currently holds no public elected office. What about the Norwegian Nobel Committee?
“Its five members are appointed by the Norwegian Parliament and roughly represent the political makeup of that body.”
I am going to say that the Norwegian Nobel Committee is indeed a political motivated committee, since they do indeed answer to a political body and thus part of a foreign state. So I think Ginny Brown-Waite has correctly identify that the title of “Nobel Peace Prize Laureate” does indeed fall into the Emolument Clause of the US Constitution. President Obama would do well to go to congress and get their ok.
I mean, he does not have both houses in his pocket and he shouldn’t have a problem getting this done by December 10th… Right?
UPDATE: According to Fox News, Representative Cliff Stearns (R FL-06) and Representative Ron Paul (R TX-14) join the call for President Obama to seek Congressal approval for this award.
*No, I am not doing the Congressman or Congresswoman. They are Representatives or Senators, thank you very much.