(CNSNews.com) – 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.
The question of eligibility arises from Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution. It says that no member of Congress can be appointed to a civil office that benefited from a salary increase during the time that House or Senate member served. On Jan. 4, 2008, President Bush signed an executive order raising the salaries of cabinet secretaries from $186,600 to $191,300, a cost of living adjustment.
Byrd’s spokeswoman Jenny Thalheimer told CNSNews.com that the senator is not prepared to comment on the matter, but she said the staff is “doing research” on the matter and asserted that the constitutional clause potentially rendering Clinton ineligible “is not that obscure.”
Byrd is no stranger to this controversy.
Back in 1973, when Richard Nixon appointment William Saxbe — of the Saxbe fix — to be Attorney General, Byrd said the following:
In the Saxbe case, 10 senators, all Democrats, voted against the ploy on constitutional grounds. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), the only one of them who remains in the Senate, said at the time that the Constitution was explicit and “we should not delude the American people into thinking a way can be found around the constitutional obstacle.”
It probably won’t go anywhere, but the Senate’s senior Democrat standing up on this issue would certainly get a lot of press.
H/T: Don Surber