Is Obama’s Acceptance of the Nobel Constitutional?

(Sorry, I’m a little late on this, because, well, I’ve been a bit busy lately with life and it’s curveballs.)

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Tell me, Mr. President, Mr. Constitutional Scholar, Sir, is there a precedent on a sitting president’s acceptance of awards from foreign interests?

J.P. Feire of the Washington Examiner thinks so…

It looks like the Times editorial page is endorsing the very definition of foreign meddling in domestic affairs. Foreigners validating and then rewarding certain approaches while repudiating others is not appropriate, regardless of whether it’s coming from six nations or six Norwegians.

So what is the propriety of a sitting wartime president accepting an award from a foreign committee that is merely an expression of repudiation for the behavior of his predecessor? It is especially concerning because undoubtedly, Obama’s partisans will use the credential to grant him greater legitimacy in foreign policy among his own people.

That’s an open question. But our democratic system already provides an outlet for such a repudiation, and it is the only kind that matters because it is the will of the American people. All others should be given the Giuliani treatment: Thanks, but no thanks.

This strikes at the heart of what I posted on Friday. The purpose of the discussion of the emoluments clause was to look at the constitutionality of Obama’s acceptance of the prize. Even Teddy Roosevelt made it clear there was a discomfort with the legitimating power of the Nobel committee; Roosevelt refused to accept the prize until his term was up, and even then, he jumped through hoops to work with Congress to determine the use of the prize money.

Indeed, taking out your handy little pocket Constitution from The Heritage Foundation (get your free copy here), we read in Article I, Section 9,

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: 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.”

Eugene, founder of the Volokh Conspiracy and a real lawyer (he doesn’t just play one on TV) muddies the waters further, like any good lawyer will do. Just read it as a whole – it’s difficult to excerpt without losing the intent of the entire argument. He poses some excellent questions.

Of course, we all know that Obama immediately accepted the award, gushing with false humility. His ego wouldn’t have allowed otherwise, regardless of any question of constitutionality, propriety, or just good-ol’-American-common-sense. Did the Nobel committee have a vision of future and thus hastened the prize, while they still could?

…this is a preemptive prize, because the Committee looked ahead to the insane nuclear winter and global Muslim/non-Muslim war Obama’s fecklessness is bringing into being and they knew: he makes a desert, and calls it peace. Since the Committee can confidently expect that, once Obama does what he does best, there will be no more prizes, now was the time for a preemptive award.

One unanticipated accomplishment was the uniting of the blogosphere altogether. To date, never has the world heard such a collective cyber-“huh?!?” Making history, anyway he can.

While Obama is Obama’s favorite subject, it is too bad he won’t talk about other things…you know things that effect our nation, our security, our sovereignty, our economy, our future. Why attack a network or a radio personality when he should be looking at rogue nations that are planning to attack US. Here. Soon. That is so unpresidential. He could stop so much with just a word, or a caution. But he chooses not to, and therein is the rub. He quietly stokes the destruction.

“Prove that you did not do what I said you did,” is not journalism. It is, frankly, the tactic of the schoolyard bully and the fascist. They are often one and the same. And they’ve learned that once a headline is “out there” retractions and corrections don’t much matter, to the narrative.

Camille Paglia (Salon) notes that Obama’s trusted circle of advisors are, well, shall we say small-minded?

Obama is approaching a turning point which will define his political future, if he has one. He is surrounded by some mighty small potatoes who need shoveling into the dumpster. The petty provincials need to go, and far more sophisticated and world-savvy analysts must urgently be brought on board.

and that the Nobel timing is just awful for him, personally:

It’s true he has accomplished nothing thus far and did not remotely deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, a gift carrying a terrible curse. The Nobel should have been the crown of Obama’s career and not the butt of jokes.

But the Office is not supposed to be about the Man, is it? Has anyone told Obama that yet?

Pull out that handy little pocket Constitution again and look at Article II, Section 1, that last paragraph.

“Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: – ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”

That last part isn’t working out so well, either.

Cross-posted at RedState and Atlanta Politics Online.

UPDATE: Rotunda & Pham at the Washington Post agree with me.

1 Comment

  1. October 18, 2009 at 2:49 am

    […] they either simply refer to it in passing in a sort of Hmm that’s interesting kinda way, or briefly cite it in the course of a rant, without stopping to mention that it’s a self-serving heap of crap. I admit at the outset […]


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