October 16, 2009

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I realize that there has to be a little more latitude given to op-eds than to straight news reporting, but it seems to me that there has to be a certain level of fact-checking for even editorials for the sake of the credibility of the paper. But then again, maybe WaPo is so deep into their Obama Derangement that they no longer are able to care about credibility.

People can, and undoubtedly will, argue for some time about whether President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, though, there's a simpler and more immediate question: Does the Constitution allow him to accept the award?

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: "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."

The award of the peace prize to a sitting president is not unprecedented. But Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the honor for their past actions: Roosevelt's efforts to end the Russo-Japanese War, and Wilson's work in establishing the League of Nations. Obama's award is different. It is intended to affect future action. As a member of the Nobel Committee explained, the prize should encourage Obama to meet his goal of nuclear disarmament. It raises important legal questions for the second time in less than 10 months -- questions not discussed, much less adequately addressed anywhere else.

Like how the authors gloss over that two other sitting Presidents have received the Nobel Peace Prize, pretty much obliterating their theory on the constitutionality of awarding such a prize? Boneheads, they blow their own argument out of the water. Their choice of laureate: Iranian election martyr Neda Agha-Soltan, which of course, violates the Oslo committee's rules on bestowing the award to a living person. But hey, if you're going to employ poor syllogism to explain why Obama doesn't deserve it, why worry about things like rules?

Adam Blickstein points out a problem with their thinking:

One problem: the hero of the first Gulf War, Gen. Normon Schwarzkopf, received an honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth (which technically makes him a "Knight of the British Empire") in May of 1991 while still on active duty. According to Rotunda and Pham's argument, this violated all kinds of constitutional constraints, Emolument Clause notwithstanding. He retired at the end of August 1991, meaning the General was clearly a foreign agent for the British Empire for approximately 3 months, because how can you be a Knight and an American General at the same time? Where would his loyalty really be? Under this Op-Ed's logic, Schwarzkopf's retirement South should have sent him to the Naval Brig at Charleston, not the golf courses of Florida.

Another government luminary who should have fallen victim to the Emolument Clause as the authors of the Op-Ed envision it? Alan Greenspan, who received his Honorary British Knighthood in 2002 while still serving as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. How could President George Bush sit there idly as the Chairman overseeing America's treasury was more a servant of Britain's Queen Elizabeth than the Commander-in-Chief of the United States? I'm shocked that the entirety of America's money supply didn't end up alongside the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. But apparently, there was concern in Conservative circles over the legality of Greenspan's ascension in the British Empire. According to Newsmax, the Federal Reserve's General Counsel cleared Greenspan under the Emolument Clause[..].

Even Conservatives acquiesced that a Knighthood was not in violation of the Emolument Clause. I assume the same logic applies to a Nobel Prize.

Is it possible for Conservatives to offer even one well-reasoned argument? Or is it too difficult because, as Colbert says, facts have a liberal bias? Shame on WaPo's editorial board for being so eager to feed their Obama haters. (h/t Ambinder)

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