Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Constitution’

‘Foreign Emoluments’? Look Here.

May 3, 2019

'Foreign Emoluments'? Look Here.

“The U.S. State Department allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress, according to documents and people familiar with the leases, a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause.”

— “Foreign government leases at Trump World Tower stir more emoluments concerns,” Julia Harte, Reuters

Trump World Tower, built in 2001 and financed by Deutsche Bank, is located at 845 United Nations Plaza and has been the New York residence of several UN diplomats, so it’s not surprising that the governments of Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand and the European Union would rent condominiums there. The problem: those leases were signed in 2017, while Donald Trump was President, and those agreements required the prior approval of Congress.

Who says? The U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8:

“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.”

What did “emolument” mean to the Founders? “Profit,” “advantage,” “gain,” or “benefit.” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan agrees.

Related:

“The Definition of ‘Emolument’ in English Language and Legal Dictionaries, 1523-1806,” John Mikhail, SSRN

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Trump Defines Treason

February 6, 2018

Trump Defines Treason

President Trump re-defined Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution on Monday, during a speech in Blue Ash, Ohio. He accused congressional Democrats of treason for not applauding enough during last week’s State of the Union Address.

“You’re up there, you’ve got half the room going totally crazy wild, they loved everything, they want to do something great for our country. And you have the other side even on positive news, really positive news, they were like death and un-American, un-American. Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? [They] certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”

 

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Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban

May 21, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Judge John E. Jones III of Federal District Court declared Pennsylvania’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional yesterday. Marriage equality is now legal in 19 states.

 More:

“Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania’s Gay-Marriage Ban,” Erik Eckholm, New York Times

“Pennsylvania gay marriage ban overturned by judge,” AP via Politico

“Federal judge overturns Pennsylvania same-sex marriage ban,” Niraj Chokshi and Reid Wilson, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Banning the Constitution on Constitution Day

September 20, 2013

Banning the Constitution on Constitution Day

“Modesto Junior College security stopped a student from passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution in front of the east campus student center Tuesday, which was Constitution Day.

Robert Van Tuinen, 25, captured his furious but civil confrontation with the officer and campus administration on video and posted it Thursday on YouTube.

National attention garnered by the video prompted the Yosemite Community College District to issue a statement saying it was looking into the matter.”

–“MJC halt of Constitution handout lands on YouTube,” Nan Austin, Modesto Bee

(Video after the jump)

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Mississippi Abolishes Slavery. In 2013. WHAT?

February 21, 2013

Mississippi Abolishes Slavery. In 2013. WHAT?

On February 7, 2013, the state of Mississippi officially ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery. Of course the Constitutional amendment was adopted 148 years ago, on December 6, 1865, after ratification by 27 other states, but the Mississippi legislature, miffed that Magnolia State slave owners weren’t compensated for their loss of human property, voted against it.

Actually, Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995 but never notified the Federal government, so the act wasn’t official. This oversight was discovered by Dr. Ranjan Batra, professor of Neurobiology and Anatomical Sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, after he saw the movie Lincoln and searched the Internet. Dr Batra told his Ole Miss colleague Ken Sullivan, and he informed Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who sent a copy of the 1995 state resolution to Washington, and when it was received by the Office of the Federal Register on February 7th, ratification became official.

So henceforth neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States — even in Mississippi.

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Dan Snyder, Free Speech Crusader

February 11, 2011

Dan Snyder, Free Speech Crusader

Daniel Snyder, billionaire owner of Washington’s losing NFL team, is a staunch champion of free speech, when he’s the one talking. Sure, he’s suing an alternative paper for a scathing article about him and tried to ban football fans from bringing signs to games. but ten years ago he defended his right to verbally skewer a pair of groundskeepers.

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Anchor Babies. Again.

January 10, 2011

 Anchor Babies. Again.

The Great GOP Constitution Love-In is over. Really over. After a marathon reading of an abridged U.S. Constitution on the House floor, Republicans are ready to ignore the document, planning an end-run around the 14th Amendment. In case you missed the Read-In, that’s the one that starts like this:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

Fearing fictional legions of pregnant aliens sneaking into the U.S. of A., giving birth, and using their offspring’s status to stay in the States, Republicans will try to deny U.S. citizenship to children born on American soil to out-of-status immigrants, as if this civil infraction by the parents was passed on to infants like a horrible birth defect.

Presumably this hereditary trait of non-citizenship would be passed on though succeeding generations, throughout eternity. That certainly was the case with formerly-enslaved Americans of African descent and the reason the 14th Amendment was needed in the first place.

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GOP Reads Constitution, Promptly Violates It

January 7, 2011

GOP Reads Constitution, Promptly Violates It

On their first day as a majority party, Republican congressmen read the United States Constitution out loud, mostly to give the impression that they understand it.  That symbolic pretense was seriously undermined by Representatives Pete Sessions  (R, TX-32) and Mike Fitzpatrick  (R, PA-8). They didn’t bother getting themselves sworn in but voted on the House floor anyway.

Why didn’t Congressmen Sessions and Fitzpatrick get sworn in? They were busy attending a fundraiser. Republicans have their priorities; swearing to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” apparently isn’t one of them. Sessions says he raised his hand and took the oath while watching the swearing-in ceremony on TV.

Who says that congressmen have to be sworn in, anyway? Just Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.

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Christine O’Donnell Amends the Constitution

October 24, 2010

Christine O'Donnell Amends the Constitution

“Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?”
Christine O’Donnell to Chris Coons, Delaware senatorial debate, October 19, 2010.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….”
Amendment I, Constitution of the United States of America

“…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ….”
— United States Senate Oath of Office

Can you swear to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” when you don’t know what’s in it?

“The good news is that the First Amendment also lets O’Donnell make a fool of herself.”
–John Kelso, Austin American-Statesman.

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