Senate Not Office of Trust
Eugene Volokh‘s readers wonder whether Senator Teddy Kennedy needs permission from Congress to accept a knighthood from England pursuant to article I, § 9 of the Constitution’s pronouncement that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], 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.” While conceding he’s no expert, he thinks not.
- Article II, § 1 provides that “no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” This strongly suggests that “Senator or Representative” and “Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit” are two different things.
- Article I, § 6, provides that “no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.” This likewise suggests that “Office under the United States” doesn’t include membership in Congress.
- There’s 1790s Senate precedent for the proposition that a Senator is not a “Civil Officer of the United States” for purpose of impeachment, though the question is not free of controversy.
So, there you have it: Even the Framers didn’t trust Congress.
Photo by Flickr user Dunechaser, used under Creative Commons license.