After first threatening the possibility nearly two months ago, the conservative crusaders at Judicial Watch filed suit yesterday against Hillary Clinton, to undo her appointment as secretary of state. The group is claiming that the Constitution’s emoluments clause – which bans any member of Congress from being appointed to a government position if its salary increased during their term in office – makes Clinton ineligible to head up Foggy Bottom. During Clinton’s second term as Senator from New York, the Secretary of State’s salary jumped up to $191,300, up from $186,600.
Before she was confirmed, Congress passed what it commonly calls the “Saxbe Fix,” knocking the salary back down to what it was before Clinton started her last go-around in the Senate. But Judicial Watch, which filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, says that doesn’t cut the constitutional mustard.
The change “does not and cannot change the historical fact that the ‘compensation and other emoluments’ of the office of the U.S. Secretary of State increased during Defendant Clinton’s tenure in the U.S. Senate,” the complaint states.
Judicial Watch is suing on behalf of David Rodearmel, a U.S. Foreign Service officer who claims he would not be able to faithfully fulfill his oath to defend the constitution if Hillary Clinton were to remain his boss.
Clinton, of course, has been something of a bete noir for Judicial Watch since the groups early days in 1990s. The organization came to prominence by peppering the Clinton administration with 18 different lawsuits prying into such scandals as “Filegate” and “Chinagate.” While they never actually won any of their cases, the ever-vocal group’s shotgun approach did allow its lawyers to depose nearly every major figure in the White House, save the first lady herself.
The suit is being handled by Judge Reggie Walton. In a high profile decision earlier this month, Walton refused to enjoin Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. from adding “So help me God” to the presidential oath of office, writing that none of the atheist groups who had filed suit could prove sufficient injury.