The US Constitution may obstruct Hillary Clinton's confirmation as Obama's top diplomat

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Washington, Dec.4 : The biggest obstacle facing Hillary Clinton's Senate confirmation as the next Secretary of State may not be husband Bill's wheeling and dealing abroad for his foundation, but the U.S. Constitution.

According to an emolument clause in the Constitution, no lawmaker can be appointed to any civil position that was created or received a wage increase during the lawmaker's time in office.

President Bush ordered Cabinet salaries raised to 191,300 dollars from 186, 600 dollars by executive order early this year, while Clinton was senator.

"My understanding is that does prohibit her unless they can find some way around it and I gather that they have in the past," former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger told FOX News.

"This isn't the first time this has come up," he said, referring to appointees of other presidents.

"Maybe she has to renounce the salary increase but I'm sure they'll find a way around it," he added.

Some constitutional lawyers don't foresee the provision derailing Clinton's nomination.

"I don't believe it presents a serious issue because the legislative fix which has been done in the past is perfectly constitutional," said Adam Bonin, an attorney at the Philadelphia law firm of Cozen O'Connor.

The legislation that Bonin referred to is the "Saxbe fix" that allowed President Richard Nixon to name Ohio Senator William Saxbe his Attorney General.

The most recent case involved Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, who was nominated to be President-elect Bill Clinton's treasury secretary in 1993. To avoid conflict, Congress passed legislation lowering the salary of that position to its 1989 level.

Bonin believes Congress should pass similar legislation for Clinton.

Daniel Dreisdach, a professor of law at American University, said it would be difficult for anyone to use the provision to challenge Clinton's confirmation.

ANI

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