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  • Does Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Violate the Constitution?

    Does Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance violate the Constitution?

    Interesting question. Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution says that:

    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.

    An emolument is a prize arising from office or employment, usually in the form of compensation or perquisites. By everyone’s admission, President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing already accomplished but only because he showed potential as the new President of the United States. The awardee receives a framed diploma, a nifty medal and a document confirming the prize amount – now $1.4 million.

    On top of that, the Prize is given by a five-member commission chosen by the parliament of Norway, the legislative body of a foreign state. Even if that state is not acting in its official capacity, as Ronald Rotunda and Peter Pham pointed out in their column on this issue in The Washington Post, the emoluments ban still applies (a point confirmed by President Clinton’s Office of Legal Counsel in 1993).

    The original purpose of the emoluments clause was to prevent undue foreign meddling in our affairs—as pointed out in our own The Heritage Guide to the Constitution by Robert Delahunty:

    “Wary, however, of the possibility that such gestures might unduly influence American officials in their dealings with foreign states, the Framers institutionalized the practice of requiring the consent of Congress before one could accept “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from … [a] foreign State.”

    This seems to me to be a pretty clear case in which the award, an emolument, should have been consented to by Congress.

    But let’s follow the money for a moment.

    According to the U.S. Code [Title 5, Part III, Subpart F, Chapter 73, Subchapter IV, Section 7342], on the Receipt and disposition of foreign gifts and decorations], if Congress did not consent to the acceptance of the gift, “the decoration is deemed to have been accepted on behalf of the United States, shall become the property of the United States, and shall be deposited by the employee, within sixty days of acceptance, with the employing agency for official use.”

    This means that the financial award—and anything else worth more than a minimal gift amount—does not belong to President Obama, but is the property of the United States, to be appropriately disposed of by the administrator of General Services (according to the same code).

    Theodore Roosevelt, conscious of this dilemma, not only waited to receive the prize until after he left the presidency but turned over the money to a committee, including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce and Labor, to be used for the basis of an appropriate foundation in the United States. (Hat tip: J.P. Freire at the Washington Examiner.)

    So, Mr. President, don’t spend that money just yet! You’ve got sixty days to get it to the rightful owners, namely, us. Should we pay down the debt? A tax cut? Maybe just use it to cover the cost of the trip.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    62 Responses to Does Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Violate the Constitution?

    1. Dan says:

      Oh for goodness sake, this is just petty.

    2. Bobbie Jay says:

      Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance violates human decency.

    3. Edward Hake, Cincinn says:

      Does Barack Obama have the class to admit that this prize and money should go to his fellow citizens? I venture to say no.

    4. poppyal, Veedersburg says:

      So, why doesn't somebody begin the necessary steps to stop this? If it is not legal, who do we need to contact to put a stop to it?

    5. dennis, round rock, says:

      I fully expect that this Marxist President will spit in the eye of Americans and thumb his nose at the law and do anything he wants. And the Government Controlled Media will not report. In my opinion.

    6. RD Johnson, Shawnee says:

      Considering the obvious disrespect and hatred this…"man" has for the U.S.Constitution, do you actually believe that he even knows about this obscure rule. If he does, he is betting that Americans either don't know or no longer care.

      We all still act and argue as if we live in a representative republic, with a Constitution that that guides and restricts the government. Obama and the Democrat congress have usurped so much Constitutional power that this is now a dictatorship ruled by the most evil of our species!!!

    7. Tim, Virginia Beach says:

      A wide questioning requiring burden of proof through the Constitution would be costly and looked down upon by most. Simple Standards of Conduct for persons in government service would suffice. Obama is in government service, right? Or, is he in personal service?

    8. Charles, The Republi says:

      Since when does obama follow or care about the Constitution. He only studied it to circumvent it & destroy it. Constitutional law does not matter to Alinsky radicals, just ask pelosi.

    9. David, Sierra Vista says:

      So, from the remarks I have seen so far I now have to ask — how many others think the CONSTITUTION is "petty" and can be ignored simply because the President has "special priveleges accorded to him by virtue of … what exactly …. race, inexperience, duplicity?

    10. Todd, MN says:

      This is not petty! It is the continued abuse of our Constitution by this administration! When will it stop?

    11. Reba Swan, The Lone says:

      It has always been my understanding that any gifts to a President or the cabinet by foreign entities were considered gifts to the country and were to be treated as such. Why should this president have any other consideration? Time to remind Obama he is a president, not a King.

    12. Tom /Georgia says:

      poppyal, Veedersburg, IN writes:

      So, why doesn’t somebody begin the necessary steps to stop this? If it is not legal, who do we need to contact to put a stop to it?

      Well, you could try contacting your Representative or your state's senators. Then you have to assume that they aren't just as much "on the take" as the rest of Washington.

      I agree with the person who commented that this is just petty. Unfortunately, it is also emblematic of what our democratically elected federal government has become: Petty, inept, incompetent, untrustworthy people whose decisions that result from their silly damned intramural fantasy league political games have profound consequences for us and our country.

    13. DiAnne, Minneapolis says:

      Why would he, muchless Congress, start acknowledging the Constitution now? Perhaps, in your world, this is petty,Dan, but it is in the Constitution. You know the document men and women have fought and died for?

    14. Rita Lawrence, KC says:

      Another fleecing maneauver by the President.

    15. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      Yes it is unconstitutional for a sitting President to accept this, It was stated during previous administrations (Clinton) gifts belong to the American people, this includes money, this MUST be surrendered to the Treasury and could be used to shore up the debt that we have to the SS Fund. Do I expect this Congress to uphold this, NO I DON"T, they are as corrupt as he is, only lining their own pockets at the cost of the working public.

    16. Leopold Rosas says:

      Where is the IRS when you need them? Obama should have to pay to the max, and it should be directly deducted from any payment the anointed one should receive, even if it goes to charity. That is what would happen to me and should happen to BHO.

    17. Twister says:

      To Dan:

      So you think the Constitution is petty? You must be a democrat.

    18. dflowers, Ann Arbor says:

      The emolument was NOT given by a King, Prince, or Foreign State!! So what's the issue??

    19. Chris Yoder says:

      As a retired Federal employee, I am well aware of the rules regarding acceptance of gifts. It took a while for someone to mention this, but I'm glad to see the issue is not being ignored….except perhaps by the White House and the Congress. Same rules apply to Pres. Obama, as they did to me.

    20. Crystal, Shenandoah says:

      Have you ever heard a parent watch their child's bad behavior throw up their hands in helplessness and say, "I would have NEVER acted like that when I was little!" You would not have acted like that because your parents would have done something about it. Welllllll, we are now the parents! Let's do something about it.

      Together we are not helpless! But I don't have a clue how to start. Should we do a petition? Should we write to Congress? Let's roll!

    21. Blue Dog - Macomb says:

      Dear Dan, With all due respect, sir, the framers of the constitution didn't seem to consider it "petty." T.R. didn't consider it petty judging by his actions as mentioned in this article. Even Mr. Clinton took a step back! 1.4 million, petty! If Mr. Obama respected our constitution, if Mr. Obama had any integrity he would have declined the "honor." Petty, indeed!

    22. John, NYC says:

      Agree that this is just too petty.

      Award is nuts but let it go!

    23. Tom, New Jersey says:

      So Dan thinks the constitution is petty, and I am sure the president agrees. How many times will this con-artist get a pass? He has never been held to account for his past in both words and deeds. He gives great speeches that are eloquent yet mean nothing. So far, he has done everything "he can" that would lead to the destruction of our economic system and dismantle the constitution. Wake up America. "Yes we can" is really Yes we con.

    24. hd, Connecticut USA says:


      The last part of the preamble sums it up.



      this Constitution


      the United States of America."

      The nobel prize probably would not have been offered to Mr. Barak Obama, it was his office as it is established under the USA Constitution that was the object for suggestion, PEACE.

      If we are to be a NATION the USA, then we ought to uphold the basis that founds and establishes us as a Nation.

      What is next what unconstitutional manipulation will be tolerated next.

      People holding office under the public trust and established by and for a national population ought to wait until after they have retired, quit, or are fired to receive


      Though I agree with the concept of Peace.

    25. Rob Baker, Park City says:

      Of course, Congress would happily hand it over to Obama. But we know Obama, the Constitutional law lecturer, does not defer to the Constitution, as it is an impediment to his mission.

    26. AWM- Indiana says:

      Dan, how dare you define any violation of the US Constitution as "petty"! Even in those instances where we find we must hold our nose, due to philosophical difference, or personal dislike: we must ensure that this document is preserved and enforced. And that includes the portions that do not rank highly on your own personal scale of importance!

    27. Pingback: If Pelosi is for it; it can’t be good; Senate ploy: backdoor to activate Public Option; Congressional Purple Haze, thanks to SEIU « VotingFemale Speaks!

    28. Conservatives United says:

      Dan writes:

      Oh for goodness sake, this is just petty.

      Petty Dan?????

      Is following the Constitution Petty??

      This is why this nation is in the mess we have. THE CONSTITUTION HAS BEEN RAPED BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT.

    29. Keith, Little Rock,A says:

      Ther is no doubt tha Obama does not deserve this award!! The problem lies in the fact that "we the people" don't have anyone with a backbone in congress or senate to stand up to these radicals!! When are the conservatives going to band together to halt this administrative train wreck? It is clear that they are out to destroy our democracy!

    30. Mike in Missouri says:

      I concur — this is just another of many violations. Whether ethical or constitutional in nature, they just keep coming. Just more evidence this administration — and their lapdogs in Congress — have no respect for the framework that is SUPPOSED to be governing this once great nation.

    31. Leslie, Michigan says:

      So Dan, who says this is "petty": Are you saying our Constitution is petty, too? This whole thing is ridiculous and Congress should for once do it's job and put a stop to this insanity.

    32. Roni Freels, North C says:

      Petty? Hardly!!! People who consider this petty are the very people who allow this Marxist want-to-be President to destroy our country. If this is petty in your opinion, then everything else he does contary to the Constition you will also consider petty. My hopes are that there are not to many more like you. When a President goes against the Constition he is going against the people. This President has in my opinion set out to destroy the country and the people therein. He should be impeached for his erratic behavior.

    33. Ross writes from Bra says:

      So…where are the law suits?

      This is the first time I've really taken a real notice of why Teddy R deferring until after left the presidency to accept the Nobel Peace Prize without violate the constitution.

      This is obvious ignorances on my part, but isn't the president suppose to have an army of constitutional lawyers to protect him from such violations…or is B.Hussein Obama's credentials as a UofChicago Constitutional law professor being demonstrating as to his knowledge of constitutional or…has he proclaimed himself king(and we haven't heard yet) and now above the law of the land?

      Again, where are the law suits?

    34. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      According to the POTUS we are a nation of laws (unless of course it has something to do with him then they don't apply). This seems to be the pattern for his administration.

    35. NANCY PA says:


    36. Gordon - Texas says:

      Petty? No. Illegal. Against the law. Criminal!

      dflowers: Norway is a country, a.k.a. a foreign state.

    37. Raine D says:

      3 other American Presidents have won Nobel Peace Prizes. WHY was it not a problem when THEY won? Are you going to denounce them as well? Should we require their estates to denounce the award and refund the prize provided? You sound like a petty extremist I am disappointed that THIS is considered a fair or legitimate article…what a crock!

    38. Geowmck Rockford IL. says:

      This is really petty. What about Pres. Teddy Roosevelt getting the first one for an American when he was president about a 100 years ago?

    39. brian says:

      Would u care about this if Bush or Reagan got it? Obviously not. Obama will follow all the laws and regulations that come with a gift such as this, it would be political suicide not to. Why don't you direct your hate somewhere more useful.

    40. Moose - Texas says:

      If you think this is a petty problem then you must also think the US Constitution is a petty document.

    41. Buddy in Cookeville, says:

      This president and his administration (and Congress) have seemed to have forgotten the thousands of mem & women in our armed forces who have died over the past 230+ years defending our Constitution and this proud nation. Have our elected just stuck their heads in the sand and forgotten what they were elected to do? Our Constitution is very clear on this subject. I have been through the recession of 1930s, WWII, the Korean War (Police Action), Viet Nam, and of all the other recent conflicts. This Good Ole USA was founded by our "fore fathers" on Christian principles, but all of have allowed the ACLU and all of the Liberals to throw GOD and JESUS from everything most of us hold dearly. I cn not wait til the elections of 2010. Let's all get off our buttoxs and get this country moving again.

    42. Daniel Earley, Utah/ says:

      Rather than the Title of Nobility Clause, I prefer calling it the "Conflict of Interest Clause," which better illuminates its simple intent in terms we all understand in government and business. That is, no external expectation should be allowed to potentially tug on a president's loyalty and undermine his need to remain a wholly independent head of state.

      Given the Nobel Committee's plain admission that their intent was to strategically reward the anticipated outcomes of his presidency . . . I have nothing left to add.

    43. Rob McLemore Oklah says:

      Unbelievable! You should be proud that an American president was awarded the prize. Not only petty, but your position is absurd. Think about the intent of the clause. Do you think that the committee is a head of a foreign government? If there was a prize for being stupid you would win it hands down. Makes me wonder if I should really be a republican.

    44. Stephen, San Antonio says:

      Brian, why do you call supporting and defending the Constitution "hate"?

      If failure to follow laws and regulations is "political suicide", then we will see the biggest turnover of Congresspersons ever during the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections.

    45. Lu, Michigan says:

      It's reported that President Obama will not keep the million dollar prize, but will donate the money, Where?…to be announced.

      While I agree that this award to him is premature, I hope it will serve to urge him to a higher standard of behavior than if he had not won the prize.

    46. Linda, Dallas, Pa says:

      In the words of Barack Obama: "No one is above the LAW". That settles that!

    47. SC says:

      Rumor has it Obama is splitting the 1.4 milooskies with his czars, and Reid and Spalosi will receive 49 cent each………

    48. JB, Chesterfield Cou says:

      Several apparent Democrats have spoken including Raine D., Geowmck and brian. Assuming Obama will follow all the laws in this instance would most likely come from one who has had their head stuck in the sand for 2 or 3 years now. Raine D. and Geowmck apparently did not read all of the previous blogs where the answers to some of their questions have been answered. Frankly, I did not know that 3 previous Presidents had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I know two,T.Roosevelt got one but blogger above said he set it aside until he left office. Jimmy Carter but he was long gone from office by then. Anyone know who the third president was?

    49. Texas Knife says:

      Other Presidents have recieved this prize buttt not when they were serving as President. The prize and the money belong to the US goverment which is the people.

    50. philip says:

      yes this is uconsitutional the problem is the presedent and the democrat party and the supporters like you brian he could care less about peace or america it's all a bout his image, and his power and cummunist rule of america he should be impeached his total desrespect for the consitution and the american people and our free goverment of we the people that alone should disqualify him for the peace prize he is adisgrace to the office of the presdent of the usa we need to stan for liberty

    51. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      No sitting President before accepted the award, after a President leaves office he is no longer an employee of the people, he is retired just as anyother Fed. employee. The constitution says a sitting Pres. cannot accept any award or monetary amount from another country, this is to prevent owing any allegiance to another ruler, therefore the giver cannot say"We gave to you so you owe us" Norway is a very liberal country, other countries are trying to keep us from our freedoms, and unfortunatley Our Own congress is helping.

    52. Mary says:

      I did not know you could get a Nobel Peace Prize for not having accomplished nothing.

    53. Andrew, Florida says:

      Brian: That's really fresh coming from someone who's opening sentences speak hateful rhetoric. Not to mention your whole premise is a non sequitur. The issue is not with the man himself. The issue is that people are subjective but the constitution is not. It is the best and most objective order for our country. If people in the form of those who are charged with honoring it reject or disregard it, what are we left with? I for one trust that document more than any one man or people group. Even if President Obama honors the law this time, there have been too many flaking instances where he clearly has had no intention of doing so. We can't even defend him because he won't even say he is doing the best thing for America but what best falls in line with his agenda (words from his own lips). All we can do is assume he has the American people's best interst in mind. But based on the evidence so far we can't even say that with any certainty, and that's not OK. That, my friends on the other side of the aisle, is what concerns us about what's been going on for the last 11 months.

    54. Rene G says:

      If this is true then some ones with legal background and deep pockets should file a lawsuit against the President on the base of this but wait untill 90 days from now. Let's wait till he really dispose the moneys other than stated in the the US code. If the president regardless on what ever political party he or anyone represents is not above the constitution – regardless!

    55. Laura Capilla says:

      I have to agree with most, on the constituition, how far does the line of crossing keep getting erased over. We as a society keep accepting what is the norm. As far as I am concerned, most of the norm is way over my values and morals. When do we say when??? He is not above the law.

    56. Raine D says:

      I am NOT a Dem I am a THINKING person not some extremest who agreed with some of the exact same policies when it was Bush and now reject them because they are being carried out by someone else. You all are hypocrites if you can not see how contradictory your previous blogs from the former admin and this one are to each other.( Blogs which I read contrary to the narrow minded JB who is full of assumptions on what I believe, would I be wrong in assuming it's because you live in backwoods Virginia?) Hate is hate regardless of how we try and disguise it, name calling and dehumanizing ppl just because they aren't 100% on your side is not intellectual discourse. It's rhetoric, bias and hate poorly disguised as impartiality.

    57. Micki-Tamarac, FL says:

      don't hold your breath waiting for any of the useless reps in our government do do anything. especially if you write or e-mail them, they won't even answer. (i guess they are to busy reading all these 2000 page bills)

      i have done both email and letters. all i get for my time is a FORM letter or emil in return. they know what is best for us, they say.

      so don't wait for a response from them just VOTE in 2010. i say they all need to go!!!!!

      lets hire some decent people that believe that what our forefathers died for is worth something and not to be ignored.

    58. Rick, Toronto says:

      Hell yes this is a violation of the Constitution! But that doesn't matter to him and why should it! In 2001 he stated to WBEZ-FM radio in Chicago, "…the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted…" He doesn't respect the Constitution, but believe me, he will do whatever it takes to change things moving forward to suit his own ends. This man is dangerous. Goodbye Constitution! Goodbye Liberty! Hello Comrades!

    59. Karen, MA says:

      NOTHING in the Constitution is "petty". How dare anyone diminish the time, effort and personal expense our founding fathers afforded to write a constitution that would prevent manipulation and corruption – by those in our country and foreign countries. They KNEW what people are like when it comes to power and money! This is actually a perfect example of what they meant. Obama was being rewarded and bought – for his liberal, progressive attitude (rewarded) and for expectations of how he is supposed to continue to behave. The Nobel Peace Prize has become a political tool of the progressive movement. What insight our forefathers had!

    60. scooter says:

      i cant see how someone with this much controversy was ever elected to office.i am concerned that his campain office wall had a flag with a cicle on it.well i dont think there is any thing petty about this situation.i think it sucks having a president called the free money man because he is giving our tax dollars away and paying off votes.recieving gifts and awards for doing nothing.accepting payooffs for obligations.that is his main goal is topay off his obligations and the money doners he who bought his seat in office.i wander if americans will pay taxes to a shiester president who is corrupting and dismanteling the united states of america.lol

    61. Paul, Ohio says:

      For 8 years the left complained Pres. Bush was violating the Constitution. Never once did I ever see them give a explination of what section he was in violation of. This pretender has been caught in numerous Constitutional discretions. We conservatives have used FACTS in our arguments stating clearly what the violation was. The lefts' answer, you conservatives are petty and hate filled racists. They can not win an argument with facts so they resort to name calling. Reminds me of how far the Clintons went to distroy anyone who questioned them.

    62. Catie of Ohio says:

      Obama has done nothing to deserve this. Lets forget about all these people who are making schools for unfortunate children and doing projects for world hunger etc. No lets give it to someone who claims he'll change things, when yet he hasn't done anything yet.

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