Is President Obama Unconstitutional? I’m not a Birther. I’m a Titler.

Officers of the United States cannot receive titles from a foreign state without congressional approval. President Obama is set to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. If the Peace Prize is a Title from Foreign State, Obama would not be eligible to receive it without Congressional consent. Therefore, is President Obama unconstitutional? lol. I’m not a Birther. I’m a Titler.

H/T J.P. Freire, Pointer Volokh

Article II, Section 9 provides:

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.

Per Wikipedia, the Nobel Prize is awarded as follows:

“…the Norwegian Nobel Committee consists of five members elected by the Norwegian Storting (the Norwegian parliament).[9] In its first stage, several thousand people are asked to nominate candidates. These names are scrutinized and discussed by experts in their specific disciplines until only the winners remain. This slow and thorough process is arguably what gives the prize its importance. Despite this, there have been questionable awards and questionable omissions over the prize’s century-long history.”

Freire writes, “While the Norwegian Parliament has no say in who receives the prize, the role it plays in selecting the committee ties it to the state. Congress will have to vote on whether to allow Obama to accept the prize.”

So if President Obama recieves this award without Congressional Authorization, does that make him unconstitutional? I guess you can call me a Titler.

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5 Responses to “Is President Obama Unconstitutional? I’m not a Birther. I’m a Titler.”

  1. Donahey Says:

    This isn’t unprecedented. Did Teddy Roosevelt need Congressional approval when he won in 1906? Also, is “nobel laureate” a “Title of Nobility”? He’s not being knighted.

    • Josh Blackman Says:

      Mark, precedent doesn’t make something Constitutional. As to your second question, I’m not exactly sure.

  2. Oren Says:

    The consent of Congress, under some conditions, has already been granted.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/5/usc_sec_05_00007342—-000-.html

  3. Southern Appeal » Sweden Is Not Happy With Norway Says:

    […] additional aside: this blog raises the question as to whether the emoluments clause (Article II, Section 9) requires C… For what it is worth, Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson did not get Congressional authorization, but that […]

  4. Balkin’s Stinging Response to Rotunda’s Claim that Accepting Nobel Prize is Unconstitutional « Josh Blackman's Blog Says:

    […] is Unconstitutional October 17, 2009 — Josh Blackman Last week I blogged about the argument that President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize could possibly be unconstitutional under the […]


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