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Александр Гамильтон
02 декабря, 03:39

What Is The Emoluments Clause And How Does It Apply To Donald Trump?

WASHINGTON ― When the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia to debate and write a new constitution for the United States, there was a concerted effort to ensure that the new nation would break from the corrupt practices of the Old World. European kings and princes bestowed gifts and payments to diplomats, dignitaries and politicians in their own legislatures and in foreign states. To the new Americans, these gifts and payments could corrupt the new nation’s sovereignty. They had already thrown off control by the British crown, and many questioned the growing relationship with their new ally, France. Some U.S. generals during the revolution were found to have accepted payment from these foreign states. Those debating the Constitution did not want to divorce themselves from the politics of Europe, but they also wanted to insulate the new government from these inducements to corruptions. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 22, “One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption.” The answer to this question was written into Article I, Section 9, Clause 8: the Emoluments Clause. It is a very broad and clear statement against the foreign corruption of U.S. government and military officials: “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.” “We weren’t going to fight the revolution, have a Constitution and next thing you know members of Congress and the president are getting stipends from the British Crown or from the French,” said Richard Painter, former ethics advisor to President George W. Bush. “We’re not going to allow that type of foreign corruption to get into our country.” The election of billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump to the presidency has suddenly swung the Emoluments Clause out of the “odd clauses” closet and into the center of political controversy. Ethics experts and constitutional law scholars have raised the specter that the president of the United States will be in direct violation of the Constitution on the day he takes office, with his many business deals in foreign countries, a hotel soon to be frequented by foreign dignitaries and hundreds of millions in debt to the government-owned Bank of China. “When he takes the oath to uphold the Constitution he would be lying,” said Laurence Tribe, constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School. “He can’t uphold the Constitution, one of whose central provisions he would be a walking, talking violation of.” While there is some scholarly debate over whether the Emoluments Clause does apply to the president, for most of American history U.S. presidents have acted as though it has. The Congressional Research Service says that the clause is one of a handful of ethics statutes that “potentially” apply to the president. The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel has routinely ruled on whether the president and other lower officers could receive certain gifts, titles or emoluments (this basically just means payments) under the clause. The record also goes back before the existence of the Office of Legal Counsel and the Department of Justice. These past rulings and actions show a record of government lawyers and past presidents applying the clause to the presidency for close to 200 years. A 2009 OLC opinion that determined President Barack Obama could accept the monetary award that came with the Nobel Peace Prize stated rather clearly that the president “surely” holds an office that would fall under the Emoluments Clause. A past opinion on the government of Ireland’s bestowal of Irish citizenship on President John Kennedy presumed the clause applied to the presidency as well. President Andrew Jackson was a recipient of a gold medal given by the Latin American revolutionary turned Colombian president Simon Bolivar. Under the belief that he could not accept such a gift without the consent of Congress, Jackson asked for their advice on whether he could keep it. Congress determined that he could not. In 1840, merchants sailing from the Middle East informed President Martin Van Buren that they carried with them many gifts for him from the imam of Muscat (present-day Oman). The imam had sent two Arabian horses, rose oil and rose water, cashmere shawls, a Persian rug and a sword for the president. Van Buren was under the assumption that the Emoluments Clause forbade these gifts, but he also did not want to insult the imam and send them back with the merchants. He asked Congress if the gifts could be sold and the proceeds deposited into the Treasury. They voted to allow this. This same gift sale repeated itself when the imam sent the president two more horses in 1843. Congress eventually ruled in 1845 that the horses could be sold and the profit given to the Treasury. There is one person who seemed to think that the clause did not apply to him. President George Washington received gifts from both the French ambassador to the United States and from the Marquis de Lafayette. The latter sent Washington the key to the Bastille after its storming during the early days of the French Revolution. This occurred when Lafayette was a member of the Estates-General and commander in chief of the national guard. Where precedent points toward the clause applying to the president, a further dispute arises over whether it simply covers gifts or other payments. “In my view, having studied the Emoluments Clause ever since 1978, it’s always been clear to me that its language is deliberately very broad, that it covers any kind of payment, not just a gratuity or a gift, but an ordinary payment to a profit-making enterprise,” Tribe said. Norm Eisen, the former top ethics advisor to Obama and former ambassador to the Czech Republic, notes that there is some dispute as to whether the payment must be favorable or any fair market payment. “Some scholars say it’s any payment,” he said. “Some scholars say it has to be a payment that is not an exchange for consideration ― more than a fair arms length exchange.” The nature of Trump’s business enterprise, however, makes it very difficult to determine whether the business successes he has during his administration are won fair and square. When a foreign government green-lights permits for a new Trump-named building, or if he or his business partners are granted tax breaks from those governments, it will be impossible to know whether he received those because of his government position. The same goes for the business that foreign governments are already directing to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Would these governments rent out event space or luxury rooms if he were not the president? One area that is rather unprecedented is that these payments would be going to a corporation and would eventually materialize as profit for Trump. The key here is that the Trump Organization is a privately held corporation and is, in essence, an extension of Trump. If it were a publicly held corporation these questions would probably not arise, although potential conflicts of interest could still certainly exist, as they did for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As for whether the Emoluments Clause applies to payments to a corporation that distributes profit to the government official in question, there is at least one OLC opinion that presents some kind of answer. In 1993, members of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an agency that includes unpaid private citizens advising the government on administrative procedure law, asked whether the receipt of payment from partnership earnings at a law firm that held foreign governments as paying clients would be a violation of the clause even if the recipient did not work with the foreign government client. The opinion ruled that this payment through partnership earnings would indeed be prohibited under the clause. “Because the amount the Conference member would receive from the partnership’s profits would be a function of the amount paid to the firm by the foreign government, the partnership would in effect be a conduit for that government,” the opinion reads. “Thus, some portion of the member’s income could fairly be attributed to a foreign government. We believe that acceptance of that portion of the member’s partnership share would constitute a prohibited emolument.” For these questions alone, Eisen, Tribe and Painter believe Trump needs to totally divest himself from his business, liquidate the assets and place the profit into a true blind trust governed by an independent trustee who is not one of his children. Federal ethics laws do not mandate this, but previous presidents have acted as though it does. The Office of Government Ethics issued a memorandum in 1983 stating that presidents should act as though the laws apply to them. As for whether the Emoluments Clause can be adjudicated in any legal manner, the only recourse appears to be the extreme action of impeachment. “The remedy in the Constitution for someone who does that kind of thing would be impeachment,” Painter said. “You do not want to go in that direction.” That is why the suggestion to liquidate Trump’s assets and place the profits in a blind trust may be an extremely onerous move, but, the experts believe, would be essential to maintain the integrity of national sovereignty that the Constitution demands. So far, Trump has said that he will hand his business over to his three adult children, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump. He has also appointed them to the executive committee of his presidential transition, negating any separation between government and corporation. On Wednesday he tweeted that he would announce a full plan for his transferal of the business to his children on Dec. 15. The simple temporary transfer of the business from the president-elect to his children during his term in office does little to assuage concerns about the potential for conflicts of interest or even the Emoluments Clause. “The family business is essentially occupying or about to occupy the White House,” Tribe said. “And the idea that that can be done consistent with our Constitution is hard for me to square with either the language of the document or its original purposes or with our history. We’ve never experienced anything like this.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

01 декабря, 15:30

Hamilton v. Trump: The Case that Could Save America

JACKSON, Miss. Not-Yet-President-Elect Donald J. Trump has been bitter in his condemnation of the cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton, but the man for whom the play is named and the cast that surrounded him at the time of the nation's founding could pose a far bigger problem for the Mad Tweeter. Call it the case of Hamilton v. Trump. "Nothing was more to be desired" in devising the Constitution's plan for choosing a President through an Electoral College, Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist No. 68 in 1788, "than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to . . . the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?" The Muscovite Candidate There is now growing evidence that a hostile foreign power has done that of which Mr. Hamilton warned: the Russians apparently used a massive, sophisticated cyber campaign to spread via social media fake "news" directed at undermining Hillary Clinton and aiding their chosen candidate, Mr. Trump, along with selectively hacking and having Julian Assange publish emails intended to defame Mrs. Clinton. We are left with a man the media keep incorrectly calling the "President-Elect" (there will be no President-Elect until and unless a majority of the Electors select one when they meet on December 19), a man who lost the election by well over two million votes (a fact that is only very infrequently even mentioned in the media), who was assisted immeasurably by Russian agents, and has chosen a man, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin--as National Security Advisor! It is a plot so fantastic that a publisher would have rejected it as absurd had it been floated by John le Carré. During the campaign, Mr. Trump asserted that Mrs. Clinton's e-mail "scandal" was "bigger than Watergate." Most of what came to be subsumed under the name "Watergate" was a multifaceted attempt to assure that the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee would be someone that President Richard M. Nixon could defeat. Mrs. Clinton's emails were never on remotely that level, but the Russian intervention in the 2016 Election--not to mention the truly extraordinary extent of lying in which Mr. Trump engaged during the campaign (he has already jettisoned the bulk of the "promises" that most animated his supporters)--appears actually to be far worse than Watergate. That scandal involved an American President using illicit means to try to stay in office; this one involves a hostile foreign power "raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union." Where is the outrage? When the enormity of Watergate and its direct threat to the American system of government became clear, many Republicans joined with Democrats in denouncing Mr. Nixon and "All the President's Men." Yet now, as we face an even graver threat to our institutions--must we term it "Putingate"?--even most Democrats, let alone Republicans, seem to lack the courage and patriotism to stand up to the forces that threaten to invalidate the will of the voters, violate the clear intent of the Founding Fathers, and undermine the Republic they established. A Last Chance to Save America: Faithful Electors We have less than three weeks to save America. The Framers of the Constitution provided us with the means to do so. Almost everyone is accepting that the Electoral College is a prison from which the American people cannot escape. It is not, and was never meant to be. The Founders clearly intended it to be a fire extinguisher to be used in a time such as this to prevent an unscrupulous demagogue with, in Hamilton's words, "talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity" from becoming President. There is in the Constitution absolutely no requirement that Electors vote for the person who carried their state. That is a complete perversion of the Framers' intent. Many Republicans are as terrified by a Trump Presidency as are most Democrats. Can they really see this man as President of the United States? Given the general disarray of the Trump campaign during the primaries, it is likely that a good number of the people chosen as Republican Electors in states that he carried are not particularly loyal to him. Only 37 Electors from states Mr. Trump won would have to vote for someone else to deny him the Electoral College majority. Is that too much to ask to save the nation from the disaster of a President who, as Eugene Robinson has said with complete accuracy, "lies the way other people breathe," a White House filled with white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, misogynists, and their ilk--and a President and National Security Advisor who are cozy with Russia's authoritarian ruler? Whenever anyone suggests that Electors not vote for the candidate who carried their state, the media refer to it as a "Faithless Elector" plan. In fact, it is the opposite. In voting for someone other than a person who is unfit for office and was helped to his electoral vote lead by a foreign power, such Electors would be faithful to the intent of the Framers. Call them "Faithful Electors." Where's Walter? Failure by officeholders of both parties and the mainstream media to stand up and scream about what is happening and demand that the Electors do what the Framers intended for them to do makes them complicit in the demise of American democracy and the values for which our nation has, at its best, has stood. Where is Walter Cronkite when we so desperately need him? Just imagine the decibel level of the outcry from Mr. Trump and Republicans if he had won the election by more than two million votes and there was strong evidence that his opponent had been massively aided by clandestine Russian attacks on the Republican nominee, but the Electoral College was poised to make her President. Yet, with the shoe on the other foot as our nation is hurtling towards an abyss deeper than the Mariana Trench, pusillanimous Democrats and people in the media do nothing but wring their hands. The Silenced Majority The way the electoral vote is being used has produced a Silenced Majority. The Electors choosing the person who won the election, Mrs. Clinton, would be both democratic and totally in keeping with the Founders' intent. There can be no serious question that if the Founders were the jurors in Hamilton v. Trump, they would (once they got over the hurdle of accepting a (gasp!) woman as President) find overwhelmingly for Mr. Hamilton and elect the highly qualified winner of the election over her very dangerous, unqualified opponent. Failing that, there is another way the Electors could go to fulfill their duty as envisioned by the Founders and to save the nation from disaster. If 37 Electors from states the Republican nominee carried can be persuaded to defend America by voting for someone else, they can deny the Muscovite Candidate an Electoral College majority. The Compromise of 2017 That could open the way for patriots from both parties to come together and formulate a modern version of the Compromise of 1877 that would create a National Unity Government, for which the state delegations in the House of Representatives would be urged to vote in January. Such a Compromise of 2017 might include a President of one party and a Vice President of the other, both of whom meet the Framers' goal of being competent and not beholden to a foreign power (perhaps Hillary Clinton and John Kasich, or Mr. Kasich and Joe Biden), a pledge by both not to run in 2020, a division of Cabinet posts between the parties, and agreement on certain policies to be enacted, including some of those that attracted voters to Mr. Trump, such as a massive infrastructure program to provide jobs and "draining the swamp" of influence peddling in Washington (which Mr. Trump plainly is not doing). That way lies the opportunity to transform what otherwise may be the demise of American liberty into a rebirth of the Republic in a bipartisan way--exactly that for which an overwhelming majority of Americans yearn. A Lifejacket, Not a Straitjacket The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves at the prospect of the institution they devised to block from the office of chief magistrate an incompetent demagogue or someone placed there by a hostile foreign power being utilized instead to put in that position someone who is both. That is certainly not what our ancestors and contemporaries fought, bled and died for, from Lexington to Mosul. Will we dishonor them, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and the Framers of the Constitution by lying down passively and allowing "the last best hope of earth" to die with scarcely a whimper from the American people, their elected representatives, and the putatively independent news media? This is the United States of America, damn it! We pride ourselves on being a "can do" people. "The difficult I'll do right now," sang Billie Holiday in 1949, "the impossible will take a little while." That's the American attitude. We still have a little while--until December 19--to do the seemingly impossible thing that is essential to the future of the United States and the world. Before it's too late, Democrats, Republicans, people in the media, and the general public need to screw up some courage and speak out forcefully to have the Electors do as Hamilton and the Founders would have them do: realize that the Electoral College was made to be a lifejacket to save the American Republic, not a straitjacket to drown it, and act accordingly. December 19, from Valley Forge to the Electoral College In this fast-approaching dark winter that so threatens our nation, a winter in which the fate of America hangs in the balance as much as it did 239 years ago, on another December 19, when Gen. George Washington and his nearly-beaten army arrived at Valley Forge, let us update Thomas Paine's immortal words: "THESE are the times that try a nation's soul. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he and she that stand by it now, deserve the love and thanks of man and woman." Those who fail to stand by their country now will have to explain to themselves and to posterity why they were so cowardly in this time of such obvious need for action. {Historian Robert S. McElvaine teaches at Millsaps College and is the author of ten books. He has just completed a draft of his first novel.} -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

30 ноября, 22:17

Misunderstanding Of Electoral College Clouds Debate And Obstructs Reform

The results of the 2016 presidential election in which the electoral vote did not match the so-called popular vote has predictably resulted in demands for the abolition of the Electoral College and calls to aid and abet the duly elected electors into committing the criminal act of violating their pledge to the people who elected them. In the aftermath of the 1960 election in which the democrat John Kennedy overwhelmingly won the electoral vote, but lost the popular vote, outraged and disgruntled Republicans pushed hard for abolishing the Electoral College. Likewise, it was outraged Democrats who supported the electoral loser and who demanded abolition of the Electoral College in 2000. Indeed, in the three elections in American history in which the electoral vote did not match the popular vote - 1888, 1960, and 2000 ⎯ support or opposition to our federal system of election enshrined in the U.S. Constitution has been based not on principle, but on partisan election outcomes. Over 700 aborted attempts over the last 200 years to undermine our federal system have failed abysmally once the disastrous consequences have been fully explained and appreciated. Perhaps the most notorious myth is that the Founding Fathers envisioned electors as independent representatives free to cast their votes in any way they wish. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Madison explained to the Virginia ratifying convention, the president was to be chosen by "the people at large", and later explained to the First Congress that the president was to be appointed "by the suffrages of three million people". As Lucius Wilmerding's massive study of the Electoral College noted in 1958, "it is the fashion nowadays (to assert that electors were to make the election according to their own will)... The Founding Fathers would have answered them, indeed did answer them, otherwise." Proponents for the view that electors were intended to exercise independent judgment often resort to citing Alexander Hamilton's view in Federalist 68 that the Electors "should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the nation". But even Hamilton clarified that statement by noting that "the people should operate in the choice of the (Electors)". It should also be recalled that virtually all of Hamilton's views on the presidency were rejected, including that the president should be elected for life, and that the states should be abolished in favor of arbitrarily drawn national districts. In any case, this question of elector independence has been mooted by the decision of every state legislature since 1865 to delegate the responsibility of appointing electors to the people of the state. It is true that electors can violate both their oath and pledge by committing the criminal offense of failing to cast their vote in accordance with the pledge upon which they were elected, and while it has happened in a relative handful of instances (17 times out of 17,000 electoral votes case in the past 150 years) it is most rare and has never in the history of the U.S. ever affected an election outcome. When Lloyd Bailey cast his electoral vote for George Wallace rather than Richard Nixon in 1968, Congress challenged his vote as "not regularly given" in accordance with 3 United States Code 15. This is because the procedure for casting ballots has always been primarily ceremonial and mechanical. Thus when an appointed elector fails to appear at the appointed place time in December, due to sickness, in capacity, or death, it is not unusual to find someone in the hallway, even a passing janitor in one instance, to enter the voting room and cast the electoral vote in accordance with the slate elected by the people. The system has worked like clockwork, every four years, since George Washington was elected President. And yet, in the aftermath of the 2016 November election, when an elector on the Democratic slate in Washington declared that he would never cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, it opened a Pandora's Box, giving other Democrats the idea of trying to abet electors in states where the Republican slate was elected to commit the criminal act of violating their oath and pledge to the people. But although electors are generally party stalwarts appointed on the basis of their loyalty to their party, and a faithless elector has never in the history of the Republic ever affected the outcome of an election, the time may have come for a responsible reform to the Electoral College - namely to dispense with human electors, and simply to automatically allocate the electoral votes based on the popular vote in each individual state. Unfortunately, populists determined to abolish the Electoral College have been resistant to such responsible reforms in hoping to set the stage for outright abolition. As every eighth-grade civics student is aware, the Founding Fathers created both the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate as the basis for the Grand Compromise that served as the foundation for the Constitution and the union which guaranteed the reticent small states equal representation in the Senate and commensurate representation in the Electoral College. As Senator John F. Kennedy observed in fending off yet another Republican attempt to undermine federalism by tampering with the Electoral College prong of the Grand Compromise, such an attempt cannot be made without also tampering with or abolishing the other prong, namely the U.S. Senate - which would probably require a Constitutional Convention where all bets would be off. One of the great puzzles is why opponents to the Electoral College focus on the fact that the Electoral College gives citizens of the small states a greater voice in the presidential election than citizens of the larger states (since small states are guaranteed two electors based on their representation in the Senate), when that argument would carry far greater weight in opposing the existence of the U.S. Senate where legislation is annually passed based on the votes of senators from the small states regardless of their population. Election of Presidents in the Electoral College without the popular vote, however, only occurs an average of once every 75 years, or about the same average as in parliamentary democracies such as the UK (where in 1974 Labor lost the popular vote but elected three more MP's to parliament and formed the government). Those who remember the 2000 election may remember that many supporters of Ralph Nader did indeed call for the abolition of the U.S. Senate, on the same grounds as those who oppose the Electoral College today. For the past 200 years, as our election system has become the envy of the world for its stability and peaceful transfer of power, both Congress and state legislatures have steadfastly defended the federalist basis of our Constitution, recognizing the true horrors of a so-called "popular vote election" in which recounts in most or all the states would be required in every close election (or about one-third of past American presidential elections). For those who remember the national trauma of Florida in 2000, one needs only imagine what a recount in all fifty states would entail, complete with lengthy court hearings and appeals in each state. One can also envision an election campaign in which candidates focus only on states and cities with massive populations (such as New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago) ignoring the sparsely populated hinterland. Perhaps the greatest protection provided by the Electoral College is to insure that no candidate can be elected without broad support across the country. (Imagine that in the 1950s an overwhelming popular vote in the deep south for a segregationist candidate managed to trump the rest of the country in popular votes despite the rest of the country being opposed.) With a popular vote election attracting a multitude of small parties, a candidate could win with a small percentage of the vote (as did Hitler in 1933 despite being opposed by a majority of voters). Nor should the racial factor be ignored. As Vernon Jordan, President of the urban league, testified as the 1979 congressional Hearings initiated by Republicans to abolish the Electoral College, "(T)ake away the Electoral College and the importance of being black melts away. Blacks, instead of being crucial to victory in major states, simply become 10% of the total electorate with reduced impact. " Of course, Republicans changed their tune after the 2000 election, just as Democrats who felt secure behind their "blue wall" of big states with a huge number of electors will doubtless change their tune in the aftermath of the 2016 election and support Donald Trump's call to undermine federalism by abolishing the Electoral College. Probably the most dangerous course for opponents of federalism is to support a scheme (called NPV) by a California millionaire to do an end run around the Constitution by enticing states to enter into a conspiracy with other states totaling 270 electoral votes to ignore the will of the people of their own state and vote for the "popular" vote winner. Aside from being in violation of the compact clause of the constitution, such a scheme simply assumes that a popular vote winner can simply be calculated by adding up the vote totals of each individual state. Hardly. It may be recalled that in 1960, the newspapers calculated the popular vote winner by simply tallying the popular votes for the electoral slate in each state, thereby concluding that Kennedy won the popular vote. The Congressional Quarterly, on the other hand, determined that that only 5/16 of the popular votes for the Democratic electoral slate in Alabama should be allocated to Kennedy since five of the sixteen electors on the Democratic slate were pledged to Senator Byrd, thereby concluding that included Nixon won the popular vote by over 58,000 votes. So which tally was correct? The NPV answer is simply along the lines of "the courts will decide". For those that trust the courts more than the people, and are willing to throw the nation into constitutional crisis every third election, the so-called "popular" vote scheme will doubtless continue to seduce whoever loses the electoral vote to a popular vote winner. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

30 ноября, 13:10

Anti-Trump forces launch attack on Electoral College

The last-ditch effort to stop Donald Trump is gaining momentum.

29 ноября, 23:17

Can Courts Hold Trump Accountable For Violating The Emoluments Clause?

With Donald Trump positioned to profit immeasurably from the presidency, the American people are getting a lesson in advanced constitutional law, learning about a clause of the Constitution that many lawyers have never even heard of: the Emoluments Clause. While the Emoluments Clause has never ranked on a top-ten list of well-known constitutional provisions, its obscurity shouldn't cast doubt on its importance. Indeed, its inclusion in our nation's Charter was one of the many ways in which the Framers sought to prevent the corruption and self-dealing that they viewed as among the greatest threats to the future of the new Republic. But even as we are now recognizing the importance of the Clause, some have suggested that there's nothing that can be done, short of impeachment, to hold Trump accountable if he violates this provision of the Constitution. Those who are counting out the courts, however, are counting too fast. The Constitution twice makes explicit what should be common-sense: the President should be working for the American people, not himself, and thus should not be able to profit from the office. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution provides that "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." Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution is specific to the President, providing that he "shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a compensation . . . and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them." In other words, the Constitution prohibits the President from receiving any "emolument"--any compensation, gift, or other form of profit or gain--other than his salary, be it from foreign governments, the United States, or state governments and their instrumentalities. These provisions reflect the Framers' fundamental belief that the Constitution needed to include anti-corruption measures if the new nation were to survive. Indeed, it was precisely because the Framers feared the dangers that corruption might pose--not only then, but also in the future--that they included these proscriptions in the nation's enduring charter. As Alexander Hamilton explained, "[n]othing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption." George Mason put it this way at the Constitutional Convention, "if we do not provide against corruption, our government will soon be at an end." To prevent that from happening, the Framers included in the Constitution measures--like the provisions quoted above--to ensure that "corruption was more effectually guarded against, in the manner this government was constituted, than in any other that had ever been formed." Thus, while those provisions might seem obscure now, they weren't at the Framing. Indeed, they have become obscure only because most Presidents have assiduously taken steps to ensure that they were not in violation of these clauses' proscriptions. Donald Trump now appears poised to depart from the precedent set by other Presidents of both parties because, in his view, "the president can't have a conflict of interest." Unfortunately for Trump (but fortunately for the country), that's not what the Constitution says, which is why countless stories have already been written about the various ways in which Trump, upon taking office, may violate the Emoluments Clause. Yet even as a consensus seems to be emerging that Trump will be in violation of the Constitution the very first day he takes the oath to uphold it, there also seems to be agreement in some quarters that not much can be done about it. Vox writes that "[i]t's not clear who would have standing to sue." Lyle Denniston writes that "so far as the Constitution is concerned, the American people must rely upon Congress - no matter which party controls the House and Senate - to monitor the relationship between a president and a family business." Paul Krugman put it more colorfully, "But who's going to enforce the Constitution? Republicans in Congress? Don't be silly." Why so much pessimism about the prospects of courts entertaining Emoluments Clause lawsuits? To be sure, there may not be examples of such lawsuits in the case books, but that's because we're in such unchartered territory. In fact, it's not difficult to imagine lawsuits that might satisfy the Constitution's requirements for standing to sue--in particular, its requirement that a plaintiff have suffered an injury-in-fact. Consider just a few possibilities. Perhaps a competitor of a Trump business can sue on the ground that it is being directly injured by a foreign entity's efforts to curry favor with the new President. Perhaps a state can sue on the ground that it is injured by another state's efforts to do the same. The Supreme Court has said that courts can hear "complaint[s] that certain specific government action will cause that person private competitive injury." In the same vein, perhaps a competitor of Trump Tower can argue that it is being injured by the Secret Service paying to rent a floor of the building. Or perhaps if Trump has an interest in a company that threatens the environment (at one time, for example, he had a stake in the Dakota pipeline), individuals who seek to use those natural resources could sue. The Supreme Court has said that courts can hear "complaint[s] that individual enjoyment of certain natural resources has been impaired" by specific government actions. Or perhaps a court might even conclude that the Emoluments Clause imposes a structural limitation on who can serve as President, thus making Trump ineligible to serve as President and giving a citizen or state the grounds to sue for an injury they suffer as a result of action he takes as president. It's far too early to know whether any of these theories would be successful in court, but that's exactly the point--it's far too early to say that they would not be successful, either. After all, it appears that there may be no shortage of different potential Emoluments Clause violations, and that's without even knowing the full extent of Trump's financial holdings. At the end of the day, whether a lawsuit will be successful will depend on the exact allegations of the claim and the injury alleged by the plaintiff. Consider, for example, the case of the Line Item Veto Act. In 1997, the Supreme Court held that members of Congress who sued to challenge the law did not have standing to sue. The very next year, the Supreme Court held that the City of New York and certain health care providers did have standing to sue to challenge the same Act because those parties, unlike the members of Congress who had previously sued, had alleged "a 'personal stake' in having an actual injury redressed.'" In other words, the details matter. The fact that not everyone may be able to sue does not mean that no one can. Finally, it's worth remembering that an important reason why our Framers created our federal courts was to serve as a check on illegal action by the other branches. The Framers understood that constitutional "[l]imitations . . . can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice." In the Virginia ratifying convention, John Marshall argued, "[t]o what quarter will you look for protection from an infringement on the Constitution, if you will not give the power to the judiciary? There is no other body that can afford such a protection." To be sure, the Supreme Court has observed that the fact that no one would have standing to sue is not a reason to find standing, but it does mean we should think twice before concluding that the courts have no role to play in policing the President's compliance with the Constitution. The Emoluments Clause is a critical part of our enduring national charter, designed to guard against the corruption that the Framers feared could destroy the country should it arise then or in the future. Given the numerous conflicts of interest posed by a Trump presidency, it's good that so many people are talking about this important part of the Constitution. But it's not good that so many are so quickly assuming that the courts have no role to play in that conversation. At the end of the day, the courts may be the only check on unconstitutional executive action that we have. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

29 ноября, 17:33

5 Reasons ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ Is Still Making Headlines

It's the most talked about Broadway show in America -- and with good reason. Here's why everyone can't stop talking about the 'Hamilton' musical.

28 ноября, 17:10

Крупнейший кризис в истории английского футбола: Десятки футболистов рассказали об изнасилованиях в детских командах

В конце ноября сразу несколько известных английских футболистов рассказали в прессе, что их в разные годы домогался детский тренер и скаут Барри Беннелл. Тренера, работавшего с "Манчестер Сити" и "Ньюкаслом", неоднократно судили за сексуальное насилие над несовершеннолетними, последний раз это произошло в 2015 году - но сейчас он на свободе и живет под другим именем в Милтон-Кинс. Из рассказов футболистов следует: руководство клубов знало, что Беннелл насилует детей; однако они не предпринимали действий, чтобы это остановить. "Медуза" рассказывает, в чем обвиняют Беннелла - и что произошло после того, как его жертвы решили публично рассказать о сексуальном насилии. Первым об изнасилованиях рассказал бывший футболист клуба "Кру Александра" Энди Вудвард. Интервью Вудварда, выступавшего в клубах Футбольной лиги Англии (вторая, третья и четвертая ступень системы английского футбола) с 1992 по 2002 годы, вышло 16 ноября. В нем 43-летний спортсмен, который после окончания спортивной карьеры стал полицейским, рассказал, что один из тренеров "Кру" Барри Беннелл с 11 лет насиловал его. Беннелл угрожал юному спортсмену и требовал, чтобы тот ничего никому не рассказывал об их отношениях. Тренер, как рассказывает Вудвард, манипулировал им - и угрожал, что если кто-то узнает о сексуальном насилии, футбольная карьера подростка закончится. Футболист рассказал, что до сих пор переживает последствия психологической травмы; он уверен, что насилие разрушило его карьеру. Когда Вудварду было 14, Беннелл начал встречаться с его 16-летней сестрой, а затем женился на ней. В середине 1990-х, уже после ухода из "Кру Александры", Вудвард рассказал об изнасилованиях полицейским - после того, как тренера арестовали в США по подозрению в сексуальных домогательствах. После Вудварда об изнасилованиях заявили другие футболисты. 22 ноября о сексуальных домогательствах со стороны Беннелла сообщил другой бывший воспитанник "Кру" Стив Уолтерс. Позднее бывший футболист "Манчестер Сити" и сборной Англии Дэвид Уайт рассказал, что подвергался насилию со стороны Беннелла, когда тренер работал с подростковой командой в Манчестере. За ними последовали и другие свидетельства о сексуальном насилии в отношении футболистов-подростков как со стороны Беннелла, так и других тренеров. Спортсмен Крис Ансворт, тренировавшийся в системе "Манчестер Сити", признался, что если бы не Вудвард, он никогда бы не рассказал о том, что его насиловал Беннелл. Как утверждает Ансворт, только его Беннелл изнасиловал около сотни раз. Когда Ансворту исполнилось 12 лет, Беннелл переключился на более молодых футболистов. В общей сложности о насилии публично рассказали больше 20 футболистов, а на "горячую линию", открытую вскоре после интервью Вудварда, позвонили больше ста человек. Их рассказы касаются детских школ в системах "Блэкпула", "Лидса Юнайтед", "Ньюкасла Юнайтед" и других клубов. В клубе, где работал Беннелл, знали об изнасилованиях. Представитель руководства "Кру Александра" Гамильтон Смит рассказал, что еще в конце 1980-х созывал специальное совещание - после того, как стало известно о сексуальных домогательствах по отношению к одному из юных футболистов. Беннелла не уволили, но было решено, что ему больше нельзя оставаться один на один с детьми. Он продолжал работать в команде до 1992 года, после чего по причинам, о которых не было объявлено официально, ушел из команды. Барри Беннелл неоднократно сидел в тюрьме за сексуальное насилие. Впервые его задержали в США в 1994-м во время поездки с футболистами-подростками. Один из них обратился в полицию с жалобой на изнасилование. Беннелл признал свою вину и был приговорен к четырем годам тюрьмы. Пока он сидел, расследование сексуальных домогательств началось в Великобритании. Вернувшегося на родину Беннелла арестовали, а в 1998-м приговорили к девяти годам за 23 эпизода сексуального насилия. Отбыв срок, Беннелл поселился в Милтон-Кинс (город на юго-востоке Великобритании) под вымышленным именем Ричард Джонс. Соседям он говорил, что работает программистом и ничего не рассказывал о своем прошлом. В 2015-м Беннелла вновь осудили на два года за изнасилование малолетнего еще в 1980-м; бывший тренер вышел досрочно (соседи полагали, что он в это время восстанавливался после перенесенного рака). В четверг, 24 ноября, в квартиру Беннелла приходили полицейские, но Беннелл задержан не был. Точных сведений о причинах визита полиции нет. Футбольная ассоциация Англии начала расследование. В организации утверждают, что им известно о случаях сексуального насилия над юными футболистами в возрасте от шести до 16 лет в шести-семи клубах. Расследование ведется совместно с полицией, никаких сведений о его ходе и первых результатах пока нет. Клубы, где работал Беннелл, объявили о начале собственных расследований; они собираются выяснить, действительно ли руководство покрывало насильника. О собственном расследовании заявила и Футбольная ассоциация Англии. Спортивные журналисты называют случившееся крупнейшим кризисом в истории английского футбола.(https://meduza.io/feature...)

28 ноября, 11:05

Коллегия выборщиков должна сделать президентом США Хиллари Клинтон (Washington Post, США)?

По устоявшейся традиции, коллегия выборщиков США должна признать человека, за которого не проголосовало большинство избирателей, новым президентом страны. Такое мнение является оскорблением дела основателей конституции, оно не подкреплено ни в одном месте Основного Закона, поэтому любой, кто имеет хоть малейшее понимание о демократических процедурах, и прежде всего, сами выборщики, должен отказаться от него, пишет Лоуренс Лессиг в статье для Washington Post.

27 ноября, 19:11

When Is Responsible Democratic Governance Possible? The Classical View: Never

**Democracy Must Be Irresponsible: So Responsible Governance Must Be Undemocratic** When is responsible democratic governance possible? Our classical predecessors would have given a simple answer: never. Any system of government that would give predominant voice and any substantial decision making power to an unstructured multitude of not even part-time managers...

27 ноября, 17:06

The Electoral College Wasn't Meant to Overturn Elections

Electors were intended to be faceless hacks whose independent exercise of judgment was neither wanted nor permitted.

26 ноября, 17:52

8 New Reasons The Electoral College Shouldn't Vote For Trump

Soon after the election, I was one of those arguing that Republican electors should vote for someone other than Donald Trump when the electoral college convenes on December 19. My contention was simply that Trump is fundamentally unfit to be president. Many Republicans declared Trump unfit during the 2016 campaign, and Trump has a disturbing record of bigotry, misogyny and sexual abuse, dishonesty, predatory business practices, association with organized crime figures, and misuse of charitable entities. He also has advocated for torture, bombing civilians, and other reckless acts that no conscientious military officer could carry out. Since he declared victory, however, Trump's own actions have made the case for dumping Trump much, much stronger. I still seriously doubt enough electors will do the right thing and deny Trump the 270 electoral votes he needs. But if they care about our country and its values, they must not vote for Trump. Here are the reasons why: 8. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly two million votes. This is by far the weakest of the eight reasons because, as Trump has rightly pointed out, the contest every four years, including this year, is to win the electoral vote, not the popular vote, and Trump might have pursued a different strategy if it were otherwise. But Hillary Clinton's big, expanding margin in the popular vote reduces the moral force of any argument that electors must somehow consider themselves bound to vote for Trump. They are not bound because -- 7. The electoral college system created by the Framers did not prohibit electors from voting their own conscience.  With Trump and his supporters hammering the point that the electoral college system is the relevant competition, they cannot escape that the system has two pieces -- voting in the states and, later, the gathering of electors in their state capitals. In explaining a system that includes individual electors casting their own ballots, Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers warned of the risks of inaugurating a president with"[t]alents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity." Hamilton argued for the electoral college system in these terms: "The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications." The electors have not just a right, but an obligation, not to vote for a candidate lacking such qualifications. Under our system, the electors may vote for anyone they want, whether they were on the November ballot or not.  Some states impose penalties, mostly light penalties, on so-called faithless electors, but many states do not. (Congress, which must approve the electoral college results, is bound by the Constitution to consider only individuals who have received one or more votes from the electors.) 6. The Trump University settlement shines a new spotlight on Trump's unethical business practices. Trump insisted throughout the campaign that the lawsuits brought by students and by New York state against his unaccredited real estate school were worthless and would fail before a jury. Then, with the presiding federal judge -- whom Trump had said was biased because he was "a Mexican" -- holding to a November 28 trial date, Trump paid $25 million to settle the matters. In truth, the evidence was strong that Trump University was a predatory operation that, for starters, told prospective students that all instructors were hand-picked by Trump, when they were not. Trump University used high-pressure tactics to sell overpriced seminars. One of Trump University's own sales managers testified, "I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money." A trial would have exposed all these abuses for the world to see, which gave Trump a good reason to settle. Since the election, even more reports have emerged of dishonest business practices by Trump, such as a golf club he built in Scotland: As described Friday by the New York Times, Trump promised the village of Balmedie that he would build "the world's greatest golf course," then "proceeded to lash out at anyone standing in his way," and overcame objections about environmental harm with a series of "grand promises," all of which he eventually broke: "A promised $1.25 billion investment has shrunk to what his opponents say is at most $50 million. Six thousand jobs have dwindled to 95. Two golf courses to one. An eight-story, 450-room luxury hotel never materialized, nor did 950 time-share apartments. Instead, an existing manor house was converted into a 16-room boutique hotel." The heavy dossier of examples of shady Trump business ventures, from the multilevel marketing schemes ACN and The Trump Network, to his mountain of unpaid bills to contractors, has just been capped by a $25 million payment to thousands of students over allegations of fraud at Trump's "university." The electors need to consider whether it could ever be responsible to hand over control of our government to such an individual. 5. Trump has demonstrated a complete lack of trustworthiness by immediately abandoning campaign promises. In post-election interviews with "60 Minutes" and the New York Times, Trump suggested he would back away from many of the hard-right promises he made in the campaign, promises that created red meat excitement at his rallies and drove highly conservative voters to the polls: promises to build a wall all across the Mexican border, to ban Muslims from coming to the U.S., to eliminate Obamacare, to hire a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton, to waterboard suspects, to withdraw from the Paris climate accords, and to change the libel laws. Many people, including me, oppose those policies and would be relieved if Trump abandoned them. But his apparent willingness to break all these promises to his supporters as soon as the election is over demonstrates, once again, that Trump's word is worthless. Trump also immediately undermined his popular pledge to "drain the swamp" in Washington -- his promise to clean up the corruption and restore power to people -- by loading up his transition team with corporate lobbyists. Trump subsequently announced the lobbyists would be removed, but then put his inauguration up for sale, permitting corporations and rich individuals to write big checks to pay for the celebration. Campaign promises get broken all the time, but not this many, this soon, with so little concern for the people who believed them. Electors must again consider whether a person so lacking in honesty and integrity should be our president. 4. Trump has appointed to top White House jobs people with disturbing records of bigotry. This is where things get ugly. Two of Trump's three White House appointments so far, for positions at the center of decision-making for our country in a Trump administration, are associated with angry expressions of racial and religious bigotry. Trump has named his campaign CEO Stephen Bannon to be White House chief strategist and senior adviser. Until August, Bannon was executive chairman of Breitbart News, which Bannon called this summer "the platform for the alt-right," a term that seems to define people who believe in white supremacy, deride women's rights, condemn Islam, harass Jews with vicious insults, and hold other extremists views. Breitbart headlines have included: "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy" and "Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew." Bannon's ex-wife filed a declaration in 2007 court proceedings alleging that Bannon opposed sending the couples' daughters to an elite Los Angeles private school because many of the students there were Jewish: "He said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews." Bannon has denied making that statement, or that, as his ex-wife claimed, at another school, he "asked the director why there were so many Chanukah books in the library." Trump's pick to be White House national security advisor, the person in charge of coordinating the nation's security policies, has his own issues demonizing an entire religion, one with 1.6 billion adherents worldwide. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has called Islam "a cancer," tweeted a link to a YouTube video entitled, "Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL," and tweeted a "dare" to Muslim world leaders to "declare their Islamic ideology sick." Meanwhile, Trump's designated Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, daughter-in-law of the billionaire founder of Amway, has provided major funding for efforts to oppose LGBT rights -- a troubling record for someone who would oversee policies related to America's schools. Trump did not need to fill so many of his earliest appointments, for core senior jobs, with people who have records of promoting bigotry against millions of Americans. Electors should consider the dangers to our nation of selecting a president who would install such a divisive senior team. 3. Trump has failed to disavow racism, bigotry, threats and violence by his supporters. In the days and weeks after the election, there have been reports across the country of Trump supporters carrying out vicious attacks against people of color, women, immigrants, and others in "celebration" of Trump's apparent victory. Trump, while complaining right after the election about anti-Trump protests as "very unfair," said nothing at all about the violence and abuse in his name until pressed during an interview with "60 Minutes" to disavow the hateful acts by his supporters. Even then, Trump claimed he knew nothing about the widely-reported incidents and wanly went through the motions, saying, "I would say don't do it, that's terrible, 'cause I'm gonna bring this country together.... I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, "Stop it." If it-- if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it." Days later, a white nationalist group, the National Policy Institute, held a Washington gathering full of white supremacy rhetoric, anti-semitic suggestions, and Nazi-era salutes, with a centerpiece speech in which the group's leader toasted, "Hail Trump! Hail our people!" and finally, "Hail victory!" - which in German translates to the Nazi cheer "Sieg Heil!" Again Trump said nothing, until pressed in the New York Times interview, at which point he offered this lukewarm statement: "It's not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why." In neither case has Trump issued his own statement, or even tweet, condemning or disavowing the parade of hate in his name. Instead, he has tweeted complaints about the media, "Saturday Night Live," and the cast of the broadway musical "Hamilton." This studied indifference to the hate and violence by his supporters is one more reason for electors to refrain from voting for Donald Trump. 2. Russian covert action influenced the election. While evidence of vote-tampering in this election is intriguing but far from conclusive, there is extensive evidence, most recently detailed in a Washington Post story, that operations emanating from Russia were aimed at influencing, and did influence voters -- through fake news stories attacking Hillary Clinton, pushed by paid live trolls, phony social media accounts, and networks of automated botnets. These efforts, according to the Post, "portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia." The Russian disinformation machine is also linked to promotion of the false story that a protester was paid thousands of dollars to demonstrate at Trump rallies, a claim the Trump campaign later echoed. (More anti-Clinton fake news was generated by Trump associates, as Lee Fang reports today.) Russian hacking also led to the publication of troves of emails from top Democratic officials that became fodder for a range of attacks on Clinton. Last month, the U.S. government, in a statement by director of national intelligence James Clapper and the Department of Homeland Security, said of hacks into the Democratic National Committee, "We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities." The statement added that the Russian hacks "are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process." The Clinton campaign and security experts also linked Russia to the hack of the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta; the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange denied that Russia was involved -- in an interview aired on the RT Russian television network. Although Russia has denied interfering in the election, the Vladimir Putin-controlled Russian media made clear their preference for Trump throughout the general election campaign. Trump has repeatedly expressed his admiration for Putin. Although we can't know for certain whether Russian influence helped tip the election to Trump, it's one more factor that should give GOP electors pause in deciding whether they really owe their allegiance to Trump, or whether allegiance to country should push them to vote for a different candidate. 1. Trump has made clear he will use the presidency to enrich himself, risking the corruption of our democracy.  Finally, and disturbingly, since the election Donald Trump has repeatedly mixed his new role as the incoming U.S. head of state with efforts to advance and promote his businesses. If Trump continued such a course as president, it would fundamentally compromise the integrity of our government, with a president seeking leverage for his corporations in his dealings with foreign governments. Unfortunately, all indications are that Trump has no intention of holding himself to any meaningful standards of integrity in office. In post-election meetings and calls with foreign leaders and nationals, Trump has pushed his business interests. When Trump met with a group of British politicians he pressed them to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Trump believes will block the the view of one of his Scottish golf courses and that he had unsuccessfully sued to prevent. Trump admitted he "might have" raised the wind farm issue with the British delegation. Trump also, according to one report, mentioned on a congratulatory call with Argentina's president, Mauricio Macri, the subject of pending permits for a Trump high-rise building in Buenos Aires. Trump denied the allegation, although there was other reporting that Trump's daughter Ivanka, a top executive in his Trump Organization, also spoke with Macri, and the next day the Trumps' Argentine business partner announced the project was moving ahead. Trump also included Ivanka Trump in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; afterward her jewelry business publicist reached out to reporters to highlight a $10,800 bracelet Ivanka had worn on "60 Minutes." Trump had a post-election meeting with his Indian partners in for a new Trump Towers in Pune, India, a meeting about which Robert S. Stern, a lawyer with expertise in government ethics said, "It already looks like he is using his position as president-elect to promote something in India that would benefit him financially.... It is not presidential -- or at least presidential before him." Pranav R. Bhakta, a former consultant to Trump in India, helpfully told the New York Times that the marketing tie-in was irresistible: "To say, 'I have a Trump flat or residence' -- it's president-elect branded." The Indian partners tweeted out smiling pictures of their meeting with Trump. The Washington Post reported that the week after the election Trump's new hotel in Washington invited "about 100 foreign diplomats, from Brazil to Turkey... to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect's newest hotel." Trump has said that Ivanka Trump and his two adult sons will run his business while Trump runs America. But top White House ethics lawyers for both President Obama and President George W. Bush have said the electoral college should reject Trump unless he sells his business and puts his wealth in a blind trust -- because otherwise his presidency will be on a collision course with the Constitution. Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution prohibits U.S. office holders from accepting "any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state." Former Obama White House lawyer Norm Eisen explained to ThinkProgress that "the founders did not want any foreign payments to the president. Period."  Room rental fees by foreign governments to the Trump hotel in Washington, or any other Trump hotel, would constitute such payments.  Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe told ThinkProgress that violation of this constitutional provision "would qualify as one of the 'high Crimes and Misdemeanors' that would require Trump to be 'removed from Office.'" In other words, from a constitutional perspective, the Trump presidency would be dead on arrival. Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House, offered a similar view of Trump's stance in an appearance on CNN:  "I don't think the electoral college can vote for someone to become president if he's going to be in violation of the Constitution on day one and hasn't assured us he's not in violation." Trump insisted in his New York Times interview that "I don't want there to be a conflict of interest." But he asserted the position that "the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can't have a conflict of interest" and opined that "in theory I could run my business perfectly, and then run the country perfectly." Every signal Trump has given since the election, through his actions, suggests he will not hold himself to any meaningful ethical standard to protect against him using his office, and distorting our national interest, to increase his family's wealth. We as Americans can use the very procedures built into our constitutional system to avoid the inauguration of a man who has proven since election day that is he unfit to be president of the United States. The world has seen kleptocratic leaders who amassed vast fortunes while in office, from Marcos in the Philippines to Mobuto in the Congo to Milosevic in Serbia.  We have seen leaders who pressured the media to report favorably on their governments, today including Putin in Russia and Erdogan in Turkey. We have seen leaders who trade in ethnic and religious hatreds, and who stand by and allow violent supporters to attack critics of their regimes. And we have seen countries have their elections and societies influenced by foreign powers. But we haven't generally wanted these things for our government and our country, and we -- Republicans, Democrats, and others -- have often been strong enough to reject such forces through our democratic processes.  That record is now threatened by the impending inauguration of Donald Trump. Despite these concerns, it's obviously still unlikely that a sufficient number of GOP electors, if any, will vote for someone other than Trump.  There's certainly a good argument that to avoid chaos, we should generally pick the winner, and move ahead, soon after the presidential election, or these things could be fought out in all manner of forums, from courtrooms to city streets, indefinitely. Certainly President Obama has seemed ready to move on since election night. A handful of Democratic electors now say they might vote for someone besides Clinton, perhaps a Republican like Ohio governor John Kasich, as they lobby Republican electors to do the same, but it's unclear if they're getting any traction. Even if a miracle occurred and enough electors came together to deny Trump 270 votes, the matter would go to Congress, whose GOP leaders now seem to have fallen in love with the man so many of them were running away from just weeks ago; Congress might well hand the election to Trump anyway. But electors could still do their job, vote their consciences, and force Congress to make the decision about whether to install Trump. In any case, I'm not arguing what's likely. I'm arguing that we are not powerless. We as Americans can use the very procedures built into our constitutional system to avoid an unprecedented risk to the integrity and safety of our country, to avoiding the inauguration of a man who has proven since election day, if there were any doubt before, that is he unfit to be president of the United States. This article also appears on Republic Report. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

26 ноября, 04:48

Weekend Reading: Hamilton: "The Science of Politics... Has Received Great Improvement..."

**Alexander Hamilton**: _[The Federalist Papers: No. 9][]_: "To the People of the State of New York: >A FIRM Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States, as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection. It is impossible to read the history of the...

24 ноября, 13:01

Демократы призывают свалить Трампа

Противники избранного президента США в Конгрессе пытаются отобрать у него заслуженную победу

23 ноября, 16:14

What #Pet for #Trump's White House?

listdose.com Bond between American Presidents and their pets has helped humanize both the Commander in Chief and animal. What though if the President-Elect has never really had a pet and is not particularly inclined to such a relationship?  American Presidents have almost without exception been associated with a favorite dog, cat or even a more unusual companion. Abraham Lincoln not only had cats, dogs but also goat, pig and turkey among others. (See: "Pomp, Circumstance, Fur: A Quiz on Presidential Pets") If not a pet, then at least US Presidents have celebrated wildlife, particularly Teddy Roosevelt. The Trump household association with animals, at least so far, has been for his sons Donald Jr. and Eric to pose with wildlife they have shot. Hunters' trophies do not qualify as pets. gossipextra.com Judging a Leader by His/Her Pets/Animals: Some rather opinionated quotes are attributed to US Presidents, including the following to Abraham Lincoln, (although it's authenticity is questioned by some): "I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." However, there is no doubt that Abraham Lincoln's moral character, empathy for fellow man and strength as leader was intertwined with his affection and respect for his animals. It is my experience that animal cruelty is a character flaw as likely to target fellow humans. Lack of empathy for animals is a weakness. Failure to recognize animals beyond their immediate utility to us is a failure of vision beyond and within. Donald Trump apparently has never had a pet, or at least one worthy of special mention or affection. Apparently that disinclination for pets, empathy for animals appears to have been passed on to his offspring. There still may be hope for his youngest son Barron, but then if the new President opts to live at Trump Towers in New York City over the White House, the choice of pets may be limited. Nonetheless, from the 1% to the school teacher that lives in rent-controlled housing, a pet cat or dog followed by a pooper scooper is a shared human experience of an overwhelming part of NYC's diverse citizens. Animals as American War Heroes: WikipediA A Presidential pet though is not just about a personal companion. The Commander-in-Chief has responsibility over the animals in the US military that have been part of defense and wars waged. The epic "War Horse" is the reality of our dependence on an animal that charged into combat with us. American combat soldiers were first saved by explosive sniffing dogs and then spent their resources and time to bring these companions back to the US with them after their service of duty had been completed in far away lands. "Cher-Ami" (Dear Friend) was a homing pigeon who saved an entire American "Lost Battalion" during the Battle of the Argonne in WW I. Cher Ami was the last homing pigeon left in the units' "coop" to get a message to US command about the lost battalion through German troops who had surrounded and threatened to exterminate the US unit. The more than 500 Americans were even getting "friendly fire" from other Allied troops who mistook their far away, isolated position as the enemy. Previous efforts to get a message through had all ended with the homing pigeon being shot and killed by the German troops. Cher Ami was the last hope to carry, fly out his message. In her mission SHE was shot, lost an eye and her leg was shot-off, but Cher Ami made it to US command. The American Battalion was no longer lost but saved. Cher Ami was decorated for HER bravery with the "Croix de Guerre." She became a rehabilitated vet as a wooden peg leg was attached in place of the shot-off limb. Cher Ami died a couple of years later in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey but it is worthwhile to remind that she died as an immigrant to America, a hero to her adopted land just like Alexander Hamilton and so many others not born on US soil. Her service to America almost surely saved those more than 500 lives, as compared to the "sacrifice for country" of will be US President Trump who avoided the draft and Vietnam War allegedly due to spurs in his foot. Cher Ami's body is preserved at the Smithsonian, and Trump is destined for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. (To read more about Cher Ami)         Republican, Democrat or Independent, is Trust in Trump Diminished if no Pet? mashable.com My empathy for animals and affection for my pet companions undoubtedly has skewed my view of Donald Trump who seems to share little genuine concern for anything other than "his".... Candidate Trump sought to identify himself with the "ordinary American.' However, "poorly educated" or college degree, we Americans overwhelmingly share an affinity for our animals. Beyond our pets, we are also concerned about their treatment, including animal cruelty and poaching beyond America's borders. (See: "International Prosecution of Crimes Against Culture, Environment, & Animals?") Perhaps if Trump had recognized America's love affair with its pets, he would have also opted for another sales enterprise - "Trump Bird Feed" or "The Donald Pooper-Scooper," better than "Trump Steaks." Animals can be of great utility to mankind/womankind. Many Americans though have come to see them beyond such utility or branding of their own identity, but as individuals deserving our affection, admiration, judicial protection and/or identity as "global citizens" (See: "Are Animals Global Citizens?") For an incoming US President that seems to rage against much of the rest of the world perhaps the "global citizen" identity is not a plus. Nonetheless, most Americans judge among our citizens and the peoples of the rest of the world by how they treat animals. Thus, it may be in President Trump's interest, at least as brand, if he now identifies a pet for his White House.    ********************************* To inspire the new President, here are some favorite songs about pet dogs, particularly "I Love my Dog" by Cat Stevens, (a Muslim convert), and words could not be truer:  "All he asks from me is the food to give him strength/All he ever needs is love and that he knows he'll get, and that's from a CAT!" My first true pet was also my/our Dog Joky, who was also an immigrant, that my Mom, Dr. Aziza, and Father, Dr. Nedzib, treasured as part of the Family. @MuhamedSacirbey -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

23 ноября, 15:21

Clinton's lead in the popular vote surpasses 2 million

A half-dozen electors, those who will formally cast votes for Trump and Clinton on Dec. 19, are pushing to block Trump from winning a majority of votes.

23 ноября, 08:01

Партия, соратники, семья: кто стоит ближе к Трампу

Внимание мировой общественности приковано сейчас к кадровым решениям политически неопытного Дональда Трампа. События последних нескольких дней не оставляют сомнений - за влияние на избранного президента идет борьба среди нескольких политических сил

22 ноября, 13:09

Democratic presidential electors revolt against Trump

The Electoral College could see a historic number of 'faithless electors.'

22 ноября, 02:29

Meet the 'Hamilton Electors' Hoping for an Electoral College Revolt

The presidential election officially ends in December once the members vote. Two want to convince their colleagues to withhold the White House from Donald Trump.

21 ноября, 17:14

The Electors' Responsibility

So far as the United States Constitution is concerned, the presidential election occurs next month, when the members of the electoral college cast their votes. As those individuals ponder their vote, there are a few things that they, particularly the conservatives among them, should bear in mind about the powers and duties the United States Constitution has assigned them. The framers rejected direct popular election of presidents, fearing that it would attract demagogues. They also refused to let other governmental bodies or officials choose the president, fearing that it would invite corruption and foreign interference. And so they erected a buffer institution, strikingly similar to a jury: a body of citizens assembled for the occasion, called upon to exercise their independent judgment, composed as a bulwark against demagoguery, official intrigue, and foreign meddling. "Each State shall appoint," provides article two of the Constitution, "a number of electors" equal to its congressional delegation, who "shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons"; because a given state's electors might not be unanimous, "they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and the number of votes for each," which is then transmitted under seal to Congress. Subject to a majority requirement, the "person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President." Alexander Hamilton, whose prominence this year has turned out to be unexpectedly timely, explained this system in one of his contributions to the Federalist Papers. The purpose of the electoral college, he wrote in Federalist 68, was to ensure that "the sense of the people should operate in the choice" of the president. "This end will be answered," he said, "by committing the right of making it, not to any pre-established body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular juncture." The composition of the electors, Hamilton wrote, would make them "most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station" of president. "Acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation," and subject to "a judicious combination of all reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice," they would "be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations." The electors could therefore be expected to appoint to the presidency "characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue." They would make sure "that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications," turning away anyone whose only qualifications were "talents for low intrigue" or "the little arts of popularity." They would also keep out the stooges of hostile governments, being the best "practicable obstacle" to "the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils" by "raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union." The key to all of this was the independence of the electors. The framers, Hamilton explained, "have not made the appointment of the President depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes." Instead, "the people of America" would be represented by a group of individuals assembled "for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment." They must vote separately, in their own states. This "detached and divided situation," Hamilton wrote, "will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place." Though quaint in the electronic age, the precaution highlights the importance attached to their personal judgment. Like jurors, they would be chosen under rules set by the state legislatures, but they would not be directly controlled by the legislatures, or by anyone else. They would be "free from any sinister bias" that might "mislead them from their duty." This year's panel of 538 electors will vote on December 19. They are not bound to vote for the candidate of their party. If a small number of electors vote for neither of the leading candidates, then the election would go to the House of Representatives, which could choose any of the top five vote-earners in the electoral college. As they commence what Hamilton called their "deliberations" and "investigations," let them recall the framers' expectation that they would reflect the sense of the people, that they would not choose a person lacking the requisite qualifications. And as they decide what weight to give the November 8 results, let them recall the dangers the electoral college was designed to prevent. Mindful of demagoguery, let them consider a certain candidate's appeals to the population's worst instincts with hateful, inflammatory words. Mindful of governmental intrigue, let them consider a certain chief law enforcement officer's abuse of his authority to influence the outcome. Mindful of foreign tampering, let them consider a certain country's hacking of our computer systems, its avowed connections to one of the campaigns, the celebrations in the Kremlin of its candidate's success. The members of the electoral college are not only free to use their independent judgment; they are required to, if they wish to remain faithful to the framers' design. In rendering their "verdict," let them recall that responsibility for this life-or-death decision lies with them alone. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

21 ноября, 16:56

The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President

The founders envisioned electors as people who could prevent an irresponsible demagogue from taking office.