Any thoughts on whether it would require a special ActofCongress to authorize President Obama's acceptingthe NobelPeace Prize?

Scarberry, Mark Mark.Scarberry at pepperdine.edu
Fri Oct 9 14:50:27 PDT 2009


If consent were required, President Obama would have a duty under his oath of office to decline the prize absent congressional approval. Not all constitutional duties are justiciable. I suppose he'd rely on OLC.
 
Mark Scarberry
Pepperdine

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From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Miller, Darrell (mille2di)
Sent: Fri 10/9/2009 9:48 PM
To: Nareissa L. Smith; Volokh, Eugene; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special ActofCongress to authorize President Obama's acceptingthe NobelPeace Prize?


The proceduralist in me wonders who would have standing to sue, assuming such consent was required.
 
Wilson (R-SC) v. Obama ?!
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From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu [conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Nareissa L. Smith [nsmith at fcsl.edu]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 3:52 PM
To: Volokh, Eugene; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act ofCongress to authorize President Obama's accepting the NobelPeace Prize?


I think that what Paul, Steve,and Doug are saying is sound.   But if we consider Eugene's point for academic debate, I think the question is whether the Nobel selection committee - while selected by the parliament - is an "agent of a foreign state."   Is it?  All we know is that they are appointed, but what is the relationship between the two bodies beyond that?  Moreover, even assuming some sort of relationship, if the gift is not directly from the state, does that end the matter, or is there a sort of "state action" doctrine that applies in such situations?  If not, would our regular state action doctrine be used?  If so, we would likely need more facts to make a determination.
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From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu [conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Volokh, Eugene [VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 3:38 PM
To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act ofCongress to authorize President Obama's accepting the NobelPeace Prize?



               Evidence of well-established practices can indeed be pretty significant; but if it's just two data points, from over a century after the constitutional provision was written, would it really be that weighty?

 

From: Heyman, Steve [mailto:Sheyman at kentlaw.edu] 
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 12:24 PM
To: Paul Finkelman; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu; Volokh, Eugene
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act ofCongress to authorize President Obama's accepting the NobelPeace Prize?

 

Both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson received the prize while in office.  At Roosevelt's request, Congress passed two statutes regarding the disposition of the prize money he received -- the statutes that Maribel just circulated (34 Stat. 1241 (1907) and 40 Stat. 899 (1918).  But I don't see any statutes authorizing either President to receive the prize.  The fact that Congress passed the 1907 statute regarding the disposition of the funds clearly shows that they did not believe any consent was required under the Constitution for the President to receive the award.

Steve

Steven J. Heyman
Professor of Law
Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 W. Adams Street
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 906-5228
sheyman at kentlaw.edu



-----Original Message-----
From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu on behalf of Paul Finkelman
Sent: Fri 10/9/2009 2:16 PM
To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu; EugeneVolokh
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act ofCongress to authorize President Obama's accepting the NobelPeace Prize?

It did not when Teddy Roosevelt accepted it

----
Paul Finkelman
President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law
Albany Law School
80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208

518-445-3386 (p)
518-445-3363 (f)

paul.finkelman at albanylaw.edu

www.paulfinkelman.com

--- On Fri, 10/9/09, Volokh, Eugene <VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu> wrote:


From: Volokh, Eugene <VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu>
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act of Congress to authorize President Obama's accepting the Nobel Peace Prize?
To: "conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu" <conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu>
Date: Friday, October 9, 2009, 3:07 PM








               Sorry, should have mentioned this explicitly in the earlier message; as best I can tell, the Committee that selects the Peace Prize laureate is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.  Does that make the award be one from a foreign State?  Likewise, I would think the identity of the person providing the award would matter in some measure; sure, it's only symbolic, but this clause suggests that symbolism is important - it applies to Titles as well as Emoluments and presents.  And if it's the Norwegian Prime Minister handing out the award, either as a representative of the King or of Norway, I'd think the award would still be coming from a King or foreign State.

               I should stress that I by no means want to deny the President the Peace Prize.  I think the decision reflects that the Peace Prize is a political statement, not an award for actual signal accomplishment on the path to peace - I much hope that President Obama can promote peace, and if he does I'll applaud him for it (of course unless the peace is bought at too high a price), but it seems to me that his steps so far have been in the hope, intention, and planning phases and not in the actual accomplishment phase.  But now that he's gotten it, he should certainly be able to accept it.  The only question is whether he would need Congressional approval, approval that I'm sure would be forthcoming if it is sought.

               Eugene




From: Sanford Levinson [mailto:SLevinson at law.utexas.edu]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 12:00 PM
To: Volokh, Eugene; conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: RE: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act of Congress to authorize President Obama's accepting the Nobel Peace Prize?


This is a neat exam question, but isn't the answer that it is hyperliteral to say that it applies to accepting a prize that is simploy handed to the recipient by the King or Prince even if the prize in no way can be attributed to said king or prince?  The prize comes from the Nobel Trust.  Presumably, even if one is a hyper-literalist, then the King of Norway could simply ask the Norwegian Prime Minister to give President Obama the Prize.



sandy




From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu [conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Volokh, Eugene [VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 1:45 PM
To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act of Congress to authorize President Obama's accepting the Nobel Peace Prize?


               Any thoughts on whether it would require a special Act of Congress to authorize President Obama's accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, as per "[N]o 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"?

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