Friday, July 27, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Constitutionally forbidden to run for President without Congressional Approval?

Giuliani accepts his KnighthoodQueen Elizabeth II of England Knighted Rudy Giuliani as a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) in February of 2002 in recognition of his leadership during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.

Now let us contrast that with Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution:
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.

George H W Bush was also granted Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath Knighthood, or GCB in 1993, after his Presidency.

Further very interesting reading can be found in the proposed Titles of Nobility Amendment to the United States Constitution.

After further research into this issue, after seeing some questions to the validity or application of this clause in relation to Giuliani's candidacy, I've come up with some additional information.

Here is a brief description of the order and some links that further describe it.
The Order of the British Empire
  • Motto: For God and the Empire
  • Date Created: 1917
  • Levels: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (Post Nominal Letters: GBE) Knight/Dame Commander (Post Nominal Letters: KBE/DBE) Commander (Post Nominal Letters: CBE) Officer (Post Nominal Letters: OBE) Member (Post Nominal Letters: MBE)
This order was instituted by George V to recognize all levels of service to the country during the first 'total' war. It has evolved to embrace service and achievement in all fields. The Order has a military division and a civil division. The chapel of the order is in St Paul's Cathedral.

From a CNN transcript of news coverage of the event on February 13th, 2002:
Well, if you follow the protocol established by Buckingham Palace -- and they set the rules -- you are not suppose to call him sir here. He is not a British subject. He is an American citizen. He was not dubbed with a sword in a formal knighthood ceremony. He was simply presented with a medal.

There are very real complications in all of this. Let me give you some examples. You mentioned earlier that former U.S. president George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and I should add Jimmy Carter also received honorary knighthoods from the queen. Suppose for example that during their investiture, a former president of the United States got down on his knees before a foreign sovereign, that just is not protocol, and that's why you have this different level of knighthood in which the awardee, the recipient, today's case being Mr. Giuliani, receives a medal. He is entitled to wear that medal on formal occasions with a white tie. He can sign his name, Rudolph Giuliani, KBE -- Knight of the British Empire. He is not a sir however. He can not be called a sir, should not be called a sir, even here in Britain, because he is not a British subject. He is an American citizen.
With that in mind, we can take into consideration Section 7342 of the US Code entitled "Receipt and disposition of foreign gifts and decorations".

With that information in mind, it could be argued that the Knighthood was granted simply as a decoration in recognition for meritorious service, and thus falls under the Congressionally approved definition of decoration as listed in the US Code.

I have also read that the Justice Department specifically found that such Knighthood falls under that code and thus does not violate the Emoluments clause of the US Constitution, but I have not yet been able to find any information to verify that claim.

There are a number of arguments on both sides of this issue concerning the will and intent of the founding fathers in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 as well as concerning the validity of the ratification of the original 13th Amendment and its alleged cover-up after vital documents were lost in the War of 1812 which included the burning of the White House and other government buildings in 1814.

Simply stating, there is currently nothing stating that Giuliani could not, as a private citizen, accept the title of Knighthood. The issue currently would revolve around the implication and definition of Knighthood in relation to his possible Presidency. The emolument clause does not apply to state officials or private citizens, only Federal Government officials.

It should also be noted that as a US citizen, Giuliani cannot be referred to as "Sir Rudolph Giuliani", nor can any other person who is not a citizen of the UK or Commonwealth be referred to as "Sir". They may, however, use the initials of their honorary knighthood, such as KBE, after their names.

All in all it's an interesting topic, but one which I doubt will be of much concern to Giuliani's candidacy. I think there are far more important issues to be raised in regard to Giuliani's fitness as a Presidential candidate and we should focus instead on those issues rather than be distracted by a footnote of arguably historical interest.


scourge99 said...

And guess what happens if people make a big fuss about this???

He can simply relinquish the title.

Problem solved.

Largo said...

Actually, the more I look into this, the more I see that there already exist rules which make the "honorary" title one which falls within the guidelines of existing US Code and which are supposedly backed up by the Department of Justice.

I think it is essentially a non-issue at this point and we should return to addressing the other more valid and pressing concerns about his Presidential candidacy.

nytexan said...

Interesting. Thanks for coming to my blog and pointing me here. My question was one of curiosity and your post has provided very useful information.

Anonymous said...

The real thing or honorary this politician should not accept any medals or status from an English monarchy. George Washington and the Founding Fathers would all turn over in thier graves if they knew this was going on today. The english monarchy are inbred tyrants now today as they were in 1776. Lets get something straight here: the english are not our friends.