Friday, September 22, 2006

Lindsey Graham cannot serve both in Congress and as a military judge

From The State:

It is unconstitutional for Sen. Lindsey Graham to serve as a member of Congress and a military judge at the same time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled.

Graham, R-S.C., is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Standby Reserve, and is assigned as a reserve judge to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals.

The decision Wednesday came after Airman 1st Class Charles M. Lane, who was convicted of wrongful use of cocaine during a special court-martial, challenged Graham's qualification to serve on the appellate court, saying it was a conflict of interest.

"We conclude that a member of Congress may not hold the office of appellate judge on a court of Criminal Appeals," the panel said in its decision.

The opinion of the court can be found here.

The Incompatibility Clause of the Constitution provides that "no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office." The issue before the Court was whether the assignment of a Member of Congress to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals is proper under the Constitution. The Court concluded that the assignment was inappropriate because of the clear violation of the Incompatibility Clause.

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