Monday, January 2, 2017

Trump and the Emolument Clause

The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary is our best source for defining the words used in the earliest articles of the United States Constitution.  If we are going to pursue the original intent of the document written in 1787, it is only logical to pursue the original definitions of the words used in that document.  Emolument is a term that appears in the U.S. Constitution’s first seven articles a total of three times.  The word “Compensation” also only appears three times in the original Constitution.
Emolument is defined by the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as: 1. The profit arising from office or employment; that which is received as a compensation for services, or which is annexed to the possession of office, as salary, feels and perquisites.  2. Profit; advantage; gains in general.
Compensation is defined by the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary as: 1. That which is given or received as an equivalent for services, debt, want, loss, or suffering; amends; remuneration; recompense.  All other debts may compensation find.  The pleasures of life are no compensation for the loss of divine favor and protection.  2. In law, a set-off; the payment of a debt by a credit of equal amount.
In the Constitution, Compensation appears in:

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