Article I, Section 9 (8) of the Constitution says that, "No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States..." Nobility is defined as, "A class of persons distinguished by high birth or rank; aristocracy; noble rank or status (Congress may not grant titles of nobility)." The Founders were obviously referring to titles granted by the crown to barons, dukes and duchesses wherein they were granted income, property, servants and the protection of soldiers.

So where did the Congress get the authority to grant titles of nobility to former presidents? Among others, five living former presidents have been granted the title, income, offices, staff and Secret Service protection for life. How is that not granting titles of nobility?

Adding unconstitutional insult to taxpayer injury, President Clinton's arrogance of power followed him out of the White House and, like he so often abused power beyond reason, now he's stretching the title of nobility beyond the hilt.

Indeed, Clinton cost hundreds of millions more than any other presidency while in office and got away with it. Why should he cost more than the other former presidents combined, not only in office space by occupying the entire 56th floor of the Carnegie Hall Tower in midtown Manhattan, but in the projected millions in retirement benefits and Secret Service protection while he paints the nation and the world unabated?

No one should begrudge former presidents all due respect and a reasonable retirement, but they are not the only ones abusing the Constitution. There are many former Senators and Representatives living large by their titles, power, and income in the unfortunate new era of American aristocracy which includes too many former appointed government officials.

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center