Fundamentalism refers to a belief in, and strict adherence to a set of basic principles (often religious in nature), a reaction to perceived doctrinal compromises with modern social and political life. Wikipedia.
The idea of using the category fundamentalism to describe some of the constitutional discussions tangential to Obama Conspiracy Theories came to me after reading an article about ConstitutionWatch.org filing a lawsuit saying Hillary Clinton was ineligible to be Secretary of State. Here’s the section from the Constitution:
No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time: and no person holding any office under the United States, shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office.
The Washington Post reports:
In Clinton’s case, during her current term in the Senate, which began in January 2007, cabinet salaries were increased from $186,600 to $191,300. This situation has arisen before, most famously in the case called “The Saxbe Fix,” but it involves a controversial, somewhat tortured reading of the Sacred Document.
That “fix” came in 1973, when President Nixon nominated Ohio Sen. William Saxbe (R) to be attorney general after the famed “Saturday Night Massacre” during the Watergate scandal. Saxbe was in the Senate in 1969 when the AG’s pay was raised.
Congress lowered Saxbe’s salary to pre-1969 levels, and Saxbe took office. But the Constitutional fundamentalists, ignoring the obvious intent of the Constitution to prevent a particular abuse, cling to the letter of the document with an outcome never intended.
Another case is the humorous argument that George Washington was ineligible to be president.
A mindless literalism appears among the nObama when they say that an 18th century Swiss jurist de Vattel’s work, Le Droit des Gens. ou Principes de la Loi Naturelle, appliques a la conduite & aux affaires des Nations & des Souverains, is written into the US Constitution because the phrase “The Law of Nations” appears therein (and that is a translation of a bit of Vattel’s French title).