Stuff in My In-Box: Debt Ceiling Embroglio
I stumbled over this in my inbox this morning. Names redacted to protect the innocent/guilty. You’ll be hearing more about this as we get closer to August.
Subject: The Debt Limit Statute and the 14th Amendment
Interesting case interpreting a provision of the 14th Amendment that states:
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Looks like there are some tea partiers who believe in strict constructionism that now have a real issue with the clear meaning of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment.
Subject: RE: The Debt Limit Statute and the 14th Amendment
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, … shall not be questioned.”
That’s a pretty strong statement in favor of extending the debt ceiling – that extending the ceiling is required by that clause. In fact the notion of the debt ceiling itself may be unconstitutional in the face of that clause. The debt ceiling is unconstitutional? Otherwise, you’d be going way back in time ex post facto and deeming expenditures illegal (ie, not “authorized by law”). The debt ceiling was not being exceeded at the time, but now has been, so therefore that portion of the debt wasn’t authorized by law, they say??? Hogwash, and probably impossible to itemize like that. It’s the debt ceiling law itself that has to go.
This recalls the word play involving the second amendment language. Are they going to say the line I quoted above is just meaningless preamble? Like the militia portion of the second amendment?
Or are those who would not extend the debt limit saying that the debt is valid and won’t be questioned – but we’re not paying it! Insurrection via financial attack rather than an armed one? When you effectively destroy the government’s ability to operate, what is the difference?
I would think that implicit in the notion of a valid, unquestioned debt, would be the ordinary and uniform maintenance of that debt via the normal interest payments to the creditors. You can’t divorce the debt from the consequences and concepts that are part and parcel of “debt.”
At least, it would be funny to throw that clause in the their faces and ask on TV how do you not extend the debt ceiling, when the Constitution says the public debt is valid and shall not be questioned? It sez what it sez, right “strict constructionist?”
Then watch them hem and haw about how that clause was only put in to eliminate claims on the gov’t for the loss of slaves, and doesn’t speak to the debt ceiling issue.
Then you can ask them if they claim to be a “strict constructionist,” and what do they think that means?
Who knew how to pronounce that!?
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 4:43 pm and is filed under Constitutional Law, Financial Crisis, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.