Interesting Aspects of the Debt Ceiling War

I agree with the vast majority, that the whole debt ceiling battle is merely a horse and pony show. They will huff, and puff, and raise it just like they always do. However, some rather interesting aspects have shown forth.

The Senate cancels 4th of July recess amongst claims that they shouldn’t go home with such a crisis on their hands. When everyone knows a single week is going to make very little difference on the matter – this is merely a political play to call a bluff – concede or lose your holiday.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/30/news/economy/senate_recess/index.htm?cnn=yes

But I find this statement involving the potential use of a “trump” card by the Executive branch to be even more interesting. Furthermore, it potentially has far more reaching consequences. An invocation of the 14th Amendment.

“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.”

“Even Geithner, at a Politico breakfast last month, whipped out a copy of the Constitution and read the 14th Amendment aloud. “This is the important thing -‘shall not be questioned,’ ” he said.”

http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/30/news/economy/debt_ceiling_constitution/index.htm?source=cnn_bin

The key question will be whether the debts are authorized by law or not.

The part I find =interesting is that they focus on the “shall not be questioned”. If they successfully argue their case and their interpretation of those words and their strength on such an issue. It will be much harder for justices to diminish the 2nd Amendment’s “shall not be infringed” clause.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. One of the commenters there had an interesting point:

    It’s funny that the author quotes the constitution “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.” and gives emphases to “shall not be questioned” BUT IGNORES: “authorized by law”. If the debt ceiling law prevents debt borrowing above a certain limit, then it is NOT authorized and therefore NOT valid public debt.

    I would also add that the debt ceiling doesn’t “question” any debt that has been incurred, it prevents the .gov from incurring new debt. That would seem to be Constitutional to me.

  2. There is a great deal of unclarity in the reading of this clause of this amendment. The questions for a court to decide (if the politicians decide to continue this foolish battle) will be: Did Congress authorize the institutions and government organizations and entitlement programs, and are the financial outlays necessary to pay for these things “authorized by law” in a way that is consistent with the wording of this clause? On the one hand, I can see people doubting that the expenditures are justified; on the other hand, Congress set up the programs and institutions that are spending the money, so it would be possible to argue that unless these programs or organizations are somehow suddenly not “authorized by law,” then the gov’t has the authority to spend the money.


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