Sweet Justice that the Amendment to the Constitution granting full citizenship rights to former slaves, which yesteryear’s Republicans passed, and is stoutly opposed by todays perverted version of Republicans who wish they could repeal it.
This time from modern day Republicans bent on destroying the country.
Growing increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for a deal that would raise the debt ceiling, Democratic senators are revisiting a solution to the crisis that rests on a simple proposition: The debt ceiling itself is unconstitutional.
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law… shall not be questioned,” reads the 14th Amendment.
“This is an issue that’s been raised in some private debate between senators as to whether in fact we can default, or whether that provision of the Constitution can be held up as preventing default,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), an attorney, told The Huffington Post Tuesday. “I don’t think, as of a couple weeks ago, when this was first raised, it was seen as a pressing option. But I’ll tell you that it’s going to get a pretty strong second look as a way of saying, ‘Is there some way to save us from ourselves?'”
By declaring the debt ceiling unconstitutional, the White House could continue to meet its financial obligations, leaving Tea Party-backed Republicans in the difficult position of arguing against the plain wording of the Constitution. Bipartisan negotiators are debating the size of the cuts, now in the trillions, that will come along with raising the debt ceiling.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said that the constitutional solution puts the question in its proper context — that the debate is over paying past debts, not over future spending.
“The way everybody talks about this is that we need to raise the debt ceiling. What we’re really saying is, ‘We have to pay our bills,'” Murray said. The 14th Amendment approach is “fascinating,” she added.
The White House referred questions on the constitutionality of the debt ceiling to the Treasury Department. Treasury declined to comment…
The 14th Amendment became law in the wake of the Civil War, pushed by a Republican Congress eager to extend citizenship rights to freed slaves. But it also included a section dealing with federal debt: The government wanted to make clear to the market that even though loans to the Confederacy would not be paid back, any loans made to the U.S. government were still good.
In 1935, the Supreme Court held that despite the Civil War context, the amendment clearly referred to all federal debt.
“While [the 14th Amendment] was undoubtedly inspired by the desire to put beyond question the obligations of the government issued during the Civil War, its language indicates a broader connotation,” the majority wrote in Perry v. U.S. “We regard it as confirmatory of a fundamental principle which applies as well to the government bonds in question, and to others duly authorized by the Congress as to those issued before the amendment was adopted. Nor can we perceive any reason for not considering the expression ‘the validity of the public debt’ as embracing whatever concerns the integrity of the public obligations.”
The law at issue, which tried to override the validity of a bond offering, “went beyond the congressional power,” the Court ruled, setting a precedent that has not been overturned.
Because the government borrows based on its full faith, Congress doesn’t have the authority to undermine that confidence by reneging on its obligation to its lenders, the ruling declared.
“To say that the Congress may withdraw or ignore that pledge is to assume that the Constitution contemplates a vain promise; a pledge having no other sanction than the pleasure and convenience of the pledgor,” reads the opinion, delivered by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes. “This Court has given no sanction to such a conception of the obligations of our government.”
President Barack Obama, who taught constitutional law, hasn’t been afraid to assert executive authority. Most recently, he issued what amounted to a legal analysis defending the White House position that the military’s operations in Libya were not in violation of the War Powers Act…