Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bill Clinton Says Debt Ceiling Unconstitutional

It was nearly a week ago on Monday evening when Bill Clinton gave an interview to the National Memo, . However, it only got picked up by the New York Times yesterday and still has not really gone national.

So, he says he "would not hesitate" to use the constitutional option, that the 4th section of the 14th amendment overrides the debt ceiling and he "would dare" the courts to stop him, which would take a lot of time. Obama has said his lawyers say this is "not a winning case," but has continued to refuse to unequivocally rule out using this tool. The article notes many consequences, including a possible impeachment by the House, not to be implemented by the Senate. It also notes that not bringing this forward makes it more likely that there will be a deal, which may be a lousy deal. In any case, Clinton's waying in on this is important.


TheTrucker said...

Clinton's "weighing in on this" is not good politics for Obama. Should Obama exercise this option (which in the opinion of some is not actually optional but necessary), then Obama looks less presidential, taking his lead from Clinton.

The majority of the people do not need Clinton to tell them or Obama what is necessary or right. Clinton is, however, quite right. The president cannot allow the US to become a banana republic due to a bunch of bat shit crazies in the House, even if ignoring or challenging the debt limit law means his impeachment. The "right" thing for the nation might well be to allow the morons to have their way in order to prove to the most blind stumbling ignoramuses of the nation that Republicans are lying pigs, thus resulting in their permanent disbarment from the political discourse. But that is politics. The nation may not survive it.

At what point does what the Republicans are doing become TREASON?

Barkley Rosser said...

Actually Obama will need the support of some establishment Dems like Clinton if he is to do this. The House will probably try to impeach if he does, and even many Dems will run scared from this approach, reasonable as it ultimately is.

TheTrucker said...


The reality of the situation is not reliant on the 14th amendment. The reality is that a debt limit law enacted by a previous legislature is subject to modification by ALL laws enacted by the current legislature. When the legislature enacted the 2011 budget and that budget was signed by the president on April 15th, the elder budget limit law was implicitly repealed.

Quite simply, no legislature can prevent subsequent legislatures from enacting laws that are in conflict. That sort of thing is called legislative entrenchment and the courts have held it to be unconstitutional. Only laws made a part of the constitution are safe from alteration by the sitting legislature. And in all statutory cases the acts of the sitting legislature are operative.

This does not resolve the 2012 budget problem because the debt limit law (now trumped) is irrelevant. If the parties cannot agree on a budget, then the government shuts down. In this case there is no current "debt limit" law in force. And if congress wants a new one then they must get it past the veto pen of the president.