The 14th Amendment and the Debt

By:  Charles Scaliger
07/12/2011
       
The 14th Amendment and the Debt

The topic of the14th Amendment of the United States Constitution is continuing to stir debate in Washington, with those who favor increasing the debt limit at any cost raising the specter of President Obama simply overruling Congress and authorizing the issuance of new debt without the consent of lawmakers. According to this storyline, the president need only invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” If Congress refuses to abide by its constitutional obligation to ensure government debts are paid, argue certain of Obama’s supporters, then the president would be justified in simply imposing his will on Congress to ensure that the 14th Amendment’s prohibition of government default is honored.

The topic of the14th Amendment of the United States Constitution is continuing to stir debate in Washington, with those who favor increasing the debt limit at any cost raising the specter of President Obama simply overruling Congress and authorizing the issuance of new debt without the consent of lawmakers. According to this storyline, the president need only invoke Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” If Congress refuses to abide by its constitutional obligation to ensure government debts are paid, argue certain of Obama’s supporters, then the president would be justified in simply imposing his will on Congress to ensure that the 14th Amendment’s prohibition of government default is honored.

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