July 19, 2011

Yes, I realize Obama doesn't allow prior statements to constrain new actions…

…but should he try to use the 14th amendment to get around the separation of powers — and that trial balloon has been floated, and is garnering agreement from at least one former lawyer best known for a shrill wife and for slipping a bent cock into the mouth of an eager young intern before blowing a load on her dressthis bit from the Treasury General Counsel, George Madison, is going to be difficult to walk back.

Not that the President won’t of course. Just that it will add to the surreal nature of the last two + years should the Messiah choose to go that route:

Treasury’s General Counsel George Madison submitted to the New York Times today the following letter to the editor:

July 8, 2011

The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

To the Editor:

Contrary to Professor Laurence Tribe’s assertion (Op-Ed, July 8), Secretary Geithner has never argued that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows the President to disregard the statutory debt limit. As Professor Tribe notes, the Constitution explicitly places the borrowing authority with Congress, not the President.

The Secretary has cited the 14th Amendment’s command that “[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States… shall not be questioned” in support of his strong conviction that Congress has an obligation to ensure we are able to honor the obligations of the United States. Like every previous Secretary of the Treasury who has confronted the question, Secretary Geithner has always viewed the debt limit as a binding legal constraint that can only be raised by Congress.


George W. Madison
General Counsel

Of course, Obama has dismissed wishes of generals and other counsel, so — if he senses the American people might be willing to go along with his “emergency measures” to save them — I expect he’ll at least suggest that such a walkback is possible.

At which point, it’s time to pull out the tri-pointed hats and the black powder.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:13am

Comments (10)

  1. This is some decidedly weird territory. Did the leftists teach us how to think this way when they were yammering on about George Bush shredding the Constitution (even as we understood those same leftists could care less about what the Constitution has to say)?

    Thus he pushed it so far that one of his imperial guardsmen — retaining some residual sense of what he had lost and fearful about what he was about to lose — shoots the emperor down like just another Karzai brother and the emperor with his dying breath says “See? Not so exceptionally different after all, is it, you stupid Americans?”

    And we end up asking ourselves eight decades too late, where was that gap? How had it come to this pass? What led a majority of a population to be incapable of seeing the man who aims at their highest office for who he is? Sure, some mistakes are unavoidable, but this mistake, this error among all others?

  2. Obama has dismissed wishes of generals and other counsel

    George Madison, meet Doug Elmendorf.


  3. The Lawrence Tribe op-ed is here and a further piece responding to some reactions is here.

  4. Funny how the part of the 14th that reads “authorized by law ” always seems to be lost in the ellipsis.

  5. whatever it takes to neutralize the corporate jet menace, people

    Whatever. It. Takes.

  6. If we had a Republican president, the WH Press corps would currently have only one question for him: Will the president explicitly disavow using the 14th amendment to go around congress? We would hear that question a thousand times, even after he specifically disavowed using the 14th, and we would probably be hearing grumbles for years after, about how he was even considering using the 14th.

  7. Geoffb – “authorized by law” is left out almost every time. It is breath-taking in its dishonesty. Yet I am no longer surprised.

  8. I realize that the climate change zealots have been losing ground lately, but even so, it seems prudent to stay away from such terms as “breath-taking.”

    The Proggs can be awfully literal-minded at times.

  9. Funny how the part of the 14th that reads “authorized by law ” always seems to be lost in the ellipsis.

    “Law? Whose law!? I WON!”

  10. There was one who included the phrase and then argued that “obligations” were the same as “debts”. That was the argument that Tribe took apart in the second piece I linked.