an unanticipated consequence of
Jack M. Balkin
Jack Balkin: jackbalkin at yahoo.com
Bruce Ackerman bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
Ian Ayres ian.ayres at yale.edu
Mary Dudziak mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
Joey Fishkin joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Abbe Gluck abbe.gluck at yale.edu
Mark Graber mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
Stephen Griffin sgriffin at tulane.edu
Bernard Harcourt harcourt at uchicago.edu
Scott Horton shorto at law.columbia.edu
Andrew Koppelman akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
Marty Lederman msl46 at law.georgetown.edu
Sanford Levinson slevinson at law.utexas.edu
David Luban david.luban at gmail.com
Gerard Magliocca gmaglioc at iupui.edu
Jason Mazzone mazzonej at illinois.edu
Linda McClain lmcclain at bu.edu
John Mikhail mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
Frank Pasquale pasquale.frank at gmail.com
Nate Persily npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
Deborah Pearlstein dpearlst at princeton.edu
Rick Pildes rick.pildes at nyu.edu
Alice Ristroph alice.ristroph at shu.edu
Neil Siegel siegel at law.duke.edu
Brian Tamanaha btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
Mark Tushnet mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
Adam Winkler winkler at ucla.edu
Some Democrats in Congress, including Steny Hoyer, have calledfor President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to resolve the debt ceiling crisis.
What they don't realize is that Obama has already invoked it in effect. Despite his statement that his lawyers told him it wasn't a "winning argument."
What? Obama has already told bond holders that there will be no default on bonds. He plans to use existing revenues to pay off interest on the debt and other vested obligations. This is required by section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Whatever he says in public, his lawyers have almost certainly told him something like that.
But that means less money for other government services, including social safety net programs like Medicare.
This in turn will place enormous pressure on Congress to raise the debt ceiling, which it should have done in the first place.
By requiring a priority rule for payment of bondholders, Section 4 of the 14th Amendment forces the President's hand, which leads to a partial government shutdown, which leads to a political resolution of the crisis.