"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."Several law professors have recently analyzed the Constitutional aspects of the debt ceiling crisis.
See As Debt-Ceiling Crisis Looms, Dorf and Buchanan Urge the President to Take the "Least Unconstitutional" Option.
In our view, the House of Representatives has no legal option on raising the debt ceiling -- they must raise it to finance laws in force, otherwise they are calling the validity of the public debt into question, contrary to Section 4 of the 14th Amendment. They MUST pay these bills.
A failure to do so is prima facie illegal in terms of the U.S. Constitution by the very fact that it puts the executive branch of government into a position where no Constitutional options are left open to the executive branch in fulfilling Constitutional duties and where an unConstitutional situation results because of a basic failure of the House of Representatives to do its job as the Constitution provides.
The House is currently trying to do an end run around the Constitutionally set legislative process, and its conspiring ringleaders should in our opinion be strongly punished for doing so as "conspiring against rights", which is a criminal violation of 18 USC § 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights. What the House is doing now is beyond their powers, and therefore they have no immunity for it against criminal prosecution -- so our opinion.
The President is Constitutionally obligated by law to pay debts, salaries, and pay for government programs legally in force as a matter of law, but can not do so Constitutionally if a debt ceiling is imposed by Congress that makes it impossible for the executive branch to make all the required payments.
Abraham Lincoln was put in this position and invoked emergency executive powers, bypassing Congress, and that was correct. But Obama likely does not have the character strength of an Abraham Lincoln.
In any case, that is why reductions in spending by the federal government -- if they are to occur -- must ONLY occur via normal legislation of both houses of Congress and not by unilateral extortionist runs by the House acting outside its powers, as if the Senate did not exist, and is if the House ran the nation.
Any attempt in so-called pending "negotiations" of the House with the President on the debt ceiling to bypass the Senate is doomed to failure. That is not the way the Constitution set up the legislative system. The House must go through Senate in legislation, any and all legislation. That's the law.
The present shutdown crisis is what inexorably happens when Congress and especially the House of Representatives is filled with "American Idol"-like doctors, veterinarians, businessmen, real estate brokers, wrestlers, singers, housewives, darlings of their influential parents, etc., i.e. amateurs "playing" legislator, i.e. with people who have not studied law and have been taught no comprehensive understanding of the American legal system or how to legislate in it, and who should rightly be out practising THEIR learned professions and not screwing up the country with their amateurish notions of government.
There are exceptions in legal background, such as the extremist Ted Cruz, whose alleged brilliance has unfortunately led him down an absolutist path in which he, like the very similar Supreme Court Justic Antonin Scalia, thinks he has found the holy grail of government that has eluded all the other brilliant judicial minds in America over the more than 200-year storied history of the USA.
Beware of these people who think they have all the answers. They do not. Rather, in following their absolutist theories, they cause much more harm than good to others, as the government shutdown shows.
What do Cruz and other leading extremists care about your average American? What do they care about America? Very little.
Their own careers and dogmas are more important to them.
If many "small" people in America do not get their paychecks and have to struggle while these politicos bask in the political limelight, what do they care?
Indeed, as many "small" people in America have no health care while the government shutdowners have no worries about THEIR own health care, it is clear that THEY do not care about YOU or your problems.
It appears to this observer that these misguided people are destructive political "theoreticians", nothing more, and they are terribly, terribly wrong, even if some of them are well-meaning. They are on the path of destruction.
See our previous posting on
Tea Party Political Nihilism: "WE DON'T CARE" as a Philosophy of Anarchism in the Russian Tradition of Mikhail Bakunin