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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Why Settle For Gold When Platinum Will Do?

Kevin:

First, who would have standing to sue? I don't know the answer to that, but I think there are plenty of possibilities, John Boehner at the top of the list. Second, a number of people have suggested that judges often don't look at legislative intent, so the fact that this is based on a loophole wouldn't be a problem. I doubt that. It's one thing not to dive deeply into legislative history, but it's quite another to allow the president to take a dramatic action that's plainly, obviously, 180 degrees away from the intent of the law.

1) I'll see your Boehner and raise it with Raines v Byrd (1997).

2) Intent?  Kevin wrote this earlier:

[A]s a lawyer friend emailed to me this morning, "bullion coins are generally understood by other statutes within the US Code to be coins with a value effectively equal to the market value of the precious metal bullion in them. The trillion dollar coin is not that."

This is one of the problems with the argument that the "plain text" of the law allows the Treasury Secretary to mint a platinum coin in any denomination, even a trillion dollars: it's only plain if you rip a single sentence out of the context of the rest of the statute. But I don't think that's how the Supreme Court looks at things. They routinely consider the meaning of individual parts of bills within the context of the entire statute (as well as other relevant statutes). And in this case, the rest of the statute, at the very least, makes that meaning unsettled. 

Except this is the entirety of what the statute says about platinum coins:

The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications [how much platinum?], designs [how big?], varieties [different heads for each debt ceiling crisis?], quantities [one coin or two], denominations [one dollar or a trillion?], and inscriptions [E Pluribus Unum or Take This Debt Ceiling And Shove It?] as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.

So first off, the Treasury could issue a proof coin, and proof is just a descriptive quality of coinage that is struck with a special die, usually more than once, and is wicked shiny and such.  Yes, proof coins are generally valued highly because of the special minting process and are intended for investors and coin collectors (as is bullion), but it's odd that in the platinum coin section Congress forgot to include words such as these:

all coins minted under this subsection shall be considered to be numismatic items. [regarding silver coins minted under subsection e]

And:

 all coins minted under this subsection shall be considered to be numismatic items. [regarding gold coins minted under subsection i]

And:

Each bullion coin issued under this subsection shall be sold by the Secretary at a price that is equal to or greater than the sum of—

(A) the face value of the coins; and
(B) the cost of designing and issuing the coins (including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, overhead expenses, marketing, and shipping). [regarding $10 gold First Spouse coins under subsection o] 

What's more:

(h) The coins issued under this title shall be legal tender as provided in section 5103 of this title.

So the platinum coin is not explicitly a collector's item, nor is it required to be sold at any particular price, and it is considered legal tender.  It's not the Treasury's fault that Congress wrote plain language they did not intend and Congress now intends to skullfuck Treasury's ability to pay the bills that Congress has incurred.  Mint the fucking thing.

ntodd

January 9, 2013 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Suffering Fools | Permalink

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Comments

Why stop at one coin?

Why not an entire *series* of $10B coins. Commemorate the entire GOP teabagger caucus, with appropriate logos and inscriptions

"Stupidest Fucking Moron in DC" etc etc

Yeah, no more cooperation after they get their delicate fee-fees stomped on. As if they would, anyway.

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki | Jan 10, 2013 1:32:19 PM

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