Thursday, October 17, 2013
Credit Where Credit's Due
[W]hen it came to the shutdown and debt-ceiling fight, Dershowitz made his case.
“I think it raises very serious constitutional questions of the kind that Ted Cruz should be interested in. Could you imagine Hamilton and Madison sitting around and drafting the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. They’re talking about how the government has to pay its debts, how it has to secure the credit of the United States, how the House of Representatives to originate bills on revenue. Nobody in a million years would have contemplated the power of Congress to shut down the government, to create doubts about our creditworthiness,” he said.
“I think you can make a very strong argument that what Ted Cruz is doing is deeply unconstitutional. Whether a court would accept that or say it’s a political question is another issue, but Cruz is a principled man. He ought to look at the Constitution and look into his heart and ask himself, ‘What would Alexander Hamilton have done,’” Dershowitz said.
The comments quickly found their way to the Internet and got an equally quick response from author and radio show host Mark Levin.
“Dershowitz is dead wrong. We don’t have to imagine anything,” he told the Newsbusters website. “Congress and only Congress can authorize borrowing under Article I. The president must first pay interest on the debt under the 14th Amendment. The federal government collects 10 times as much revenue each month as it needs to cover those payments. As long as the president complies with the Constitution there can be no default. This is basic stuff. Even a Harvard law professor like Dershowitz should comprehend it.”
Dersh and I don't always see eye to eye, but I'll take his interpretation of the Constitution and broader statutory landscape over Levin's (and Palin's). The latter forgets that the 14th Amendment is not the only controlling law here (though it recognizes all public debt authorized by Congress): we have myriad other legal obligations that we also must pay, and the consequences of default would be dire. A Harvard law professor does, in fact, comprehend that, methinks.
What's more, Levin misses a larger issue the Dersh was bringing up. Our Framers didn't contemplate the United States would bail on any of its obligations, constitutionally mandated or otherwise. Their whole point of getting rid of the failed Articles of Confederation was to have a functioning government that would be a worthy credit risk because it was stable and followed through on all its commitments.
What would Hamilton have done? Made shit work.
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The extent to which the "founders" depended on the honor of the ruling class has become obvious as for a large part of the congress honor has nothing to do with anything. It all falls apart when that is missing.
The media, such as Levin represents has even less to do with honor. They are the source of the corruption of the people, the society and, so, the political system and the legal system that is derived from it.
Posted by: Anthony McCarthy | Oct 17, 2013 9:40:47 PM