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  •  Constitutionally if He Does This, Can the House (17+ / 0-)

    go to the Court? And what weight does a potential ruling carry?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:39:21 PM PST

    •  The platinum coin option, you mean? (7+ / 0-)

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:42:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd be very surprised (17+ / 0-)

      if any court would want to step into a balance of powers fight like that. I'm not even sure a private citizen would have standing to sue.

      I think the only constitutional option would be impeachment, and with Reid signing off on executive action in advance, conviction on Articles of Impeachment would be impossible.

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:47:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great question Gooserock. I don't know. We may (12+ / 0-)

      need to hear from constitutional scholars.

      The 14th Amendment would seem to require both the Executive and Legislative branches to take whatever measures necessary to pat the debts of the U.S.

      But it also gives the House power to initiate budgets.

      And, there is a law giving the House the power to control the debt-ceiling.

      A counter-argument I read today on RedState was that the President can legally pay the debt, as welll as government salaries, veterans, Social Security an all other "vital operations' with the incoming tax revenue of 88% of the current buidget, so there is no need, nor justification for the President to invoke the 14th Amendment since he could shut down 12% of the government operations, canceling travel, training, regulatory visits, hiring, purchases etc. and still pay the debt on incoming tax revenues.

      I'm not a constitutional scholar.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:49:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even Con-Law scholars would be guessing: (11+ / 0-)

        There simply is no direct precedent and anyone who says otherwise is over confident.

        There is a doctrine of Constitutional law known as the "Political Question" doctrine which, to me, seems the most applicable.  The Political Question doctrine is based upon a situation which brings a question that is so "political" in nature that the courts will not address it and leave it to the elected branches to determine.

        In other words, even with standing (should Congress sue) the court can punt it out without ruling by determining it to be wholly political in nature.

        If I were a judge, that is what I would say, "y'all figure it out. . . don't leave it to me to be your whipping horse."

        Blessed are the peacemakers, the poor, the meek and the sick. Message to Repug Fundies: "DO you really wonder "what would Jesus do?" I didn't think so.

        by 4CasandChlo on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:55:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  now paging Adam B! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, Lujane

          but yes, no one would know, and there are a bunch of different possible readings, which would come down to the Supreme court, ultimately.  God only knows how they'd slip the noose.  I'm pretty sure they would, though.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:59:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Later, elsewhere someone suggested that the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, DerAmi, Bluehawk

            Supreme Court would be unlikely to insert itself in between such a dispute between the other two branches of government, so impeachment would be the only option for the House which the Senate will not approve so President Obama wins by default but then proposes the Resolution I propose elsewhere trading off PCS coinage for the elimination of the debt limit being applied to debt and spending already authorized.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:14:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  politically that makes sense (0+ / 0-)

              however, legally, I'm not sure that the court could avoid it, if one of the branches called on it.  HEre, we've got a matter of constitutional interpretation which I'd guess the courts would have a hard time shrugging off with political question doctrine.  

              Interesting times.  We could live with the consequences of this for a while.

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:52:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  The power to spend ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sharman, Lujane

        Only Congress has the power to authorize spending and cuts.

        Cutting travel or training in the military for instance, may shut down entire programs.

        Does the president have the right to decide spending unilaterally?

        •  I don't think so (6+ / 0-)

          The line-item veto got struck down, right?

          Power of the purse lies with the Congress. Of course, if they've approved the spending and tax revenue levels, isn't that the same as approving the debt?

          Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

          by bear83 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:34:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  no (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie, Lujane, Bronxist

          but remember, government spending was also approved by Congress in the budget enactments. We have a deficit because Congress authorizes spending and taxation, but has'nt reconciled them.  

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:00:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  He'd issue IOUs. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronxist

          There would be no casting the validity of the government's debts "into question" ... they'd just issue scrip to be redeemed later, once the whole mess is cleared up.

          I'm sure the law that's applied is different in many respects, but California went through a bill-paying crisis a couple of years ago.

          •  And who would buy this scrip? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bronxist

            That'd work real well on the world markets. A bond is already a form of IOU--a promise to pay a certain amount of money on a certain date.

            So we'd be paying IOUs with IOUs. I'm sure investors who use Treasuries because they are secure and liquid won't have any problems with that. Because surely their creditors will just take that scrip as payment too, right?

            Sure, we can do it. And we can kiss the days of paying virtually zero in real interest on our debt goodbye. And maybe the benefits of having the dollar as the world's reserve currency, too.

            •  Ah, it would be paychecks and contractors paid... (0+ / 0-)

              The redemption of bonds and payment of financial obligations would proceed paid in cash from collected taxes.  It would only be government workers and payment for goods & services that would get issued the I.O.U.s.  Banks may or may not accept these government obligations as money in depositors' accounts -- I suspect the Fed would assure them that the I.O.U.s would be negotiable in some way or another (maybe credit the institutions with a like amount of dollars "on account".

              In any case, there would be a major constriction in economic activity; there'd be a recession.

        •  But all he's doing is paying debts on spending (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aviate, Bronxist

          that Congress has already authorized. He's not actually authorizing spending.

          •  Right ... (0+ / 0-)

            But if Congress has not authorized borrowing then there is no way to pay for that spending.

            Once the debt ceiling is reached, and no more Tbills can be issued to raise new debt, the President has to decide which bills not to pay, or which programs to axe. That means deciding what to spend on and what not to spend on: for instance, can he decide not to send social security checks to congressional districts that did not vote for him? What governs his authority?

            That is the power allocated to Congress?

      •  Why would (0+ / 0-)

        the Legislative Branch have standing? This is an enumerated power in the Constitution for the President alone, isn't it?

        The 14th Amendment would seem to require both the Executive and Legislative branches to take whatever measures necessary to pat the debts of the U.S.

        It is time to #Occupy Media.

        by lunachickie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 09:36:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They'd have to show harm, wouldn't they? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie

          Not a lawyer, here, but similar questions of standing have been tossed out when the party bringing the action (Republicans in Congress) couldn't establish that they've sustained any harm by the executive's action.  It'd be hard for Boehner to argue that his paycheck being paid constitutes "harm" to him.

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            they can't show harm if the prescribed Constitutional Remedy fixes the problem.

            They would have no standing. The beauty of this thing is that a President does not need Congress for this--that's why it's a unilateral power.

            It is time to #Occupy Media.

            by lunachickie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:24:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The House can go (15+ / 0-)

      to court and add to the debt by using the tax payer's dime for more lawyers -- and then see if the Supremes will grab it immediately from the D.C. District Court.  

      Part of the the debt is paying the fucking Congress, past Congressional pensions and the Supreme Court.  I'd like to see how that would go.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:54:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The House would probably impeach Obama (6+ / 0-)

      but the Senate wouldn't.  So overall he wouldn't be impeached.  

      President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

      by Drdemocrat on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:59:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, this is encouraging. We may have more power (9+ / 0-)

        here than I realized.  

        I was really surprised to see the quote of Bill Clinton suggesting President Obama has the power to just order the Treasury Department to ignore Congress.  Would this include the Federal Reserve as well?  If so they could just defy congress without any weird PCS stuff and tell the Congress to stuff it.

        The House obstructionists will not only look like hostage taking terrorists but impotent ones as well.

        This would probably be very bad for their public relations.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:08:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hah! Maybe this was why President Obama was so (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, msmacgyver, Noor B, markthshark, Lujane

        adamant on New Years Eve when he defiantly and even to seemed to flash anger when he reminded the House Republicans that he will not negotiate over debt they have already authorized!

        This makes sense finally.  I asked several places here, "What does this mean?" How can he say he is not going to negotiate? What is the other option?

        But, this could be the secret ace up his sleeve causing him not to be as concerned about "loss of leverage" as many of us were at the time.

        He may already have this in mind, and know he is prepared to stand off the house and win on debt ceiling, knowing that the GOP will want to negotiate to make the sequestration cuts less onerous  - especially to the military.

        With control of the Senate the House does not appear to be able to pass an alternative budget so is it true that means there only option there is to pass a continuing budget resolution?

        If so the President would seen to hold a vastly stronger hand than I imagined.  And, is may be ready to play hardball.

        Which is great because the alternative of conceding at tax revenues at 18% of GDP would be a disaster.

        But, if we have the option of financing the current 5% of GDP gap with unilaterally debt extension we do in fact have negotiating leverage.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:17:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Impeachment from this House would (13+ / 0-)

        be a Badge of Honor.

        When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

        by msmacgyver on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:28:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "impeached" but not "convicted" (9+ / 0-)

        "Impeachment" is like indictment -- charges against you. That's what the House does.

        Then there's a trial in the Senate.

        So Bill Clinton was impeached -- but not convicted or removed from office.

        I would not be eager to bring this on, as it was a huge distraction in 1998-99.

        •  If the House does attempt impeachment, (10+ / 0-)

          republicans would face an even greater public backlash than with Clinton's impeachment.

          I think that republicans will fold on this one, as they just did on the "fiscal cliff".

          The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

          by SoCalSal on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:11:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bingo! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eztempo, Williston Barrett, SoCalSal

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:06:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This is why I'm so upbeat now. Every scenario (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane, eztempo, Aviate, SoCalSal

            we are analyzing seems to end in total failure for the House GOP and tremendous damage to the reputation and image of the Tea Party.

            These are some of the strongest "auto-delegitimazation" scenarios I've seen. Like shoot themselves in the foot over and over and then moving up their legs and then they keep going right out to their more important parts.

            Self implosion of credibility.

             

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:10:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Really. I'm sure some of their nuts would (0+ / 0-)

            salivate over the opportunity for impeachment.  But this would be significantly less defensible particularly with people expecting to be paid for debts owed by the government.  I would assume they'd be unable to pay for Sandy relief if they were unable to come up with funds.

            "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

            by Leftovers on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:43:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Backlash, right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalSal

            I keep hearing about his "backlash" that the Republican's suffered after their farce of an impeachment against Clinton in '98.

            So, this backlash, that would be the one that put the White House, the Senate, AND the House in Republican hands solidly for the next decade, right?

            Except the House, which was only until 2006 Republican.

            Backlash?  Gawd, lash MY back like that, baby!  

            If that was the price the Republican's paid for their impeachment of Clinton you can BET they'll try it again with every Democratic president ever elected, forever, and who could blame them?

            *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

            by Rick Aucoin on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:15:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You made me LOL. Good comment! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rick Aucoin

              But Clinton left office with the highest end-of-office approval rating of any U.S. president since World War II, so the impeachment was unlikely the cause of subsequent republican wins.

              I do believe the public majority would disapprove of an attempt at impeachment over the debt limit. House republicans would be stupid to try it... but they might try anyway.

              The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

              by SoCalSal on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:21:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Distractions are about all Republicans (0+ / 0-)

          really do.

          And they look really stupid, yet still get elected. How does that make the Republican voters look?

          /yeah, I am getting frustrated with some of my fellow Americans... sigh.

          This better be good. Because it is not going away.

          by DerAmi on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:55:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The House Impeaches, the Senate Convicts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Williston Barrett

        The Senate Tries the case.

        Impeachment = Indictment (like a Grand Jury)

        If the House impeaches Obama -- the trial is held by the Senate, and IIRC the Chief Justice presides...

        •  Does the Senate have the right to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aviate

          refuse to hear the case...i.e. dismiss the case?  I know even  Trent Lott and company weren't exactly thrilled to have the House impeachment turd dumped in their lap.  I seem to remember something about they went through with it because they felt they owed it to their fellow Repubs in the House.

          "Forever is composed of nows." Emily Dickinson

          by Leftovers on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 10:48:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If the House votes to impeach (0+ / 0-)

            The Senate HAS to hold the trial -- in Clinton's case the Senate did not vote to convict him.

            Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment -- it was a pretty good bet that the Senate WOULD have convicted him.

    •  It seems to me that any taxpayer could sue in (12+ / 0-)

      federal court and claim that this was unconstitutional, but I am not a lawyer.

      The other thing the House Republicans could do is to impeach Obama. Of course that would have zero chance of resulting in a conviction in the Senate.

      Since impeachment would be a totally futile waste of time, increase the partisan divide, and prevent anything useful from getting done for months, I would say it is their most likely course of action.

      •  You're a character, Andrew. So the new method of (4+ / 0-)

        predicting GOP behavior is to imagine the "totally futile waste of time, increase the partisan divide, and prevent anything useful from getting done for months" add in some extra spite and vindictiveness?  

        This is a good one. But dang, in the grocery store tonight I had just decided to not say anymore unkind things about the GOP while I worked on a true bipartisan advocacy for them not to destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the basis of wisdom, compassion, and true concern for the common good and best interest of our nation, as a last resort because I couldn't imagine this or anything else we could do.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:22:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  /chuckle (6+ / 0-)

        One can never go wrong suspecting House Republicans of doing something moronic.  

        Who knows?  Maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised this time.  Or not.  Anyway, pass the popcorn, please -- I'll take mine with a smidgeon of butter and some sea salt.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:34:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Like "executive privilege" the president's... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, HoundDog, SoCalSal

      authority described in section 4 of the 14th Amendment has been largely untested in the SCOTUS.

      I think the Republicans taking this to court [for them] is a huge risk. There's a better than even chance they'd lose even with the court structured the way it is now.

      I mean, think about it; do they really want to give the president whom they hate with the passion of 1000 burning suns... even more executive power? Especially when gutting the social safety net is so unpopular that it could marginalize the party for a generation when they get all the blame?

      As much disdain I hold for the GOP and as much as I would like to see them fail -- I would advise them to not go down this road. It's a waste of precious time that could instead be used to tackle jobs, gun control, immigration reform and a host of other major problems we're facing.

      But... if you insist... please proceed, governor.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:35:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is a FOURTH option, that would be the best (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluehawk, TheDuckManCometh

      When Congress passes two laws that clearly conflict, there are a series of ways to analyze how to resolve the conflict. The President, just as the judiciary, is entitled to interpret the laws the executive implements.  The President would then interpret the Congressional enactments in a way to be able to pay the debts.  This gives rise to two variants of Option 4:

      Option 4A: would be for the President to interpret the later enacted statute to trump the earlier one, and to declare that by appropriating funds in the budget and various spending bills, Congress impliedly repealed the debt limit.
      Option 4B: A slight variant is for the President to develop another subtler legal theory that this conflict must be interpreted in a way that does not implicate a Constitutional violation.  Given the 14th amendment, clearly the debt limit must be interpreted in a way that does not cause the debt to be questioned.  

      Either way, the President can pay the debts and dare the House to impeach him or take him to court.  

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:55:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, the judiciary can rule against the executive (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eztempo, Bluehawk, TheDuckManCometh

      and order the Treasury NOT to pay the debts and then join Salman Rushdie in hiding as the people storm the Supreme COurt with pitchforks in the ensuing depression.

      I can think of no better way to discredit the judiciary permanently, though Scalia and friends are far more creative than I in this area.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 08:57:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah: how do Boehner/McConnell enforce the 'Limit' (0+ / 0-)

      I guess they'd have to pass a strongly worded letter to AG Eric Holder instructing him to send an FBI agent over to the White House to arrest the President?  Book 'im into the Capital basement jail along with Tim Geithner?

      Nah, Michele Bachmann would draw up Articles of Impeachment and Lindsay Graham would prosecute in the Senate (he's got experience) to no effect.  That's it...the traditional Republican 2nd Term strategy for dealing with a Democratic President: two-and-a-half years of Impeachment Drama, the whole second term covered by continuing resolutions and Treasury defiance of Congress.

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