July 31, 2011

CONLAW PROF ANN ALTHOUSE ON THE DEBT LIMIT AND THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT:

Isn’t it funny how this “tea party” philosophy just sounds like a fair reading of the text? But only Clarence Thomas is crackpot enough to do that! I added the boldface to highlight what to me seems like the obvious interpretation: No one is talking about questioning the validity of the debt! When you fail to pay debts, you’re not claiming they aren’t valid. Why wouldn’t all the Justices say that? Why would that inapt clause take precedence over the specific and clear clause in Article I, listing among Congress’s powers the power “To borrow Money on the credit of the United States”?

We can’t follow the plain language of the Constitution. Doing that would unacceptably constrain the behavior of elites. Instead, the Constitution must be interpreted by an elite priesthood that will insure it means whatever the elites want it to mean.