The PJ Tatler

If Section 4 of the 14th Amendment was really designed to 'stop Boehner,'

as Jonathan Chait seems to believe, then what was Section 5 intended to do?

For what it’s worth, if we get to d-day on the debt ceiling and the nation defaults, that won’t be because of anything Congress has or has not done. Default will only occur if Obama’s Treasury Secretary chooses to default. And he would only do that if the president so orders.

It seems to me that as related to the current debate, Sections 4 and 5 work together to stop one administration or Congress from repudiating the debts piled up by their predecessors, while keeping the regulatory control of the nation’s debts in the hands of Congress. That, if I’m right, is the foundation of our nation’s ability to borrow money against our future ability to pay it back. In other words, and this is a position I’ve just arrived at within the past day as the topic of the 14th Amendment has come up, you can’t really separate Sections 4 and 5. They work together.

Beldar, if you’re reading us today, I’d love to hear what you have to say on this.