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26 July 2011

Who Is Responsible for the 14th Amendment?

There's been a lot of discussion lately about how the president should deal with the possible failure of Congress to act on the too-low debt limit. Some have suggested that the 14th Amendment grants the president the authority to simply up the debt limit himself. Here is the actual text of the amendment:
The validity of the public debt of the United States...shall not be questioned.
President Obama has made it clear that he does not agree that the Constitution grants him this authority, and as a former professor of Constitutional Law, I would have to bow to his judgment on that one. One thing that I haven't heard anyone mention, though, is that if the nation does default (fully, partially, or technically) who bears the fault? If the president isn't responsible, then the Congress would clearly be in breech of the Constitution. Wouldn't that set the entire Congress up for impeachment or even punishment?

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