In Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice William O. Douglas wrote for the majority that the right to "privacy" was to be found in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional protections such as the first amendment. The vagueness of the terms used by Justice Douglas has encouraged not only the judiciary, but the executive branch to legitimize dubious interpretations of the Constitution in order to further the progressive agenda by fiat.
It appears the "penumbras" and "emanations" idea is being revisited concerning the national debt limit. Once again, Bill Clinton's suggestion in 2011 that Obama unilaterally raise debt ceiling in accordance with supposed "penumbras" emanating from the 14th amendment, section 4, is being resurrected. The fourth section states:
Section. 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
The question is whether or not President Obama will interpret Section 4 of the 14th amendment as meaning he can step in and raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval. Will Obama go this route? According to ABC News, he has not ruled out the idea. Much depends on whether or not Obama thinks he can deal authoritatively via other executive decisions to subdue the civil unrest that would result if he eviscerates congressional authority over the federal budget. Every congressman and woman should know that if the president utilizes a 14th amendment "penumbra" unilaterally, congressional authority and the constitution itself are effectively gutted.
If he crosses this Rubicon, he will have effectuated a coup.
Fay Voshell may be reached at email@example.com