July 13, 2011

"In other words, maybe the First Amendment is a lion, and the Fourth Amendment is a grizzly bear..."

"... but the Letters of Marque and Reprisal Clause is like an Egyptian Plover (because, like the plover, who eats bits of food out of a crocodile’s teeth, the M & R Clause is really interesting because of its relationship to another part of the Constitution — the Declare War Clause — rather than being interesting for itself). Or the Third Amendment is a potential coelocanth (a prehistoric fish that scientists thought was extinct until they found one in 1938) because although right now it does nothing, maybe one day it will suddenly be found again and prove to be important. So, anyway, if the Public Debt Clause were an animal, what animal would it be? I’m not sure. Love to hear your thoughts though. "

Jay Wexler takes a sidelong look at the recent emergence of interest in the Public Debt Clause.

26 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

if the Public Debt Clause were an animal, what animal would it be?

Jesus Christ, I don't know - everybody dance!

virgil xenophon said...

But Ann, you academic and lawyer you, you didn't comment over at Jay's blog. How come, how come, how come?

traditionalguy said...

An elephant.

Fred4Pres said...

And some commentators are an ass...

Fred4Pres said...

This is supposed to tie in the ManBearPig post below?

gerry said...

A chameleon.

By all means, dance!

Clyde said...

That would be an 800 pound gorilla.

Václav Patrik Šulik said...

Passenger pigeon. Once large and necessary, now extinct.

Hagar said...

My understanding is that the Public Debt Clause of the 14th Amendment is there because under the Lincoln Administration, Salmon P. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury printed up a lot of money - the celebrated American "greenbacks," that Salmon P. Chase as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after the war declared to have been unconstitutional and thus casting doubt on the value of the currency.

Section 4 just affirms acceptance of the debt and tells Justice Chase & Co. to sit down and shut up.

edutcher said...

He should do an act with Baba ("If you could be a twee...") Wawa.

t-man said...

An ostrich.

t-man said...

Also, the First Amendment would be a neighborhood full of cicadas on a warm August night.

t-man said...

If you could combine a chameleon with an elephant, that would be the Commerce Clause.

Scott M said...

Also, the First Amendment would be a neighborhood full of cicadas on a warm August night.

Holy shit! Thank GOD that's over. It was piercingly awful this go-round.

t-man said...

It hasn't started here yet, but I attribute global warming to people who close their windows at night and use air-conditioning to drown out the din.

wv: outies - gay navels

Joe said...

How about a Tigger. Something to be afraid of until you actually see it and then it's just a goofball.

cubanbob said...

What is so difficult to understand that it refers to contractual obligations such as bonds, pensions as part of service to the government and contractual debts?

Hagar hit the nail on the head. Otherwise bond holders would have been crushed for buying the Union's civil war bonds. Not to mention the greenbacks would be virtually worthless. A few southern states had defaulted in the 1840's and they had a hard time selling bonds even in to the early 20th century. Bond holders have long memories.

EDH said...

Howler Monkey?

Skyler said...

17 year cicada?

ken in sc said...

In the 70s, when I was in business school we were taught that even then Mississippi could not sell bonds in London because of a 19th century default.

Methadras said...

Althouse, please tell you don't use this exercise in your class?

gutless said...

A Turd Bird?

traditionalguy said...

Wait, wait. The debt is a honey badger. It doesn't give a shit.

Ziiiiiing!! said...

The public debt clause is the thrifty ant forever giving in to the profligate grasshopper.

Sorry 'bout the name. It happened when I opened my gmail account.

Lucien said...

I thought the M & R clause was interesting with respect to the Second Amendment in that it showed that the public meaning of that amendment existed in a context in which it was understood that private individuals could own and outfit their own ships of war to act as privateers.

So the idea that the only type of arms that people might keep and bear were those limited to personal or home defense is bunkum. Just as privateers could own the best cannon of the day for their ships citizens might own the best automatic weapons of the day.

(Of course the idea that Congress may issue letters of Marque & Reprisal doesn't necessarily mean that the Second Amendment bars Congress from passing a law that says individuals are not allowed to own warships. It just shows the type of arms that it was expected that private citizens might have.)

Lucius Septimius said...

I want a Letter of Marque!

Of course, that would require naming an enemy, which for the past 18 years we've refused to do.