Various legal experts have supported the Biden administration’s looming threat of invoking the 14th Amendment to win the debt ceiling dispute. The legitimacy of the public debt of the United States permitted by law is not subject to challenge, per Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified during the Civil War.
It has been argued that the debt ceiling set by Congress over a century ago is irrelevant in light of Section 4, which gives the president the power to command the payment of national debts.
Brian Ginsberg, a law partner at Harris Beach and veteran of more than 20 oral arguments before federal appeals courts, disagrees, pointing out that only government debt “authorized by law” possesses “unquestioned” validity. Experts in the legal field have warned that attempting to borrow more money than Congress has authorized could lead to a catastrophic financial collapse.
Experts, however, agree that a review by the Supreme Court is quite unlikely. Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University Jonathan Adler thinks the underlying question is whether or not bond markets will accept it. Legal experts say that the Supreme Court may try to sidestep the issue altogether, despite threats of lawsuits, because previous disputes over the debt ceiling have usually amounted to political disagreements.
The White House has indicated that discussions at the staff level to increase the debt limit are productive.
President Joe Biden has admitted the need for litigation to test the premise of utilizing the 14th Amendment to circumvent Congress’s impasse on raising the debt ceiling before a June 1 deadline. Similarly, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has deemed it “legally questionable whether or not that’s a viable strategy.”
On Tuesday, Biden will meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to discuss the debt ceiling again to reach an agreement on raising the limit.