Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GOP Says If Obama Invokes Fourteenth Amendment, They’ll Invoke Three-Fifths Compromise

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Washington to be born? It’s not the Antichrist that haunted the nightmares of Yeats, it’s the August 2 debt default deadline. And with the whole of Congress at an impasse, not to mention conflicting budget proposals in stalemate, House Democratic leaders emerged from a Caucus on Wednesday to urge President Obama to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment. Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Essentially, Democrats are arguing that since the “public debt” can’t be questioned, then the debt ceiling itself becomes unconstitutional. Former President Bill Clinton said he would have invoked that option “without hesitation” and left it “to the courts to figure it out.” Clinton previously utilized a similar legal maneuver when he made the courts redefine the mechanics of human sexual congress and the nature of the verb “is.”

Some legal experts have asserted that this is the constitutional escape hatch Obama needs in such dire circumstances. House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) admitted that Obama expressed doubts about his legal authority to unilaterally raise the debt limit, even under the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. But Larson feels circumstances have changed.

“We have to have a fail-safe mechanism,” Larson said. “We believe that fail-safe mechanism is the 14th Amendment and the president of the United States.”

Larson isn’t alone. Democratic officials from all over the nation have expressed their support for executing the measure in absence of bi-partisan support.

“The appropriate response to the inevitable push-back by Republicans is to go ahead and invoke the 14th, raise the debt ceiling and then tell the GOP to deal with the legal issues they have in a court challenge,” said Ferrel Michaels, a Maryland-based political pundit.

But President Obama remains hesitant.

“That too makes perfect sense to me,” Michaels continued. “As the country’s chief executive, Obama understands that he needs to do something. I worry that the GOP is going to have a lot of issues with the 14th Amendment, since they claimed it allowed Obama to become president in the first place. But as any good legal scholar, Obama also understands that this role has less to do with implementing or enforcing laws than it does with scrutinizing and dissecting laws, to exhausting degrees, in order to fully understand the dynamism and complexities of those laws. Indecision is the job description. Merely invoking some obscure and contextually ambiguous provision in the Bill of Rights goes against everything in politics and lawmaking. Apart from all that, Obama suffers from a harmless but sometimes irritating psychological condition called the Castanza Complex. Basically, people with the disorder are driven by an uncontrollable desire to make everyone adore them. It’s not that they want to be liked, it’s that they need to be validated by affection. There are no other options available to those with a Castanza Complex, save complete emotional breakdown. So, Obama isn’t going to take his toys and leave the playground if he thinks the bullies will hate him. But he also won’t give into them, fearing the loss of his supporters’ admiration. So, he’s at quite a crossroads.”

Michaels, however, believes the riskiest part of the Fourteenth Amendment strategy would be the GOP’s threat to invoke the “three-fifths compromise” in retaliation, which recalls a controversial bargain struck between the North and South during the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.

Under wording thick with racial undertones, the compromise rendered black Americans the equivalent of three-fifths of a person: “Representatives shall be apportioned ... counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed and three-fifths of all other persons.”

House Republicans explained that “if President Obama decides to pull the 14th Amendment card, then we’ve got few in our deck too. The fact that he’s trying to seize on some irrelevant part of it, which deals with funding the suppression of a rebellion -- in this case, the Civil War -- just opens the floodgates. Here are our arguments. First, your equal protections under the 14th are invalidated if you’ve participated in a rebellion. Well, Obama himself is fighting what he calls a ‘debt rebellion.’ Second, Section 1 says that no ‘State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.’ But Barack Obama’s citizenship has never been proven. So, as far as we’re concerned, the 14th doesn’t apply to him. And he’s not a slave, so neither does the 13th. Without those applications, our legal scholars say there’s nothing to stop us from exercising the Compromise, thereby reducing President Obama to three-fifths of a human being, who would lack sufficient executive power to do anything at all. If the President makes the debt ceiling unconstitutional, we’ll make him unconstitutional.”

(c) 2011. All stories are works of satire and parody.

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