Biden May Invoke the 14th Amendment to Justify Borrow and Spend Policies

Salma Bashir Motiwala /
Salma Bashir Motiwala /

In a “my way or the highway” moment at the White House, President Joe Biden refuses to negotiate on the debt ceiling. Instead, he is currently weighing the wisdom of waving his magic pen and invoking the 14th Amendment to continue his administration’s unchecked spending spree.

While the 14th Amendment does not directly relate to the United States debt, there is a section known as the Public Debt Clause or the Validity of Public Debt Clause.

The relevant part of the 14th Amendment is Section 4, which states: “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.”

This clause was included in response to concerns about the Confederate debt following the American Civil War. It was intended to ensure the United States would honor its debts and not default.

Ironically, Biden has chosen a little-known clause in the 14th Amendment to justify his spending spree. The 14th Amendment consists of four main areas of concern, including citizenship status, equal protection under the law, and due process.

The citizenship clause specifically states that anyone born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen of the United States and the state where they reside, without mentioning granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.

Equal protection guarantees that there is no dual-sided justice system, another piece of the Constitution the current administration chooses to ignore.

The third section includes the Due Process Clause. It states that no state shall deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” This clause establishes certain procedural protections for individuals, such as the right to a fair trial and protection against arbitrary government action. There are still “rioters” in prison awaiting trial more than two years after being arrested for “insurrection.”

Biden has ignored or acted in deliberate direct opposition to the Constitution in nearly every decision made since the start of his presidency. He encouraged an invasion at the borders, demanded citizens receive injections of untested vaccinations, stopped free speech on every platform from the news to social media, and is actively trying to disarm American citizens.

And now, Biden threatens to raise the debt ceiling without support from the House, invoking one sentence while laughably ignoring every other word within the document. Biden expressed the views shared by his party regarding the Constitution, claiming, “The Constitution is always evolving slightly in terms of additional rights or curtailing rights.”

While his administration has the “curtailing rights” part of their program well in hand, they are still actively working on ways to grant additional rights and interpretations of Amendments that will be most beneficial to progressivism.

Calling on the 14th Amendment is a stretch that Biden may not be willing to make at this point. There is no definitive legal consensus on how the 14th Amendment should be interpreted. Ultimately, resolving any disputes related to the debt ceiling and the 14th Amendment would involve the courts or legislative action.

This is not the first time this impasse has been reached, including in 2011 under then-president Barack Obama. At the time, there was skepticism regarding the viability of invoking the 14th Amendment, skepticism that is shared by the Biden administration now.

With the deadline on the debt ceiling fast approaching, Biden may choose to act now and risk a future battle in the Supreme Court.

Or, he can choose accountability and fiscal responsibility by agreeing to curtail future spending, as outlined in the Republican House bill.

If Biden chooses to negotiate, it will be to save face. If he chooses not to, it will be because he wants to blame Republicans for the fallout.

Regardless, the fact that Democrats can point to anything in the Constitution to justify their actions proves that, contrary to popular belief, liberals understand that there is a defining document outlining the rights of citizens and limiting the power of government.

For Democrats, it’s a pesky piece of history that gets in the way.

Unless, of course, they can twist it for their own purposes.