It was just a few days ago that former constitutional law professor and U.S. President Bill Clinton said that if he were still president he'd invoke the constitutional option to ignore the debt ceiling if necessary. Former constitutional law professor and current U.S. President Barack Obama had stayed quiet on the issue until Friday, although his Secretary of the Treasury had previously signalled rejection of the option. But on Friday, according to the New York Times, the President seemed to come down on the side of rejection:
“I have talked to my lawyers,” Mr. Obama said, and “they are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”
Some commentators, the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen among them, thinks the President's statement still leaves the door open a crack for the constitutional option. Early last week Yale Law's Jack Balkin explained why former Clinton and Obama are in different places on the question. And here are Balkin's thoughts on why Obama might just be bluffing.
Meanwhile, Laurence Tribe is continues to be prolix (blog-wise) in advancing his view that there is not constitutional authority for the President to ignore the debt ceiling, although he does throw out this question:
I’m still waiting to see a convincing argument for distinguishing in principle between legislative restrictions on government borrowing authority and legislative restrictions on government taxing and other forms of revenue-raising authority. I have to say that seems implausible to me, but I can’t rule out the possibility and thus would be interested in hearing/reading more.