Harvard Law School’s bonafide leftist Laurence Tribe didn’t see the ethics issue in advising President Joe Biden to ignore standing law on the debt ceiling in order to … uphold the law.
Tribe penned an idiotic May 7 New York Times op-ed pontificating that it is supposedly the “essence of constitutional leadership, not the action of a tyrant” for Biden to ignore the law on the debt ceiling created by Congress. How is using carte blanche authority to cherry-pick which laws to uphold and which to ignore not the actions of a “tyrant?" Tribe piggy-backed off a nutty reading of the 14th Amendment to clamor that “Mr. Biden must tell Congress in no uncertain terms — and as soon as possible, before it’s too late to avert a financial crisis — that the United States will pay all its bills as they come due, even if the Treasury Department must borrow more than Congress has said it can.” [Emphasis added.]
This is a complete about-face from Tribe’s argument in 2011 when the Obama administration faced a similar debt limit hurdle. In short, Tribe repudiated the very same position 12 years ago that he’s advocating for now: “If the president could usurp the congressional power to borrow, what would stop him from taking over all these other powers, as well?” But now, Tribe’s latest headline suggests he’s abandoning reason for madness: “Why I Changed My Mind on the Debt Limit.”
“People must go to Harvard to get stupid,” rebuked MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Vice President Dan Schneider, who is also a lawyer and Columbia University Law School graduate. “If you’ve read Laurence Tribe’s piece and you’re confused by it, it’s because he doesn’t make any sense. His argument boils down to one proposition: the president should act lawlessly.” Tribe is in essence advocating for a “coup” against the American people, Schneider concluded.
National Review editor Rich Lowry also called out Tribe’s foolishness and blasted the notion that the 14th Amendment somehow gives the president the right to break standing law to uphold other laws:
“It’s absurd to pretend this provision somehow authorizes the president to arrogate to himself the fiscal powers of Congress if the debt limit isn’t raised or — more to the point — isn’t raised in a manner to his liking.
Tribe’s op-ed was laced with falsehoods that undermined his entire argument. “The president should remind Congress and the nation, ‘I’m bound by my oath to preserve and protect the Constitution to prevent the country from defaulting on its debts for the first time in our entire history,’” Tribe bleated. [Emphasis added.]
Talk about misinformation.
Former Office of Financial Research Principal Deputy Director Alex Pollock obliterated that talking point in an October 2021 op-ed when he outlined four previous cases in American history when the U.S. defaulted on its debts. “To paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, you are entitled to your own opinion about the debt ceiling, but not to your own facts about the history of U.S. government defaults,” Pollock wrote.
But that wasn’t the only factoid that Tribe botched. He railed against House Republicans who he claimed were the problem. “Taking advantage of that prospect, congressional Republicans are threatening to do nothing unless the administration agrees to slash lots of government programs that their party has had in its sights,” wrote Tribe. The leftist professor must have missed that House Republicans did in fact pass a debt ceiling hike April 26, with the caveat of significant spending cuts. So in fact, Republicans didn’t “do nothing” as Tribe argued.
Conservatives are under attack! Contact The New York Times at 800-698-4637 and demand it distance itself from Tribe’s awful legal takes and misinformation.