Constitutional Esoterica

Gerard Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca is the Samuel R. Rosen Professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Magliocca is the author of three books and over twenty articles on constitutional law and intellectual property. He received his undergraduate degree from Stanford, his law degree from Yale, and joined the faculty after two years as an attorney at Covington and Burling and one year as a law clerk for Judge Guido Calabresi on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Professor Magliocca has received the Best New Professor Award and the Black Cane (Most Outstanding Professor) from the student body, and in 2008 held the Fulbright-Dow Distinguished Research Chair of the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was elected to the American Law Institute (ALI) in 2013.

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4 Responses

  1. Albert K. Echt says:

    The not so secret agenda of the Christian Right includes outlawing alcohol and beer. Why does no one call them out on this? This issue will make voters vote! It could change the midterm elections.

    Albert K. Echt

  2. Ken Rhodes says:

    Fascinating possibility in your final sentence.

    But I wonder about this one: “Of course, the Chief Justice then turned around and said the bondholder had no remedy for this constitutional violation (on pretty shaky grounds).”

    The opinion stated: “(i) Plaintiff has not attempted to show that, in relation to buying power, he has sustained any loss; on the contrary, in view of the adjustment of the internal economy to the single measure of value as established by the legislation of the Congress, and the universal availability and use throughout the country of the legal tender currency in meeting all engagements, the payment to the plaintiff of the amount which he demands would appear to constitute not a recoupment of loss in any proper sense, but an unjustified enrichment.”

    That doesn’t sound shaky to me; rather, it sounds like Chief Justice Hughes was saying “The deflation we’ve experienced has made your suit moot; you haven’t suffered a loss to be compensated.”

    That argument, of course, would not be valid in your last-sentence hypothetical.

  3. The Chief Justice’s argument is indeed shaky, in as much as the “unjust enrichment” consisted of nothing more than the bondholders being paid according to the terms of their loan.

  4. Bruce Boyden says:

    I know nothing about Section 4 other than what it says. But I would have interpreted it as meaning that *other* entities (such as Southern states) can’t question the validity of the public debt, not that the U.S. government can’t do something that affects the validity of its own debt.