If the Obama administration expected the senior creditors of Chrysler to fold their tents under political pressure, they may have gotten a rude shock today. Thomas Lauria, who accused the White House of threatening the creditors withn humiliation at the hands of the White House press corps, has filed a motion to halt the administration’s machinations on behalf of the UAW in the Chrysler bankruptcy. Lauria and his allies claim that the Obama administration has violated the Constitution in their bid to devalue the senior creditors’ holdings on behalf of junior creditors, and have some precedent to support the allegation.
The heart of the argument starts on page 8...
[lengthy excerpt from the motion]
One might think that a Constitutional scholar like Barack Obama would have already known that, but either this precedent escaped him or he doesn’t care about it at all. Brandeis acted to uphold contract law, especially in the face of a government interest in paying off politically-connected unsecured creditors ahead of the senior creditors. There is no other reason for Brandeis to make that decision, as only government could insert itself into the contractual relationship during a bankruptcy proceeding — just as Obama has done with Chrysler.
Lauria’s argument seems very compelling here, especially given Brandeis’ rather clear assertion that bankruptcy proceedings have to fall within the 5th Amendment — and that government can’t implement a taking to satisfy its own arbitrary aims by ignoring the relationship of the creditors to the default. We’ll see whether the court rebukes Obama.
Quips one commenter:
The Constitution is above Obama’s pay grade.