Herman Cain In 2007: Federal Bankruptcy Laws Are Unconstitutional

Back in 2007 when he was doing his radio show, Herman Cain seemed a bit unclear about the role of Bankruptcy Law under the Constitution:

All of the talk about a national foreclosure freeze . . . all they’re trying to do is appeal to people’s emotions. You see, the United States federal government, folks, has no jurisdiction over bankruptcy law. States do!

So, if some states decide that they want to investigate some of these phony or incomplete foreclosures, it’s up to the states. This is not even under the jurisdiction of the federal government! But it sounds good. It really sounds good, though.

Perhaps Mr. Cain hadn’t consulted Article I, Section 8 of that Constitution he told us all to read during his speech announcing his candidacy:

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Now it’s possible Cain misspoke back then, but one would think that a former CEO and Federal Reserve Board Member, not to mention someone now basing their campaign on the Constitution, would know these things.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.


  1. legion says:

    Hey! Let’s all pull a random hot-button topic out our butts and criticize the feds for it!
    But seriously, even if it wasn’t specified in the frigging Constitution, I’d think regulating bankruptcies would be an inarguably legitimate use of the ‘interstate commerce’ clause…

  2. PD Shaw says:

    “The power of establishing uniform laws of bankruptcy is so intimately connected with the
    regulation of commerce, and will prevent so many frauds where the parties or their property
    may lie or be moved into different States that the expediency of it seems not likely to be
    drawn into question.”

    –James Madison, Federalist No. 42.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Cain falls into the “everyone’s an idiot!” category of politician. What’s the problem with healthcare/Aftghanistan/bankruptcy? “Everyone else is an idiot”. No solutions, just that assertion over and over. If you think about it, an awful lot of pols fall into that category.

  4. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Well well well… it seems that Cain is being taken more seriously these days. The lefties are doing deep background research on him now. They wouldn’t do that for a candidate that didn’t have a realistic chance of getting the nomination, huh Doug?

  5. TG Chicago says:

    Man, Patrick’s pro-Cain stance is very entertaining. Every post that’s not about Cain evokes a “What about Cain!?” response. And ones that are about Cain — and expose huge flaws — are just proof of what a great candidate he is.

    Patrick, you’re probably right about people taking Cain more seriously as a frontrunner. It doesn’t say much for the Republican party that this guy is one of their more likely leaders.

  6. anthony says:

    A candidate with a realistic chance of winning the GOP nomination for the Presidency of the United States demonstrates a glaring lack of understanding of what the United States Constitution actually says.

    Why am I not surprised?

  7. MM says:

    I like how Patrick T. McGuire’s rebuttal is, “you only notice he’s speaking gibberish because he’s SOOOOOO viable”. It’s the next generation of “you only mock Sarah Palin’s word salad because you’re afraid of a conservative woman”.

  8. not to mention someone now basing their campaign on the Constitution, would know these things.

    Well, the Declaration doesn’t mention bankruptcy, so perhaps that’s where the confusion comes in.