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Williams v. Lew

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

January 6, 2015

VICTOR K. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
JACOB J. LEW, and U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Defendants

Decided January 5, 2015.

Page 130

For VICTOR K. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff: Victor Keith Williams, LEAD ATTORNEY, COLUMBUS SCHOOL OF LAW, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.

For JACOB J. LEW, in his official capacity as Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, Defendants: Jacek Pruski, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

Page 131

MEMORANDUM OPINION

[Dkt. # 7 ]

RICHARD J. LEON, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Victor K. Williams, (" plaintiff" or " Williams" ), a faculty member at the Catholic University School of Law, filed this suit pro se against the United States Department of the Treasury (the " Treasury" ) and Jacob J. Lew, in his official capacity as Secretary of the Treasury, on February 7, 2014, seeking a declaratory judgment that the federal debt ceiling statute, 31 U.S.C. § 3101, is unconstitutional and void. See Compl. ¶ 1 [Dkt. # 1]; see also First Am. Compl. for Declaratory J. to Void the Debt Ceiling [Dkt. #4] (" Amended Complaint" or " Am. Compl." ). Currently pending before this Court is defendants' Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of standing. See Defs' Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 7] (" Defs' Mem." ). Because I agree with defendants that plaintiff has no standing to challenge the debt ceiling statute, the defendants' motion is GRANTED and the case is DISMISSED.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that he " is a United States, taxpayer-citizen who holds a very modest amount of Treasury-issued public debt instruments of varied types and durations." Am. Compl. ¶ 36. Specifically, plaintiff is the " purchaser and holder of United States public debt in the form of savings bonds and Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and TIPS of various durations (4-weeks, 13-weeks, 26-weeks, 52-weeks, 3-years, 5-years, 7-years, 30-years)." Am. Compl. ¶ 39.

Plaintiff seeks to invalidate the federal debt limit statute, 31 U.S.C. § 3101, which limits the amount of public debt that may be outstanding at one time. Id. § 3101(b).[1] The debt limit is currently suspended, and therefore not in effect, through March 15, 2015. See Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act, Pub. L. No. 113-83, § 2(a), 128 Stat. 1011, 1011 (2014). Plaintiff claims that the debt limit statute violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, plaintiff's Fifth Amendment due process rights, and the Constitution's " structural and functional separation of powers in preventing the Executive from carrying out sworn Article II § 3 duties." Am. Compl. ¶ 42. Plaintiff requests a declaratory judgment that the debit limit statute is unconstitutional and void, a permanent injunction to prohibit defendants from relying upon, invoking, or enforcing the debt ceiling, or

Page 132

alternatively a writ of mandamus to compel defendants to treat the debt ceiling statute as null and void. Id. at 30.

Plaintiff asserts that he has Article III standing because he is " the purchaser and holder of United States public debt in the form of savings bonds and Treasury bills, notes, bonds, and TIPS of various durations" and that this is a " direct, individual, concrete, and certainly impending harm from the ...


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