‘Too Big To Fail’ States

7 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2010 Last revised: 3 May 2014

See all articles by Gerard N. Magliocca

Gerard N. Magliocca

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Date Written: December 9, 2010


This Essay explores the constitutional implications of a threatened default by a large state. Much like the huge financial institutions that became distressed in 2008, a large state might well be deemed too big to fail. If that kind of state seeks a federal bailout, it would hold most of the cards in any negotiation because Congress lacks the power to compel a state to pay its debts. After outlining this hold-up issue, the Essay concludes by assessing some possible responses by Congress, such as invoking the Guarantee Clause or imposing future fiscal penalties under the Spending Clause.

Keywords: state default

Suggested Citation

Magliocca, Gerard N., ‘Too Big To Fail’ States (December 9, 2010). Connecticut Law Review, 43, 1089-1095, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1722926

Gerard N. Magliocca (Contact Author)

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )

530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
317-278-4792 (Phone)

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