Beer v. United States | Wallace Street Journal

by David Bond

It's a real court case, not the latest slogan from the Temperance League. Beer v. United States, its amusing caption notwithstanding, may, opines the New York Sun, open up a Constitutional can of worms when it comes to the Federal Reserve's printing presses.

The Beer in this case is Federal Judge Peter Beer. He and a cohort of other federal judges claimed, and all justices of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed, that judges' salaries aren't keeping up with inflation. That could be a legitimate claim from just about any working stiff in the U.S. but what makes it special for judges goes back to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

One of the grievances expressed by American colonists in the Declaration was that King George III was punishing or rewarding judges by docking or raising their pay, or even reducing or extending their tenures, depending on how he felt about their rulings. So the Constitution directed that judicial compensation could not be reduced while a judge was in office.

In declaring that a salary freeze for federal judges is unconstitutional, the Court of Appeals tacitly admitted that the old phrase “sound as a dollar” is an ironic, anachronistic joke. Observed the New York Sun: “The idea that a dollar could be worth a different number of grains of silver or gold at the end of a contract than it meant at the beginning of a contract would have horrified George Washington . . . The court deciding Beer didn’t get into legal tender per se. But the legal tender question is the elephant in the courtroom, so to speak. If a dollar can’t be diminished for judges — that is, if the legal tender laws are not good enough for judges — why should they be good enough for the rest of us? . . . The fact is that Americans are just as upset about the harm being done to them by fiat money as the judges are.”

On which topic, Casey Research's Jeff Clark, who is one of the Silver Summit's keynote speakers during our two-day, 10th anniversary event Oct. 25-26 (schedule here), notes a quite striking correlation between the U.S. monetary base and the price of gold from the beginning of 2008 to the present. “That correlation says we'll see $2,300 gold by January 2014,” notes Jeff. Assuming the Fed keeps inflating the money supply at its current rate, “QEternity” he calls it, 2014 could close out with a $2,500 gold price. “The largest economies of the world are all grossly devaluing their currencies. This will not be consequence-free. Gold and silver will be direct beneficiaries - as will mining companies - starting with rising prices.”

Come meet those mining companies, as well as Jeff Clark, at the Silver Summit's 10th. Jeff Christian, David Morgan, Roger Wiegand, Bix Weir, Jeff Berwick, Leonard Melman, John Kaiser, Michael Berry and silver bull extraordinaire Eric Sprott will adorn the event. A limited number of mining property tours remain available. To get in on one of these once-in-a-lifetime working mine visits, please contact Shauna Hillman at +1.208.556.1621 or email her at Also, on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 25, we'll present our annual Silver Bull Award at the Silver Baron's Banquet.