In this debt ceiling conversation, you may have heard of the president using the 14th amendment to over-rule the debt ceiling as a solution to ending the current political stand still.

The 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War. Relevant to today, it says that the 'validity' of the united states debt shall 'not be questioned'. Some say the president could use this for an executive order to validate all debt without congress increasing the debt ceiling.

Professor Stanley Brand, former general counsel to the house of representatives who now works at Pennsylvania State Dickinson law, says the reference to debt in the amendment was meant to hold southern states accountable for the union's debts.

"It came about after the Civil War when the confederate states were reentering the union," said Brand. "There was concern in the congress that they might attempt to repudiate the debts the union had incurred in fighting the war so they put in a specific provision to sanctify the debt of the United states."

Repudiate is another word for 'denying'. So when the amendment passed, congress worried that southern states would ignore the union's debt built up by the war. For Brand, this amendment doesn't apply to the debt ceiling as he says it ignores the powers of congress.

"You can't look at the 14th amendment in isolation.," said Brand. "You have to look at the Article 1 powers of congress"

Article 1 of The Constitution says congress can 1- raise revenue, and 2- borrow money on the credit of the U.S.. Essentially, establish debt.

"That implies that the congress has the power to do that," said Brand. "And the president unilaterally can't just decide to issue debt that hasn't been authorized by the congress."

Whether the amendment can or can't be used to ignore a debt ceiling would have to be decided in court.

"While that issue is being litigated, which would take at a minimum months, the debt is in limbo and the markets are trying to figure out what it all means," said Brand. "So it creates the same effect of chaos in the markets that we're experiencing now, with people trying to figure out what's going to happen."

Voices on capitol hill have agreed that turning to the 14th Amendment should be a last ditch effort-- though as Brand suggests, it could make the situation as equally precarious as waiting to raise the debt limit.