As a general proposition, one might perhaps feel prone to quarrel with the statement that "history repeats itself," but there can be little doubt that it applies full well to legislation aimed at relieving hard-pressed debtors in times of financial crises. From our earliest American history, every economic "winter" has provoked a landslide of pro-debtor legislation. Nor have mortgage debtors been overlooked in this regard. The remedies suggested have been as varied and ingenious as human minds could concoct. A brief review of the past decisions indicates that when they could be said to impair the obligation of contract, such statutes have uniformly cracked up on constitutional rocks. But in some cases they have been sustained on the ground that merely to change the remedy for the enforcement of rights was permissible. Even then, however, the remedy was not allowed to be whittled away entirely.
Elbridge D. Phelps,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - MORTGAGES - MORATORIA ON THE WAY OUT?,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol37/iss8/4