IV. Payday Debt Peonage

      Peonage stemming from payday lending is a legitimate Thirteenth Amendment problem that should give rise to remedial action under this constitutional provision. As a threshold matter, it is critical to respond to an important anticipated criticism. Because payday lenders do not employ their borrowers, some might argue that Thirteenth Amendment peonage arguments do not apply in this context. This critique, however, takes too narrow a view of peonage under the Thirteenth Amendment. The lack of a literal employment relationship is inconsequential as the court in Jaremillo v. Romero explained. The circumstances surrounding the loans render them coercive, and the loans are tied directly to the debtor's paycheck. Furthermore:

       [t]he fact that the debts may have been voluntarily incurred is irrelevant. The fact that the debtor may not be tied to a particular employer or type of work is also irrelevant, since the reasoning of the peonage cases does not rest on the existence of a particular employer. Nor is such an order saved by its civil nature, since the keys to the jail are found only in the coerced labor itself.