This was a phrase we heard so often in law school that I briefly considered (un)dressing for a Halloween party to represent the concept. I doubt they use it anymore; it might suggest some kinda sexual impropriety. (Note to self: ask daughter, a Harvard 2L, if she has ever heard it.)
But here’s the basic principle: a “naked” promise, one unsupported by some “consideration”, is unenforceable. I think the entire aphorism may be “Upon a naked promise no action will lie” ( hoo boy, it just gets more’n’ more salacious!)
Another word for the “consideration” necessary to support a promise, or “clothe” it with legal force, would be—brace yourself!—“Quid pro quo”.
That’s right: unless you have “bribed” your interlocutor to induce him to keep his word to you, you’re outta luck, you poor chump.
The party who wants to enforce a promise he has received must show that he has either conferred some benefit,upon, or incurred some detriment to the benefit of, the promissor , in exchange for the promise, or at least that mutual promises were exchanged. “Both parties [to a contract] must be bound, or neither is bound.” ( uh-oh, kinkier and kinkier…)
Why WOULDN’T , and why SHOULDN’T, a US President demand something in exchange for billions of dollars we give to Ukraine? Wouldn’t he be a gormless fool not to do so?
And Biden, at the time the alleged conduct was going on, was not just a “political rival”; he was the US Vice President, AND he is on tape bragging that Obama knew about and sanctioned his actions.
“Quid pro quo” is not some nefarious practice. It is the very engine of all commerce, financial and interpersonal, it is what makes possible the great universal network of getting and spending upon which all material prosperity and progress depends.
But then, that’s precisely what the Dems want to destroy— innit?