January 6, 2009

SHHHHHH....:

Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power (JOHN R. BOLTON and JOHN YOO, 1/05/09, NY Times)

Like past presidents, Mr. Obama will likely be tempted to avoid the requirement that treaties must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The usual methods around this constitutional constraint are executive agreements or a majority vote in the House and Senate to pass a treaty as a simple law (known as a Congressional-executive agreement).

Executive agreements have an acknowledged but limited place in our foreign affairs. Congressional-executive agreements are far more troubling. They have evoked scathing attacks by constitutional experts and have been strongly resisted in the Senate, at least so far.

The framers of the Constitution designed the treaty process with a bias against “entangling alliances,” as Thomas Jefferson described them in his first inaugural address. They designated the Senate as the body responsible to protect the interests of the states from being bargained away by the president in deals with foreign nations. The framers required a supermajority to ensure that treaties would reflect a broad consensus and careful, mature decision-making.

America needs to maintain its sovereignty and autonomy, not to subordinate its policies, foreign or domestic, to international control. On a broad variety of issues — many of which sound more like domestic rather than foreign policy — the re-emergence of the benignly labeled “global governance” movement is well under way in the Obama transition.

Candidate Obama promised to “re-engage” and “work constructively within” the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Will the new president pass a new Kyoto climate accord through Congress by sidestepping the constitutional requirement to persuade two-thirds of the Senate?


...or we'll never get another free trade agreement. Sovereignty is a useful political weapon, but two-edged.



Posted by Orrin Judd at January 6, 2009 7:22 AM
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