Obama’s Iran Deal With U.N. Twist
Obama’s Iran Deal With U.N. Twist
For the last few days the U.N. Security Council has been talking amongst themselves. What’s so bad about that you ask? Don’t they usually talk amongst themselves outside of their regularly scheduled meetings? Well, it depends upon the topic of conversation. Louis Charbonneau of Reuters broke the following story late Thursday afternoon:
Major world powers have begun talks about a United Nations Security Council resolution to lift U.N. sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement is struck with Tehran, a step that could make it harder for the U.S. Congress to undo a deal, Western officials said.
The talks between Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — the five permanent members of the Security Council — plus Germany and Iran, are taking place ahead of difficult negotiations that resume next week over constricting Iran’s nuclear ability.
Some eight U.N. resolutions – four of them imposing sanctions – ban Iran from uranium enrichment and other sensitive atomic work and bar it from buying and selling atomic technology and anything linked to ballistic missiles. There is also a U.N. arms embargo.
Iran sees their removal as crucial as U.N. measures are a legal basis for more stringent U.S. and European Union measures to be enforced. The U.S. and EU often cite violations of the U.N. ban on enrichment and other sensitive nuclear work as justification for imposing additional penalties on Iran.
It seems that Obama is working his Iran deal with a U.N. twist and nothing good will come of that. If the U.N Security Council votes to lift those sanctions and agrees to adhere to the Iran deal that Obama cooked up, there are many who believe that the Security Council ruling will supersede even our United States Constitution.
Let me repeat that; should this idea fly and pass muster, then there is a line of thinking that says ‘Why yes! Never mind that the United States has its own laws in place, you better do what the U.N. Security Council tells you too!
There’s a wee bit of a problem with that lovely little scenario, and our friends at Powerline have more with the learned help of Michael Stokes Paulsen – a prominent scholar of constitutional law:
NOTHING in international law can alter U.S. law, except to the extent it is made part of U.S. law, by virtue of being lawfully adopted as a treaty or U.S. statute. The president may make “executive agreement” deals with foreign nations, and these may have some status as international law, but they only possess the U.S. law status of a presidential deal — they are not part of the binding “Law of the Land” for the USA.
Nothing in international law — not made part of U.S. domestic law — can prevail over US federal law. An international law determination — by whatever body — cannot trump the U.S. Constitution, a U.S. statute, or a U.S. treaty.
I have a big, fat long law review article on the topic of the status of international law as U.S. domestic law: “The Constitutional Power to Interpret International Law,” 118 Yale L.J. 1762 (2009). Its core thesis is that, for the USA, the Constitution is supreme over international law — US domestic law (which is what US officials are sworn to support) ALWAYS prevails over inconsistent international law.
Let me say it again, a major constitutional scholar examines this issue and unequivocally states that no international entity can alter ANY U.S. law or enforce changes to our laws without the consent of the governed. Furthermore, no matter what deal Obama, who is NOT a constitutional scholar by any means, makes with another country; it will never be binding unless the Senate and American citizens give the OK. National Review’s John Yoo provides us with additional context on this:
Some are now suggesting that President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s real gambit, in response to the Cotton letter, is to make a nonbinding deal, and then ask the U.N. Security Council to bless it. Whether the U.N. approves of any deal has no effect on the agreement’s legality under our domestic law. The Supreme Court made that clear in a series of death-penalty cases, ending in Medellin v. Texas, where the Supreme Court made clear that Texas could refuse to obey an order by the International Court of Justice (whose authority also comes from the U.N. Charter). Of course, the Supreme Court had held earlier that the Supreme Court was not bound by the ICJ either. Neither the Security Council nor the ICJ can alter our Constitution’s separation of powers, including its division of roles in the approval of international agreements.
So, Obama throws a temper tantrum because he isn’t getting his way on an Iran deal that is full of flaws according to Charles Krauthammer; and he compounds it by deciding to run to the U.N. Security Council and whiningly asks them to grant him quid pro quos on this deal so he can run to the golf course and attempt to make his 5′ putt.
Well guess what? It doesn’t matter that Obama thinks playing with Iran is something to brag about. You see, it isn’t. Thus, even if his little gambit enjoys momentary success, WE THE PEOPLE have the backing of the United States Constitution. And because of that document – the bedrock of our country – we can and we should tell Obama that this deal needs to be stopped in its tracks. If Obama DOES go forward with the deal and flouts the law of our land; adherence to laws not our own isn’t and shouldn’t be an option.