Saturday, April 12, 2008

International Treaties

Once upon a time, I wrote an essay conveying my concerns about how treaties that give legislative authority to extranational bodies were a grave threat to our sovreignity; the Constitution makes a ratified treaty superior to all other laws of the land. I had fretted that this could authorize the UN (or worse, a committee of appointees) power to legislate for us, and supersede our government in so doing. I had imagined that we needed a constitutional amendment to require ratification of every act of a body given authority over us by treaty. Fortunately, I was wrong. Today on Catholic Exchange, I found this:

As the treaty provision at issue was not "self-executing" — in other words, it did not become automatically binding upon ratification by Congress — it could not bind states without further Congressional action. The U.S. Constitution requires action by the legislative, not the executive, branch to transform a non-self-executing treaty obligation into domestic law.

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