The Constitution is such an inconvenient thing: The Obama administration is claiming that, should Obama sign the Paris climate accords when he visits China next week, it will be sufficient to make it law, even though it will not have been approved by a two-thirds majority in the Senate as required by the Constitution.
White House senior adviser Brian Deese said the president has the legal authority to ratify the accord without the two-thirds Senate vote required for treaties. He said the pact negotiated by 195 countries in December is merely an “executive agreement. … The president will use his authority that has been used in dozens of executive agreements in the past to join and formally deposit our instrument of acceptance, and therefore put our country as a party to the Paris Agreement,” Mr. Deese said at a White House press conference. “That’s a process that is quite well-established in our existing legal system and in the context of international agreements and international arrangements,” Mr. Deese said. “There is a category of them that are treaties that require advice and consent from the Senate, but there’s a broad category of executive agreements where the executive can enter into those agreements without that advice and consent.”
Gee, I wonder what clause in the Constitution Mr. Deese can name that delineates the President’s power to sign and make binding “executive agreements” with foreign powers? My copy of the Constitution doesn’t seem to have any such clause. What it does say about foreign treaties is quite clear and blunt: The President “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.” (Article 2, Section 2).
But then, when has the law ever really meant anything to this President and the modern Democratic Party? In fact, it means so little to them that they have nominated a candidate for President who willfully ignores it, and then lies about that lawbreaking repeatedly.
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