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Treaty by Decree

by John R. Bolton & John Yoo

Obama’s end-run around the Senate, and the Constitution

‘With the exception of the SALT I agreement, every significant arms control agreement during the past three decades has been transmitted to the Senate pursuant to the Treaty Clause of the Constitution,” veteran senators wrote the president. “We see no reason whatsoever to alter this practice.”

These words did not flow from the pen of Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) or Mike Lee (R., Utah) in a quest to block presidential power. Instead, the authors were the unlikely duo of then-senators Joe Biden (D., Del.) and Jesse Helms (R., N.C.). Biden and Helms did not see eye to eye on much, but they agreed that President George W. Bush had to submit his 2002 nuclear-arms-reduction pact with Russia as a treaty: “No constitutional alternative exists to transmittal of the concluded agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent.”

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