Could Obama Get UN Gun GrabTreaty Passed Via Accession Without a 2/3 Vote in the Senate?
Bill Quick

The PJ Tatler » Texas AG Abbott Throws ‘Red Flag Alert’ After UN Passes Arms Treaty

Abbott sent a letter to President Obama, stating that “Treaties do not trump constitutional liberties. Even if you, as the President, signed and the Senate ratified the UN Arms Trade Treaty, our Constitution remains the Supreme Law of the Land and would supersede any treaty provision that violated Second Amendment rights.”

Abbott bases his logic on the 1957 Reid v Covert case, in which the US Supreme Court ruled that treaties do not trump rights spelled out in the Constitution. Abbott says he is prepared to take the federal government to court if it ratifies the U.N. pact to defend Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.

I find the notion of Obama using accession in order to get the treaty effectively approved quite disturbing:

A Nation of Men Breaking Constitutional Laws | Daily Pundit

It is doubtful he can get a two-thirds vote in the Senate to radify, so expect the attempted end-run of accession, which has been used in the recent past (United States Accedes to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia).

I’m not a lawyer, but would welcome comments on this.

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Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

Comments

Could Obama Get UN Gun GrabTreaty Passed Via Accession Without a 2/3 Vote in the Senate? — 6 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s just that I don’t naturally think like a lawyer, PG, but I didn’t really get all that much reassurance out of either the article, or the commentary that followed it.

    I probably didn’t really understand the arguments, though.

    • What Jim said below is my take on it. Fed.gov can do the things enumerated in the Constitution, like join a treaty. However, those positive powers must still not violate the things they are prevented from doing.

      So, Fed.gov could hypothetically join a treaty agreeing to quarter troops in private homes in peace time, but they couldn’t actually go about quartering troops in private homes in peace time. This is why we usually don’t get into treaties we know we can’t comply with. Makes everyone look bad.

  2. Based on my admittedly quick and partial read it appears the Texas AG is correct. The case he cited involved two women who had murdered their service member husbands while they were stationed abroad (in the UK and Japan). They were both tried without a jury and convicted. The government first argued the non-jury trials were permissible because the Constitution did not apply to US citizens in other countries, which the Court rejected. The government then argued that the trials were legal because they were permitted by the terms of treaties with the two countries. The Court flatly rejected that argument. The key language is at 374 US 16:

    “The obvious and decisive answer to this, of course, is that no agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or on any other branch of Government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution.
    Article VI, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, declares:
    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof, and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; . . .
    There is nothing in this language which intimates that treaties and laws enacted pursuant to them do not have to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Nor is there anything in the debates which accompanied the drafting and ratification of the Constitution which even suggests such a result.”

    The decision does not appear to leave any room for an argument that a treaty supersedes the Constitution. I don’t see any real impediment to the proposed/threatened/hoped for Obama approach in the case if the provisions of the treaty are determined to be Constitutional, though. Given that Heller struck down DC’s handgun ban, I don’t think a blanket ban on handguns would pass muster with this Court. However, Hillary might be able to implement a ban and get her Court to go along with it sometime after 2016.

  3. Sorry to disturb you Bill, but as an ex-leftist I'm extremely cynical about the motives and methods of our black-hearted, facist rulers. Debates about legality and constitutionality are moot — these people care not for such details — they are only concerned with the naked exercise of undemocratic executive fiat, whenever necessary, to achieve their aims. All they require is color of approval, which accession would provide, so they can begin implementation of universal registration, which is the goal. By the time it grinds thru the legal system, it is already a fait accompli. And who knows how the Supremes will rule, anyway?

  4. JDWatson beat me to the cynical take on things, but only because I'm an idiot and never clicked the Post Comment button.

    (But I'll get you next time, my pretty. And your little dog, too!)

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