Quote of the Day:
The Framers of our constitution probably would have regarded the nuclear deal with Iran as a “treaty,” subject to a two thirds ratification by the Senate. At the very least they would have required Congress to approve the agreement by a majority vote. It is unlikely that it would have allowed the President alone to make so important and enduring an international agreement.
—Alan Dershowitz in USA Today
After the Iran deal was announced, Alan Dershowitz, the retired Harvard law professor, spent a sleepless night. That was when the idea for a book on the Iran deal was hatched, according to a New York Observer interview.
Dershowitz has a book entitled "The Case Against the Iran Deal: How Can We Now Stop Iran from Getting Nukes" coming out in just a few days.
Dershowitz, a maverick liberal, has an impassioned piece in today's USA Today explaining why the Founding Fathers would be shocked at the novel way the agreement is being pushed through Congress by the Obama administration:
In the two and a quarter centuries since the ratification of the Constitution, the power of the executive has expanded considerably, but the Framers would be shocked by the current situation in which the president alone gets to make an important and enduring international agreement that can be overridden only by two thirds plus one of both the senate and the house.
At the very least, this important and enduring deal should have required a majority vote of Congress. Although the Constitution does not provide for such a hybrid agreement, in practice there have been numerous “executive-congressional” agreements that have been negotiated by the president and agreed to by a majority vote of Congress. Basic principles of democracy as well as our constitutional system of checks and balances would seem to require more than a presidential decision supported by one third of both the house and senate.
While a majority of the House and the Senate voted for this exceptional set of rules for approving the Iran agreement, it was only to assure themselves that they would have any say at all in the matter. President Obama's position was that he could make the "executive" agreement without Congressional approval.
A supporter of the Iranian nuclear deal said something interesting on television the other day. I wish I'd written down her name but I didn't. She said that Congress should not have the right to approve or reject the deal because members represent constituencies.
I don't know whether she was merely arguing that only the president is elected nationally. I have a horrible feeling that she was saying something more sinister: that we have surrendered some of our sovereignty to what President Obama likes to call "the international community," where unelected bureaucrats make decisions for our good.
Dershowitz at least doesn't see it that way. He writes:
Let us never forget that America is a democracy where the people ultimately rule, and if the majority of Americans continue to oppose the deal, it will ultimately be rejected, if not by this administration, than by the next. An agreement, as distinguished from a treaty does not have the force of law. It can simply be abrogated by any future president. In the end, the court of public opinion decides important policy decisions that may affect us all. And it is difficult to imagine a decision with higher stakes than whether to accept or reject this deal.