Say what you want about Jeff Sessions…

170111_pol_sessions-hearing-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2Start at 3:13 – you can speed it up too…I remembered this back-and-forth but I had forgotten that Sessions actually acknowledges Congress’s role in war-making. What Panetta is saying-without-saying-it is that he considers treaties to trump the Constitution. This can be argued given what seems to be ambiguity in the language in the Constitution, but I would argue that our government has no authority to enter into treaties that violate our foundational law or that commit our government to actions beyond the scope of their authority as granted by the Constitution. Here is the language in Article VI:

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; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution* or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

*This could be ambiguous, saying that Judges must hold to Treaties, the Constitution notwithstanding, but it actually means state Constitutions and state laws notwithstanding.

The Tenth Amendment Center says even this interpretation goes too far: Do Treaties Trump the Constitution. (In that post they make the great point that the Constitution is a contract requiring a meeting of the minds, so the understanding of those who ratified it is what really governs interpretation.)

I think Panetta et al are operating under entirely different assumptions, and as I read in PEACE, from the wonderful people who brought you Korea and Viet Nam, our silence on this distinction is tantamount to consent.

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