Julian Ku on the Constitution and the Iran Deal

At Opinio Juris, Julian Ku defends the constitutionality of the Iran deal (expanding on his discussion in this podcast from the National Constitution Center [also featuring David Rivkin]). He makes two arguments: First, the terms of the agreement, which describe its obligations as “voluntary”, indicate that it is a nonbinding “political commitment”.  Even the UN Security…

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Two Reasons the Iran Deal Is Unconstitutional

In sum, the Iran deal is unconstitutional (a) because the President has not taken sufficient action to assure that it is nonbinding under international law, and (b) even if it is nonbinding under international law, it should be only a commitment of the current President and should not purport to be an undertaking of future Presidents for whom the current President cannot speak.

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A Partial Defense of the Majority Opinion in Bond v. United States

Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion in Bond v. United States has been sharply criticized (see here and here), so I’ll say few words partially in its favor. The case has seemed odd from the beginning because the federal statute at issue implements the Chemical Weapons Convention and (as the majority says) the local misuse of household chemicals does not seem the type of activity that is likely to implicate an international treaty. 

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My “Amicus Brief” in Bond v. United States

In sum, there are at least two ways the Court in Bond can accommodate federalism without undermining national foreign policy. It can construe ambiguous treaties not to reach purely local conduct. And it can require Congress to make a plausible showing that federal regulation of local conduct is needed to prevent material breach of treaty obligations. Either approach would allow Bond to win the case without undermining national treaty power.

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Another Notable Amicus Brief in Bond v. United States

In noting the principal amicus briefs in Bond v. United States, I overlooked this one on behalf of Chemical Weapons Convention Negotiators and Experts. As described in this news release from Indiana University: In the brief, the arms control experts support the U.S. government’s position that, properly interpreted, the treaty requires states parties, including the United States, to apply its prohibitions on…

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