- - Wednesday, August 31, 2016


It was appropriate that “White House defends Obama evading Senate on Paris climate deal” (Web, Aug. 29) mentions executive orders in the same context as this planned “executive agreement.” President Obama has a clear history of trying to rewrite law by use of executive orders, which in reality are simple policy statements that almost universally include the stock disclaimer that they are not intended to rewrite any law.

The Times should expand on the fact that under our Constitution only Congress can commit the United States to legally binding formal agreements with other nations. Like executive orders, “executive agreements” can only formalize the intended policy of the executive signing them. They remain in force only until changed or formally rescinded by the next “executive.”

The Republican Party should announce now that it intends to uphold our Constitution, clarifying that none of Mr. Obama’s “executive” actions, neither orders nor agreements, carries any commitment binding on the U.S. government beyond expressions of intended “policy” of the president who signed them.



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