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US Senator demands congressional oversight of ACTA

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 13 Oct 2011 14:41 User comments (6)

US Senator demands congressional oversight of ACTA Senator Ron Wyden has sent a letter to President Obama protesting the signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as an executive agreement.
The secretly negotiated intellectual property agreement was signed by representatives of 8 countries, including the United States, on October 1. A few parties to the negotations, including the European Union, have yet to add their signatures.

In his letter, Wyden accuses the president of overstepping his authority by entering into an agreement which covers international trade and intellectual property. He explains that authority for both are explicitly assigned to Congress by the US Constitution.

His criticism also extends to the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), who negotiated ACTA on behalf of the US, for misleading statements about its legality.

He wrote:

The USTR long asserts authority to enter ACTA as a "sole executive agreement" with no congressional authorization or approval. In its latest explanation on this topic, the ISTR stated:

ACTA is consistent with U.S. law and does not require the enactment of implementing legislation. The United States may therefore enter into and carry out the requirements of the Agreement under existing legal authority, just as it has done with other trade agreements.

This statement by the USTR confuses the issue by conflating two separate stages of the process required for binding the U.S. to international agreements: entry and implementation. It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law. But, regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law, a point that is contested with respect to ACTA, the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress' authority, absent congressional approval.


Besides the statement cited by Wyden, the USTR has also refused to disclose details of ACTA negotiations to the public, citing national security concerns. Exactly what national security issues are at stake have been explained.

If the president declines to submit ACTA for Senate ratification, Wyden is requesting he make an official statement clarifying that no portion of the agreement is legally binding on the United States.

He points out that the traditions of international law do not necessarily recognize the internal ratification processes of individual countries:

According to many international law scholars, customary international law recognizes the ability of the chief executive of a country to bind its nation to an international agreement regardless of domestic legal requirements.

I request that as a condition of the U.S. putting forward any official instrument that accepts the terms of ACTA that you formally declare that ACTA does not create any international obligations for the U.S. - that ACTA is not binding. If you are unwilling or unable to make such a clarification, it is imperative that your administration provide the Congress, and the public, with a legal rationale for why ACTA should not be considered by the Congress, and work with us to ensure that we reach a common understanding of the proper way for the U.S. to proceed with ACTA.


Of course, President Obama is unlikely to take either option. ACTA has been handled as a treaty by every country involved besides the U.S. and is obviously intended to mandate changes to the law.

If the United States were to back out, either through failing to ratify ACTA as a treaty or an executive statement nullifying its authority, the entire agreement would likely fall apart. The real question is what sort of formal legal challenge will be mounted, and by whom.

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6 user comments

113.10.2011 17:29

Death to Acta!

Though the blame shouldn't be put on Obama on this one,it should be also put on G.W. Bush because he started Acta...also Blame should be put on the MPAA and RIAA they pressured this to go on and put into effect.

213.10.2011 23:04

Obama signed it...so the blame falls with him. Sure, George W might have had a hand in it, and he shares some blame...but Obama signed it illegally and used national security as an excuse...the same BS bush would have pulled. So what "Change" did people vote for? Skin color, nothing more.



313.10.2011 23:58

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Obama signed it...so the blame falls with him. Sure, George W might have had a hand in it, and he shares some blame...but Obama signed it illegally and used national security as an excuse...the same BS bush would have pulled. So what "Change" did people vote for? Skin color, nothing more.
Yeah I am fully aware Obama signed this Illegally..I'm beginning to wonder if the MPAA&RIAA's deal to ISPs earlier last month was saying Acta will be in place

414.10.2011 2:25
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by Tristan_2:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Obama signed it...so the blame falls with him. Sure, George W might have had a hand in it, and he shares some blame...but Obama signed it illegally and used national security as an excuse...the same BS bush would have pulled. So what "Change" did people vote for? Skin color, nothing more.
Yeah I am fully aware Obama signed this Illegally..I'm beginning to wonder if the MPAA&RIAA's deal to ISPs earlier last month was saying Acta will be in place
So which of the next batch of candidates, with the most media attention, will best serve?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Oct 2011 @ 2:43

If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

514.10.2011 4:16

Of the current theoretical possibilities, probably Ron Paul.

-He has been talking about our most serious current problems for the last 30 years while the other candidates have been hiding the same problems right up to a few months ago (some continue to deny the problems).
-He is very old...not only does he have little to gain from bribes, but he probably won't run for reelection, so bribery and "contributions" will have less effect on him than any of the other candidates. His biggest opportunity from the presidency would be to create a good family name for his son to run on, so he would actually be obligated to do a decent job, or at least to try to do a decent job.
-He is the only one who wants to cut taxes and government spending...not one other candidate wants to do either.
-He is the only republican that has run for president since the first bush; all the rest have followed Democrat principals, even when running as republicans. One-party systems don't work...not even when that one party pretends to be two.
-He rarely tells lies...he sometimes ignores an issue but he doesn't lie very often. The others are all campaigning on lies upon lies and they won't even argue eachother on the lies as they don't want their own lies exposed...Ron Paul has no problems with exposing the lies of the other candidates because they have nothing to expose against him. He already knocked Perry out of the race using this method and so now the establishment is suddenly forced to push Cain in spite of the fact that he is running on a platform of drastic tax increases (9-9-9 plan).

Do I really think Ron Paul will win? Probably not...the shadowy figures running his own party are against him, and the corporate media does everything they can to ignore him or to discredit him with stories that would apply to any candidate.

Still, I'm voting for Ron Paul in spite of the fact that I am not a republican...he isn't a cure for the problems of this country, but at least he isn't cyanide.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Oct 2011 @ 4:18


616.10.2011 7:13

Ron Paul is a great choice. I will gladly get behind him if he wins the nomination.
That said: I am weary of career politicians, and would like to see Cain get the nomination. He certainly has the wisdom and proven success.
Heck, we've suffered a completely dishonest man for 3 years now, lets see what a completely honest one can do.

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