When Congress thwarts his will, Bill Clinton resorts to executive orders.
by F.R. Duplantier
“I’m putting the Congress at ease
And giving the governors the breeze:
With executive orders,
I need no supporters
And can do pretty much as I please!”
“Faced with a Republican Congress unwilling to grant him all the powers he wants, Bill Clinton has unleashed a blizzard of executive orders to grab new authority for the executive branch, and make broad public policy changes and even restructure our governmental system,” declares Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum. “Executive orders have a proper place in federal rulemaking and in implementing the routine business of the executive departments,” she concedes. “But Mr. Clinton . . . is pressing the envelope to move his agenda, both domestic and foreign.”
“Mr. Clinton advanced three of his favorite goals when he issued executive order 13107 on December 10, 1998,” Mrs. Schlafly asserts. “He increased executive branch authority, he moved America closer into [what he himself called] the ‘web’ of treaties . . . and he rewarded the feminists who are standing by him in his impeachment trial. Executive order 13107, titled ‘Implementation of Human Rights Treaties,’ sets up an interagency working group, with representatives from major federal departments, to implement our alleged ‘obligations’ under the many UN treaties on human rights ‘to which the United States is now or may become a party in the future.'”
“The first treaty listed in executive order 13107 is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Mrs. Schlafly observes. “Aggressive implementation of this ratified treaty can open up a can of worms in regard to our First Amendment rights, criminal law, and unique system of federalism.” One of the unratified treaties that could be implemented under executive order 13107 is the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which, Mrs. Schlafly warns, “refuses to recognize one of the most fundamental American economic rights, the right to own property. . . . The unratified UN Convention on the Rights of the Child would bring about massive UN interference in family life, education, day care, health care, and standard of living,” she adds. “The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women would require us to follow UN/feminist dictates.” Mrs. Schlafly calls for an end to “Mr. Clinton’s unprecedented use of executive orders to implement ratified and unratified treaties,” warning that “our freedom and independence are at stake.”
While it is clear that our Founding Fathers intended all treaties ratified by the Senate to be subordinate to our U.S. Constitution, the fact remains that numerous legal authorities — no doubt, for nefarious reasons — argue that treaties do, in fact, supersede the document that established our federal government. If such an interpretation should prevail, knowing that it is wrong will not provide us much solace. No, we must never underestimate the dangers that treaties could pose — if misinterpreted by our courts as the “supreme law of the land,” or implemented unilaterally by a President in contempt of our courts, our Congress, and our Constitution.
Week of: Feb. 14, 1999