United States Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20510
March 9, 2015
An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
It has come to our attention while observing your nuclear negotiations with our government that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our Constitution - the power to make binding international agreements and the different character of federal offices - which you should seriously consider as negotiations progress.
First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. A so-called congressional-executive agreement requires a majority vote in both the House and the Senate (which, because of procedural rules, effectively means a three-fifths vote in the Senate). Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement.
Second, the officers of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number or 6-year terms. As applied today, for instance, President Obama will leave office in January 2017, while most of us will remain in office well beyond then - perhaps decades.
What these two constitutional provisions mean is that we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.
We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as nuclear negotiations progress.
….and then the above letter was signed by 47 US Senators. All Republican.
We, the People
Of the United States of America
April 22, 2015
An Open Letter to the Senate of the United States of America:
It has come to our attention while observing your internal negotiations within our government that you might not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention one important feature of our Constitution – from whence the power of your elected office derives.
Under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, the Congress plays a significant role in ratifying them, not in undermining them by playing politics with international affairs. Congress has always been a fractious coalition of quarrelsome individuals with self-serving agendas, but the Congress on display in recent years has achieved heights of arrogance and divisiveness rarely seen.
The offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two 4-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of 6-year terms. What this means is the U.S. Senate is currently peopled by career politicians the framers of the Constitution would find reprehensible.
What this means further, is that any policies, procedures, laws and agreements you foist upon We, the People in the current toxic environment you have chosen to propagate will be most assiduously assessed in the next general election, and your idyllic congressional life-style at public expense could be modified, and indeed, curtailed at that time.
We, the People, hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as you proceed to waste our time and treasure.
Sincerely, We, the People
Note: I do apologize for the fragment posting of this blog. I initially tried to post the PDF file of the letter from the Senators, but it seemed to disappear or turn microscopic. So I just rewrote word for word for legibility. Rg