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Legislation without Representation

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.


President Clinton claims to be consumed with "doing the work of the American people." Well, the public may be quite surprised to discover exactly what the President has been able to accomplish while his White House was seemingly in crisis.

Only seven days prior to being impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice by the House of Representatives, President Bill Clinton engaged in an illicit exercise of unbridled political power. With no notice, no public discussion, and no congressional participation, Clinton signed an executive order that produced legislation without representation. He has engaged in this type of action before, as have his predecessors. But this executive order warrants some in depth examination, for at its heart is a profound threat to our fundamental individual liberties as well as the very sovereignty of our nation.

Executive Order 13107, the Implementation of Human Rights Treaties, has a benevolent sounding title. But the designation belies the infinite number of possibilities for abuse that are contained within its various provisions, because this order is not limited to ratified treaties. Consequently, the implementation of unapproved international treaties has now become the official policy of the United States government. The first elected president to be impeached has magically transformed volumes of international law into American domestic law, simply by proclaiming it so.

One might ask, what is contained within these treaties that are referenced in Executive Order 13107, and why should Americans be at all concerned? The form of international legislation known as the treaty has mutated over time and now has the potential to intrude into extraordinarily intimate aspects of everyday life. Treaties with this insidious capability include the following: the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which interferes with the bond between parent and child; the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which impacts the relationship between husband and wife; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which alters the philosophy of fundamental rights.

It is significant to note that Executive Order 13107 correctly defines the term "treaty obligations" as those "approved by the Senate pursuant to Article II, section 2, clause 2 of the United States Constitution." However, in key provisions of the order, rather than using the precisely defined term, ambiguous phrases such as "international human rights obligations" and "other relevant treaties" are used, effectively canceling the original terminology.

To make matters worse, a brand new federal bureaucracy is created by Executive Order 13107. The order establishes an Interagency Working Group, chaired by a designee of the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and charged with the authority to conduct various functions.

The first function of the agency is to oversee legislation proposed by the Administration to make certain that all new law is in conformity with UN human rights initiatives. Unratified treaties are likely to become blueprints for future congressional lawmaking in order to facilitate appropriate compliance.

The agency's second function is to pursue educational programs that encourage acceptance of UN initiatives. Translation - tax dollars will be used to indoctrinate the public toward acceptance of these unratified international documents.

The third function of the agency is the most foreboding. The executive order mandates new methods of monitoring to guarantee compliance with human rights obligations. The order officially places U.S. federal agencies under the scrutiny of an intricate web of international committees that are created by these treaties.

Each UN treaty establishes an international committee to oversee the regulatory scheme that has been created. The mother of all of these international controlling entities, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, was created by the 1948 Human Rights Treaty. It coordinates with other international bureaucracies, consuming portions of American sovereignty while claiming to monitor human rights. This is the same committee that recently found the United States to be in violation of human rights by its tolerance of state laws against sodomy and its denial of statehood for the District of Columbia. Meanwhile, genuine human rights violations that are occurring in China, Cuba and numerous other locations are virtually ignored by this same group.

Unfortunately, Executive Order 13107 was signed at a time when the country was duly distracted. In addition to the impeachment, the Congress was in the midst of transition to a newly elected body. These factors, along with the holiday recess, all but guaranteed that Congress would not disapprove this executive order during the thirty-day grace period prior to its becoming enforceable law.

This pervasive executive order is illegal and unconstitutional. It poses a grave danger to the very notion of representative government. The international law it incorporates was drafted by unelected, international bureaucrats at obscure UN conventions. Americans do not need, nor do they desire, this additional layer of government. Executive Order 13107 can be reversed, and with a little knowledge and a lot of outcry, it will be.


Copyright © 1999 -
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

All Rights Reserved