Forty-seven Republican United States Senators forget the basics of the U.S. Constitution

After forty-seven Republicans in the United States Senatesent a letter directly to the leaders of Iran in an attempt to sabotage talks between the Iranian government and the United States government. If successful, those talks would lead to an of end Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the U.S. easing crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

Here’s an excerpt from the letter sent to the leaders 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,” the letter said.

Republicans warned any deal agreed before Obama leaves office in 2017 is “nothing more than an executive agreement between President Barack Obama and (supreme leader) 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,” they added.

What’s absolutely stunning about the letter sent by the forty-seven Republican Senators is that while they noted the Iranian leaders may not understand our nation’s constitutional system, those Republicans have shown they either don’t understand or simply don’t care about what the U.S. Constitution says. After all, according to the U.S. Constitution the role of Congress in foreign policy is confined to ratifying treaties negotiated by the President. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is the Senate empowered to dabble in foreign policy, a fact that seems completely lost on Republicans in the Senate.

In response to the letter sent to the Iranian government, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif educated the forty-seven Republicans in the U.S. Senate on how things works.

We believe that the letter has no legal value and is propaganda,” Zarif said, quoted in Iranian media.

“The senators must know that under international law, Congress cannot change the content of the agreement.

“Any congressional action to prevent the implementation of any agreement will violate the international commitments of the (US) government.

“The world is not just in America,” Zarif added.

And perhaps the best response to the insanity of Republican Senators sending their letter to the leaders of Iran came from Vice President Joe Biden, who called the letter “beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.” Here’s more from Vice President Biden’s response.

I served in the United States Senate for thirty-six years. I believe deeply in its traditions, in its value as an institution, and in its indispensable constitutional role in the conduct of our foreign policy. The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.

This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.


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15 thoughts on “Forty-seven Republican United States Senators forget the basics of the U.S. Constitution

  1. And yes, (mo)Ron Johnson signed that treasonous letter. C’mon Russ, C’mon Dems, speak up and let the rest of the state know about how (mo)Ron just tried to undermine the president this state voted overwhelmingly for, and that we need a senator that won’t embarrass us anymore.

    I wonder if SykesBelling will call out their buddy (Mo)Ron today, like they constantly harangued against Russ in the 2000s for (correctly) speaking up against Bush policies overseas.

  2. Maybe it’s time for these traitors to be arrested for their seditious actions against the president and our nation.

    1. Yep, well you know, like here we go now, as AG Eric Holder steps down to await a presidential pardon from Obombya in 2016, AG (nominee) Loretta Lynch coming off a couple of “hard hitting,” slaps on the wrists to Citigroup and USBC (allowing fines to be written off as tax breaks) will get right on prosecuting some US legislators for us, the same way her predecessor prosecuted Bush and Cheney (et al) for war crimes, uh uh, you betcha there now hey. Can’t wait for the headlines.

      1. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you, nq, but I thought your comment strayed just a tiny bit

        To return to the egregious act of the “forty seven,” did you take notice that the letter initiator was a freshman Republican senator with great credentials and even some praise from Lizzy who taught him at Harvard?

        It was suggested that one or more of the Republican hawks put Cotton up to it to take the “hit” if there was bad press and/or rejection by the public.

        It reminds me of “Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton…”


        1. Read a suggestion that Netanyahu had produced and had hand delivered the letter to the R’s for them to use. Throws additional monkey wrenching into the mix to be considered.

          The professional xenophobe division of the DC legislative ruling caste are likely a very suggestible bunch, easily manipulated and certainly reactionaries to be feared out of their collective cluelessness.

  3. As a reader of history I have never known another act so partisan, short-sighted, and dangerous when it comes to foreign policy. It is disgusting and shameful when our differences do not end at the shores of this country. Republicans wished to be elected last fall to show what they could do with power and leadership. They now have the power and are demonstrating for all to see what their intentions area, and it is a most unsettling picture to view.

  4. “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”
    The takeaway on this should be instant and clear, and shouted from the rooftops by Dems everywhere:
    Elect a Republican as the next president and we will be going to war with Iran.
    Elect enough Republicans to the House and Senate in the next election, or retain enough of them, and do the same thing.
    This is what they are saying, and it’s important that it be recognized as such.

  5. Reading this article, and the comments to it, I can’t believe we are living in the same country. Please Read Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, 2nd paragraph. The President is talking and acting like this doesn’t exist. The 47 senators have performed a valuable service in reminding not only the Iranians, but also the President (and perhaps up to half of the American public), that the President cannot act like a dictator when entering into agreements with foreign powers.

    1. Ed, you’re the one with the reading problem.

      Voting on a treaty is NOT the same as communicating directly with another nation-state. That’s why we invest a lot of money in a State department and embassies. US Senators (along with the House) control the State Department’s budget and anytime they want they are free to compel answers from the Sec. of State and everyone who works in the State Department. Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi…

      Iran is the sworn enemy of ISIS, so among all the other problems those those 47 Senators caused, another problem was that they probably helped ISIS.

      What you want to focus on is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, aka NAFTA on steroids, because the GOP-led Senate wants to give Obama “fast-track” authority to off shore more jobs and let corporations avoid U.S. courts. President Clinton routinely gets blamed, and justifiably so, for NAFTA, but it was Republican legislation. Obama’s making the same mistake, because he wants T-PP.

      1. I can read just fine, thank you very much. Your objection seems to imply that the Senate has no business communicating with a foreign government. Though unusual, I fail to see how it is not within any senator’s right to send an open letter such as the one they did. In any good faith negotiation, explaining how things work can only help to clarify what all parties should expect. The Iranian’s response to the letter indeed proved their ignorance of how U.S. government works, underscoring that the civics lesson was indeed necessary. Unfortunately I don’t think that it has sunk in with the Iranians, however. Nor do I think they particularly care one way or another, if only because I don’t believe they are negotiating in good faith whatsoever. This is why it is painful to watch the President’s efforts. It is also why so many senators are very skeptical of the negotiations, both content and process, and their concerns are further aggravated by the President’s intention to circumvent the Senate altogether on this.

        As for your second and third paragraphs, they seem to me to be, at best, non sequitors.

        1. I don’t agree with much of anything Obombya has done during his tenure, but attempting negotiations on anything with a foreign government such as Iran, is better than the alternative, the US Senate’s and potus wanna-be Walker’s boots-on-the-ground all out war tough talk, as he hides his putrid yellow ass from the public and the press.

          So you’d rather go in with an all out shock and awe war than attempt to talk. You see a cooler head (Barry’s) than those 47 in the US Senate beating their war drums as appeasement or just undesirable or just a bad idea because of your inherent racist attitude or your own unexamined xenophobic fear and loathing and USA, USA. You seeing JC’s last two paragraphs as non sequitors says you don’t have a clue about US hegemony and crypto-fascism.

          Now, I consider the Cotton letter an outrage — but not because of the Logan Act or “treason.” Frankly, I don’t give a rip about those things. Normally I consider treason a good thing. The actions of Cotton and the senators who co-signed that letter are despicable because, in a case where the executive is actually less militarily aggressive and imperialistic than Congress, the Congressional GOP is attempting to force Obama into a criminal war of aggression on Israel’s behalf. (Not that the attempt was successful — if anything the backlash may have actually caused the Democratic Party to extricate its collective nose from Israel’s posterior by a few microns.)

          So we get a little bit more of an expanded view of the situation, that is a good thing.

  6. It’s not a treaty. Even the Wall Street Journal ripped this stunt and some of the Senators (like Johnson and McCain) realized a line was crossed. China and Russia were handed a gift. HRC was handed a weapon. Forget the weak tea defense and run Cotton out of your Party.

    1. Agreed, EmmaR,

      One news source this morning called Cotton a “toddler” implying he and children shouldn’t play with weapons.

      But Cottton’s childish or ignorant meddling suggests a far greater problem; that is, a lack of leadership in this Congress with a racist McConnell in the Senate and a spineless Boehner in the House.

      1. What I find disturbing is that a few of the Senators tried to pass it off as some sort of “joke”. If that is the case, they are unfit for service and should resign immediately.

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