By Richard J. Douglas
By repudiating the Paris climate accord, President Trump began the work of restoring proper limits to presidential power. He also returned authority on treaty-making, usurped by his predecessor, to its proper place: the U.S. Senate. It was the right decision.
Our nation is party to many international treaties on the environment, natural resources, and wildlife. Some date to the 1940s. You may see the list in an excellent U.S. State Department publication called “Treaties in Force.” But with the Paris accord, President Obama disregarded the constitutional process that was most likely to ensure lasting consensus on American treaty obligations: Senate review.
Our nation carefully observes its treaty obligations and expects the same of treaty partners. Durable consensus on those obligations is built in the Senate, not the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, or even the Oval Office. Senate review is a common element among treaties in force for the U.S. today. In fact, it may explain why many were not repudiated or terminated long ago.