Guest Post: UN Treaty Would Undermine US Sovereignty And Eradicate Parental Rights
On July 16, former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum joined the fight against a a threat, one that is personal for him. Tomorrow that threat will take a turn for the worse or for the better as it comes to a vote in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It doesn’t only affect Rick Santorum and his family, but it will expose thousands of Americans to a loss of liberty and representation. This threat comes from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Although the CRPD may perhaps sound noble, the rights that it threatens to wrest from Americans are vast and troubling.
On May 18th, (2012) President Obama sent the CRPD, which he signed on July 30th, 2009, to the U.S. Senate for ratification. Tomorrow, after a brief halt to the progress of the UN treaty resulting from opposition of American citizens, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote on the CRPD. While some senators have serious concerns about the implications of the treaty to American citizens with disabilities, the majority of the committee has expressed its support of the CRPD. This should place every freedom-loving American on high alert!
Although on its face, signing a treaty originating from the UN may sound deceptively good and in the spirit of human cooperation, it is a death knell to U.S. autonomy. That is is because the CRPD is a treaty. According to the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in Article VI*, a treaty once signed becomes the supreme law of the land. If the Senate ratifies a treaty, the terms of that treaty trump any American laws pertaining to the issues addressed in the treaty. In the case of the CRPD, all laws regarding disabled persons established by federal or state legislative bodies will be subject to UN review or approval. This means that the voice of disabled citizens lobbying their representatives in their state legislatures or Congress on their own behalf will be muted by the over-arching arm of the UN.**
Dr. Michael Farris, a lawyer and expert on international law, who testified against the treaty to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (see full committee hearing from July 12, 2012 here), expresses his concern this way: “The committee is missing the difference between national and international law — failing to recognize that not only will the UNCRPD affect U.S. law, but it will actually subject our sovereign nation to international law.” He has compiled a list of 10 problems with the CRPD of concern to Americans. Here are some of them:
Any remaining state sovereignty on the issue of disability law will be entirely eliminated by the ratification of this treaty. The rule of international law is that the nation-state that ratifies the treaty has the obligation to ensure compliance. This gives Congress total authority to legislate on all matters regarding disability law—a power that is substantially limited today. [Congress in turn will then be forced to comply to UN interpretation of the treaty.]
[The treaty] requires the United States to use its maximum resources for compliance with these standards.
The United States, as a wealthy nation, would be obligated to fund disability programs in nations that could not afford their own programs.
[G]overnment—acting under UN directives—gets to determine for all children with disabilities what the government thinks is best….[T]he government—and not the parent—would have the ultimate authority to determine if a child with special needs will be homeschooled, attend a private school, or be required to accept the program offered by the public school….[T]his convention is nothing less than the complete eradication of parental rights for the education of children with disabilities.
For the full list go here.
These are some of the reasons why, as Americans, we cannot sit back and let the autonomy and rights of fellow Americans be stripped away by the force of encroaching international law. If you become disabled, ratification of the this treaty would directly affect you. Also, the lessons of history tell us that if this passes it will provide the proponents of international law all the more impetus to push for complete jurisdiction over all American citizens which is their goal.
Please call your senators to express your concerns about the CRPD’s ability to usurp your rights of representation and autonomy as a U.S. citizen.
Sen. John Hoeven (R)
DC Office: 202-224-2551
Sen. Kent Conrad (D)
DC Office: 202-224-2043
If you’re not from North Dakota, go here.
For more short testimony go here.
*Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states: “…all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”)
** Americans will face more infringement of rights than citizens of other nations simply because the U.S. is the only nation with a constitution which holds the terms of treaties above its own laws. This is one reason why American leadership has traditionally been so reluctant to sign UN treaties while other nations seem to have few scruples about it and do so readily.
Alison Grotberg is the wife of former Republican US Senate candidate Dwight Grotberg.Tags: un convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, United Nations