Yesterday, 47 Republican senators published a letter telling the leaders of Iran to ignore Obama and not become involved in any negotiations through the President. These Senators explained in the letter how the constitutional system works in the United States, basically implying that the largely Republican Congress, not the President, was in control.
However, according to Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor, these individuals were inaccurate in explaining their role in the lawmaking process. He explains, “Senate consent is a necessary but not sufficient condition of treaty ratification for the United States. In other words, it’s a two-sided process that involves the president just as much as it involves Congress. The group probably wanted to de-emphasize the sharing of power with the Obama administration because: One, they hate Obama and petty insults are not beneath them. And two, they want to feel more important than they actually are.”
Goldsmith’s simple analysis of their mistakes shows that the mistakes are technical, but it is quite embarrassing that the people who would supposedly have the strongest grasp on constitutional law would make such a blunder for everyone to see.
It is interesting to note that Senator Tom Cotton, one of the major writers of this flawed letter, is a graduate of Harvard Law School. This is quite an embarrassment for the Republicans of the Senate, who set out to disrespect President Obama with their letter, but just ended up humiliating themselves. They will probably think twice before doing something like this again.