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Cruz Urges Supreme Court to Uphold U.S. Sovereignty in Bond v. U.S.

In Heritage Foundation speech, addresses limits of treaty power

WASHINGTON, DC -- At the Heritage Foundation today, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) addressed the limits of the U.S. government’s treaty power in advance of next week's U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Bond v. United States.

As Solicitor General of Texas, Cruz argued Medellin v. Texas, which found that the President lacked authority to order a state to submit to the International Court of Justice.

Here are rush excerpts:

“[In the case of Medellin v. Texas], At the end of the day, the Supreme Court ended up agreeing with Texas across the board. We won 6-3 with a victory where the court concluded that one, the World Court has no authority to bind the U.S. Justice System and number two, the President of the United States has no authority to order the state courts to obey the World Court. Those were both significant decisions going to U.S. sovereignty and structural constraints of the U.S. government.


“Surely it cannot be the case that the president could sign a treaty giving away our First Amendment rights…. could restrict the freedom of the press, could restrict our freedom of free exercise of religion, signing some treaty and getting the Senate to ratify it.

“Surely it could not be the case as this President is trying to do with the UN Small Arms Treaty, that a treaty could be used as a back door to undermine the individual protections of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

“The Bill of Rights would be a hollow document indeed if every one of the Bill of Rights was read as having an asterisk at the end unless a treaty is passed that takes away this right.


“If the broad interpretation of the Missouri v. Holland snippet is accurate…you now have a roadmap – if you find the limitations on the federal governments authority irksome, any president has a simple path to get around it. Find any nation in the world, negotiate a treaty agreeing to do what you couldn’t do otherwise, and if the Senate ratifies it – and by the way that means you can cut the House of Representatives out of everything – then suddenly the federal government has authority it didn’t have before.

“That is a radical interpretation of the treaty power. That is what is at issue in Bond: does the treaty power enable the federal government to circumvent the structural limitations on the authority of the federal government? … The proposition that the Treaty Clause is a trump card that defeats all of the remaining structural limitations on the federal government is not a proposition that is logically defensible.

“That’s what the Court is going to be wrestling with. In Medellin v. Texas they did the right thing. They defended U.S. sovereignty, they upheld the structural limitations on government power, which serves to protect individual liberty, and it is my hope that in Bond v. United States, the Supreme Court does the same thing, that it interprets the treaty power with an eye towards the 10th Amendment, with an eye towards our federalist system and the structural limitations on the federal government, and with an eye towards protecting United States sovereignty.”