Congress's Power to Constrain Presidential Withdrawal from International Agreements: A Working Paper

12 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2019

Date Written: October 1, 2017

Abstract

This working paper aims to assess the tools available to Congress to restrict or constrain the President’s capacity to withdraw from international agreements. Many assume that Congress has little or no power to restrict withdrawal from treaties and, in practice, that has proven largely true. But this paper tries to explore more fully whether there any ways in which Congress can act — either in advance or in the moment — to restrict, slow, or even stop withdrawal.

The paper is organized according to the ways in which the United States makes international commitments: (1) Article II Treaties; (2) Congressional-Executive Agreements; (3) Sole Executive Agreements; and (4) Non-Binding Commitments (which are not, technically speaking international agreements, but nonetheless are worthy of consideration given their growing prominence in the U.S. diplomatic sphere). The paper briefly assesses each in turn.

Keywords: Article II Treaty, Congressional-Executive Agreement, Sole Executive Agreement, Non-Binding Commitment, Withdrawal

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Hathaway, Oona A., Congress's Power to Constrain Presidential Withdrawal from International Agreements: A Working Paper (October 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3327847 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3327847

Oona A. Hathaway (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-4992 (Phone)
203-432-1107 (Fax)

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