Steelworkers and NAFTA

jf noonan jfn1 at
Tue Jul 14 09:02:22 PDT 1998

I'm wondering if anybody (Justin Schwartz perhaps?) has an opinion of the likely success or failure of the Steelworkers' constitutional challenge to NAFTA. For those who haven't heard, the Steelworkers are challenging NAFTA as unconstitutional because it is (they assert) a treaty which requires 2/3 of the Senate to vote in favor for it to be legally binding. Defenders of NAFTA say it is simply "trade legislation" and therefore only requires a simple majority of both houses. NAFTA only received 61 votes in the Senate. Lawrence Tribe agrees with the Steelworkers saying the Founding Fathers wanted treaties to very difficult to enter into. (They used the phrase "avoiding foreign entanglements" almost constantly around the time of the drafting of the Constitution.)

A similar suit was filed by another union some time back but was dismissed because they lacked standing i.e. they couldn't show that any of their workers had been harmed *directly*. The new suit is on behalf of the former employees of Huffy bicycle company in Ohio that after several rounds of concessions to the bosses still had their plant closed and moved to Mexico.


Joseph Noonan jfn1 at

"If the government doesn't like the people, why doesn't it dissolve them and elect a new people?" --Brecht

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