Wednesday, June 17, 2009

International Law versus Army Recruiters

Are we going to let the United Nations supercede our sovereignty?  Overrule our laws?  Dictate to us what we will and won't do?
Regardless what side of this particular argument you're on, take a look at the bigger picture. Do you not see the danger of getting entangled in UN-based and other international treaties?
America can get along with its global neighbors just fine, but we don't have to give up the farm in the process.

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International Law versus Army Recruiters

A U.S. District Court in Oakland last week declined to hear oral arguments in a case pitting international law against U.S. military policy. Judge Saundra Armstrong announced Tuesday that she would decide the case based on briefs and other documents presented to the court for that purpose. "No matter the outcome," Arcata counsel Brad Yamauchi says, "we're going to appeal to the 9th Circuit and possibly the Supreme Court."

At the heart of the case are local ordinances from Eureka and Arcata, two northern California cities, which would prohibit U.S. armed services recruiters from initiating contact with youths under 18, anywhere within city limits. The U.S. Department of Justice first filed suit against the towns, claiming that these Youth Protection Acts fail under Article VI of the Constitution, which makes federal law supreme over contradictory state or local legislation.

In response, the cities filed countersuits claiming that current military policy violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child's Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict, which the U.S. ratified in 2002. (This is a separate but related treaty to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); the U.S. has not ratified the main CRC.) "When the government enters into an international treaty or protocol, that becomes the law of the United States," says Yamauchi, also citing Article VI.  The cities claim that the U.S. military is in violation of the Protocol's prohibition on the recruiting of children for military service. Current federal law allows representatives of the armed services to educate high school and college students on military career options, alongside other educational and vocational recruiters at job fairs and the like. To actually enlist, however, one must be 18, or close to 18 with parental consent. This countersuit constitutes the first time since the 2002 ratification of the protocol that the federal government's compliance with the treaty has been legally questioned.

Judge Armstrong's decision to forgo oral arguments is widely considered favorable to the federal government's case. "[I]f anything, it is a negative sign for us because we obviously have the steeper hill to climb," admits Eureka City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner. However, Armstrong's decision, which could come at any time, is not likely to be the end, nor is it safe to guess how the 9th Circuit might rule if the case is appealed.

That this case exists at all is evidence of the threat that international law presents to our American way of life. Should the full CRC be ratified, not only federal law, but even state, local and individual family decisions will come under the authority of the United Nations when children are involved. The Parental Rights Amendment is the only guaranteed method to permanently stop international law from interfering with family and state laws.

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