Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden has demanded that the Obama administration receive Congressional assent before signing the USA up to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a wide-reaching international copyright treaty that was negotiated in secret (even Congress and the European Parliament weren't allowed to read the treaty drafts as they were negotiated). Wyden argues that the Obama administration's position -- which holds that the president can unilaterally bind the US to enact and maintain legislation -- is at odds with the constitution. In Wired, David Kravets speaks to Sean Flynn, a legal expert, about the dispute, who sides with Wyden, and quotes the US Trade Rep Ron Kirk maintaining that Congress has no role in this trade negotiation.
Wyden's demand is embodied in a legislative proposal to amend H. R. 3606 (the JOBS act), whose purpose is given as "To prohibit the President from accepting or providing for the entry into force of certain legally binding trade agreements without the formal and express approval of Congress."
“It’s a huge deal whether Congress signs it or not,” said Sean Flynn, an American University, Washington College of Law intellectual-property scholar. "The reason it is a big deal, because this is what this agreement does, it tells domestic legislatures what its law must be or not be. These type of agreements are the most important to go through legislative approval and go through a public process and commenting on what the norms are of that agreement. The reason, it locally restricts what the democratic process can do."
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.