Praise for Pelosi ignored law, precedent

by Beacon Staff • April 11, 2007

Compelled by what seems to be blind partisanship, The Beacon has chosen to applaud Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Cali.) lone ranger diplomacy in Syria. In doing so, the newspaper has ignored a wealth of legal and judicial precedent which explicitly forbids such action by members of Congress.,Dear Editor,

Compelled by what seems to be blind partisanship, The Beacon has chosen to applaud Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Cali.) lone ranger diplomacy in Syria. In doing so, the newspaper has ignored a wealth of legal and judicial precedent which explicitly forbids such action by members of Congress.

Of particular interest is the United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation, a 1936 Supreme Court case. Writing for the plurality, Justice Sutherland emphasized that the executive branch is the government's only diplomatic agency: "The President ... alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation, the Senate cannot intrude; and Congress itself is powerless to invade it."

That ruling also cites an 1816 report by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: "[T]he interference of the Senate in the direction of foreign negotiations calculate[s] to diminish that responsibility [of the President to conduct diplomatic efforts] and thereby ... impair[s] the best security for the national safety."

Also worth noting is the Logan Act of 1799, which forbids "any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government." The Constitution and subsequent judicial decisions empower the executive branch with said authority. Since President Bush gave no consent to Ms. Pelosi's escapades, she is essentially in violation of that law.

There is little wrong with state-sanctioned good will or investigatory trips to other countries by members of Congress. Ventures of that nature are to be expected in this age of total global interaction. However, Ms. Pelosi has gone above and beyond the limits of her office. In doing so, she has assumed a position that is impossible to defend without disregarding two centuries of federal, constitutional, and organic law.

-Phil Primeau

Freshman

Political communication major