Are Executive Agreements a Permanent Part of American Law

Executive agreements have become a common tool in American foreign policy. But are they a permanent part of American law? In short, the answer is yes, but with some qualifications.

Executive agreements are international agreements made between the President and a foreign government, without seeking the advice and consent of the Senate. This is in contrast to treaties, which must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate to become binding.

Executive agreements have become increasingly popular since the mid-twentieth century. This is partly because the Senate has become more reluctant to approve treaties, and partly because executive agreements can be negotiated and ratified more quickly than treaties.

So, are executive agreements a permanent part of American law? The answer is yes, because they are recognized and upheld by the courts as legally binding. In the landmark 1937 case United States v. Belmont, the Supreme Court held that an executive agreement was „the equivalent of a treaty” and had the same force and effect.

However, there are limits to the use of executive agreements. The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce and make rules regarding naturalization and immigration. Therefore, executive agreements that conflict with these powers may be unconstitutional.

Moreover, executive agreements are subject to the political winds of the moment. A new President can simply rescind an executive agreement made by their predecessor. The Trump administration, for example, withdrew from the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, both of which were executive agreements signed by the Obama administration.

In conclusion, executive agreements are a permanent part of American law, recognized and upheld by the courts. However, their use is constrained by constitutional limits and the politics of the moment. As such, they will continue to be an important tool in American foreign policy, but their scope and longevity will be subject to ongoing debate and scrutiny.