USWA Contests Lower Court's NAFTA Lawsuit Decision
In Documents Filed Before U.S. Appeals Court in Atlanta
Pittsburgh - - November 3, 1999
In legal papers filed last week before the U.S.
Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) has
challenged a lower court decision upholding the validity of NAFTA, even though NAFTA
failed to satisfy the two-thirds Senate approval requirement spelled out in the
'treaty clause' of the U.S. Constitution.
The USWA describes the decision handed down by a district court judge
Birmingham, AL, as one at odds with the text and structure of the
constitution and in defiance of the declared intent of the constitution's framers that the
treaty clause be the only constitutional means by which such far reaching
inter-government commercial agreements as NAFTA may be adopted.
According to the argument being made by the USWA's lawyers, the power
Congress to regulate commerce, relied upon by the lower court as an
alternative road to adoption, gives a majority in both houses of Congress the
authority only to pass legislation, but not to negotiate agreements with foreign
nations. The USWA says that power is reserved exclusively for the president in
conjunction with two-thirds of the U.S. Senate.
Upon filing the legal brief before the appeals court on Oct. 26, USWA
President George Becker stated: "Because NAFTA is such a disaster for working
families in all three countries, and because we believe we are right on the legal
issue, we are waging this fight in the courts. The public is against NAFTA. It's
time for our government to catch up to the people."
The USWA has made available the full 54-page appeals court legal filing
on the following website:
For more information, contact: Carl Frankel, USWA General Counsel,
or Gary Hubbard, USWA Public Affairs (Washington, D.C.), 202/778-4384.