I’m Just a Treaty

by Roger Alford

After Medellin—which calls into question whether treaties have the status of law—I’ll be curious whether the folks at Schoolhouse Rock decide to produce a variation on the old classic cartoon, “I’m Just a Bill.” Here are some possible lyrics for a new cartoon entitled, “I’m Just a Treaty”:

You sure have to climb a lot of steps to get to the Capitol Hill in Washington
Say, I wonder what that sad little scrap of paper is…

I’m just a treaty. Yes I’m only a treaty
And I’m languishing in the capital city
Well it’s a long, long journey
To ratification by a Senate committee
It’s a long, long wait
If you’re a non-self-executing treaty
But I know I’ll be a law someday!
At least I hope and pray they take pity
But today I am still just a treaty

I’m just a treaty. Yes I’m only a treaty.
And I got as far as the capital city
Well, now I’m stuck at the Court
And I sit here and wait.
While a few key Justices
Discuss and debate
Whether they should let me be a law!
Oh, how I hope and pray they agree
But today I am still just a treaty.

I’m just a treaty. Yes I’m only a treaty.
Now I must clear congressional committees
And then I’ll be off to the White House
Where I wait in a line
With other non-self-executing treaties
For the President to sign
And if he signs me then I’ll be a law!
Oh how I hope and pray they agree
But today I am still just a treaty

It’s not easy to become a law is it? No!
Oh, how I hope and pray I will be
But today I am still just a treaty

They implemented you Treaty! Now you’re a law!
Oh yeah!

http://opiniojuris.org/2008/04/12/im-just-a-treaty/

6 Responses

  1. Alternatively, one could simply leave the Schoolhouse Rock version as is, except replace the last line with with “He signed ya, Bill — now you’re a Congressional-Executive Agreement!” ;-)

  2. Followed by: just watch out for those signing statements.

  3. I must say I still prefer the Amendment Song from The Simpsons

  4. Roger wrote: “Well it’s a long, long journey

    To ratification by a Senate committee”

    Treaties are not ratified by a Senate committee (or the Senate). They are ratified by the president.

    Sorry for my lack of humor.

    Francisco Forrest Martin

  5. I knew someone would catch that. I plead poetic license.

    Roger

  6. You could perhaps plead international or comparative terminology (which might not make a lot of sense here): after all, many describe both the act of approval by the legislature and the external expression of consent to be bound as ‘ratification’. I don’t know if that’s the correct terminology in any jurisdiction, but such usage is fairly common where the conclusion of treaties is described without reference to any particular state, in international legal writings.

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