The “Obama-Clinton” Policy on Treaty Submissions

by Julian Ku

One small followup on Sarah Cleveland’s articulation of an “Obama-Clinton” approach to international law. In her UVA address, she notes that more treaties have been deposited and ratified in the past year than in any other year in U.S. history.  This is no doubt true, but it is odd that she (or the Obama-Clinton Administration) would take credit for it.  After all, these treaties were all submitted by that guy who was in the presidency before Obama (what was his name?) and his State Department.

In fact, the Obama Administration has been pretty slow to submit treaties to the Senate.  Granted, it’s only been one year and the Koh-Cleveland regime has only been in office since September.  But it is worth noting that they’ve only submitted three treaties to the Senate so far and all of them were protocols to existing and largely unimportant treaties.   Granted, every first year of an administration is slow. But there is no reason to think this administration is particularly fast.

I should also add that for all the concerns raised about the “radical transnationalist” Harold Koh, there is little evidence of this so far, or in the articulation of his approach to international law voiced by Sarah Cleveland.

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