Thursday, October 25, 2007

Presidential Sanctions Legal?

I know it's a strange question to ask, but is it constitutional for the President to place sanctions on a different country? Think about that for a second, the president is telling everyone in America that they cannot not to business with a particular country. To me that seems like a personal liberty that should be left up to me and not the government.

Surely sanctions are unilateral and therefore not a "treaty." As such the congress doesn't have to ratify sanctions, but can the President just impose them at will? If so, that would mean there is not a system of checks and balances in this case. The executive branch would be the sole voice in this regard. Obviously no one man would be allowed to have such power (according to our constitution), as such I am obligated to believe that in fact sanctions are unconstitutional.

This is the section from the constitution regarding presidential powers:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

I just don't see anything in that statement that would give the president the right to impose sanctions on a foreign country; I don't see what right a president has to tell me with whom I can and cannot trade. For that matter, I don't see what right a president has to tell me where I can travel and where I cannot.

This is something I have never really thought about before. I had always assumed it was just implied, but is it? I'm not sure.

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