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Profile: Bruce Ackerman


Positions that Bruce Ackerman has held:

  • Professor of law and political science at Yale




Quote, September 21, 2002

   “The United Nations Charter was ratified as a treaty by the Senate after World War II, and the Constitution explicitly makes all treaties ‘the supreme law of the land.’ The president has no power to pick and choose among the laws that bind him—unless Congress tells him otherwise. This is what makes the precise terms of any Congressional authorization for war against Iraq so important. According to judicial precedents, treaties like the United Nations Charter can be trumped only by subsequent legislation. The Charter would lose its status as governing domestic law if Congress explicitly authorizes the president to make war in violation of its terms.... In contrast, the president's proposal lets him ‘use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force’ —even if he fails to gain further Security Council authorization. This goes far beyond anything allowed by the Charter, which restricts the unilateral use of force to self-defense against ‘armed attack.’ The president's resolution does not mention this crucial limitation. Instead, it converts self-defense into a broad doctrine that can justify unilateral pre-emptive strikes.” [New York Times, 9/21/02]

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