The Iran nuclear deal is signed, it survived a congressional hurdle and now even the sanctions are being removed, but Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is now looking to the courts to stop the deal in its tracks.
Gohmert says this is the last chance to derail what he insists is a treaty while Barack Obama is in the White House.
Despite the fact the deal is already being implemented in multiple ways, Gohmert insists the law is on his side.
“It alters the Non-Proliferation Treaty in a number of respects. You can’t alter a treaty with something that isn’t a treaty. It gets into weapons. It gets into a number of things that can only be done with a treaty,” said Gohmert, a former judge who now sits on the House Judiciary Committee.
He says President Obama’s ongoing actions also add to the case.
“There is a decent shot in court because the president has continued to act under this deal as if it were affirmed. It is a treaty and he’s acting like it was ratified and it simply has not been. Never mind that Iran continues to violate the terms and continues to say ‘Death to America,'” said Gohmert.
But there is also a major problem. Congress never declared the agreement a treaty. Instead, Republicans adopted the Corker-Cardin bill. Concerned in early 2015 that Congress would have no say on any deal, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., authored legislation that would require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to reject the deal. It failed in the Senate.
Had the Senate declared it a treaty, a two-thirds majority could have been needed to ratify it.
“The Senate should have had the guts to treat it as a treaty, not bring it up under the Corker bill because the Corker bill did not apply to a treaty. Bring it up for a ratification vote that requires two-thirds. It wouldn’t have gotten anything close. Then it would have been a lot easier to go to court and establish that the administration could not act in accordance with a treaty that had not been ratified,” said Gohmert.
“Since the Senate didn’t have the courage to stand by the Constitution and do what was needed – at least their leaders didn’t – then that is going to make the court challenge a little more difficult,” said Gohmert.
While the Senate tactics are a major setback, Gohmert says a court case can still proceed.
“[Congress] can still go to court. They can still get a court to rule and a judge in his right mind should say, ‘Yeah, this is a treaty and it didn’t get ratified. So no, you can’t act under this treaty and give the largest supporters of terrorism in the world $100-150 billion so they can kill more Americans,'” said Gohmert.
He says the case does not need any congressional vote, although a subsequent Senate vote on ratification would be a big help. Nonetheless, he says the House never voted on Corker-Cardin and that should bolster the case.
“It was clear from our vote, which the appellate court can take judicial note of, that we didn’t recognize it as being in compliance with Corker-Cardin so it would have been perfectly understandable for the Senate to then take it up as a treaty and vote it down. Unfortunately they did not,” said Gohmert.
Gohmert says it is vital to keep up this fight because Obama is already stiff-arming Congress on new issues, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions.
“Keep in mind the existing law says the president cannot release the sanctions to Congress for a vote,” said Gohmert.