View Full Version : Does denying civil rights by treaty equal breach of contract?

May 28, 2009, 07:06 PM
This is a follow up thread to the 1977 US-Mexican Arms Treaty thread (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=352254).

If a treaty is made with a foreign power that denies enumerated rights to US citizens:

- is it enforceable?
- is it legal?
- does it have any meaning?

May 28, 2009, 07:19 PM
I would hope that it isnt legal, and I'm sure that our founding fathers would say the same, but with todays leadership, its very difficult to say how it will all turn out.

I'm going to watch this thread and see if any intresting information turns up.

May 28, 2009, 10:52 PM
Sounds more like treason to me.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 29, 2009, 06:43 AM
If it is a civil right guaranteed by the Constitution then the treaty has no effect and is not enforceable.

Signing treaties that add or remove restrictions is not "breach of contract" since the contract in question (the Constitution) specifically authorizes the President to sign treaties and the Senate to ratify those treaties. That is just the downside of representative government with 300 million people, you won't always like everything they do.

Realistically though, look at it this way, if the treaty was signed by the President, ratified by the Senate (takes 2/3 majority), and upheld by the Supreme Court - exactly who is left on your side?

It would be an especially long reach to consider CIFTA to be THAT treaty since the treaty itself acknowledges that foreign governments have no obligation to enact the regulations called for in the treaty. The concern with CIFTA is that administrative agencies might use the treaty as the basis for revising administrative rules and regulations pertaining to firearms; not that it would suddenly enact a whole host of new laws.

Double Naught Spy
May 29, 2009, 07:36 AM
No, it is not a contract in the sense that it is not an agreement between parties to which both parties have actually agreed. Essentially, Constitutional Rights are forced upon citizens by the government. Citizens may or may not opt to exercise said rights, but that doesn't matter in terms of whether or not the Constitution is a contract. The Constitution is simply the highest form of law and is no more a contract than an anti dumping pollution law.

Sounds more like treason to me.
Then you apparently don't know what treason is. The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

May 29, 2009, 02:31 PM
OK, but what is the duty of the citizen when the treaty terms adversely impact his rights?

And BTW, civil rights are not forced on the citizens by the government. Rights, by definition, exist whether or not the government exists or not.

Double Naught Spy
May 29, 2009, 06:06 PM
And BTW, civil rights are not forced on the citizens by the government. Rights, by definition, exist whether or not the government exists or not.

Uh, no. What you are talking about is called "natural rights" and natural rights do not involve firearms.

Constitutional (civil) rights are legal rights and are contingent on laws. The 2nd Amendment is a civil right. Note that the 2nd Amendment was granted or forced upon the People by the Goverment when the Goverment decided to amend the Constitution, which was created not by the whole of the population, voted or agreed upon by the population. The population did not vote or agree upon the Amendments either. If you are physically within the bounds of the United States, they apply to you - whether you want them to or not. They do not apply to you necessarily if you are not in the bounds of the United States (or its territories).

May 29, 2009, 07:16 PM
That is in direct contrast to everything I have read by Madison, Jefferson, Hancock, Adams, Hamilton, and Jay. Not to mention the Magna Carta and most other Judeo-Christian documents which tackle the concept of rights.

Regardless, civil rights are a subset of rights. If they do not exist without government, then they are "privileges", not rights, the government being the author and grantor.

Natural rights do involve the right to self defense, which includes weapons based on escalation. Weapons includes firearms.

I think you are looking at the issue backwards. Rights are not forced on the people by government, rather the people's rights are enforced by government, at least in a just society. In an unjust society, rights are ignored (or worse) by government.

Are you saying, either practically or theoretically, that the people serve the government, rather than the other way around? Or are you just yanking my chain?

May 29, 2009, 09:41 PM
Constitutional (civil) rights are legal rights and are contingent on laws. The 2nd Amendment is a civil right.

Sorry 00,
The US Constitution is law. This law defines why we are forming the goverment, the basic structure of the federal government and some relational definitions of the States, assigns authorities and responsibilities of the various pieces of that structure, how we change the constitution, and lists specifically certain rights that government has no or, at least, limited authority over (including, in the 10th amendment, any authority not listed in the constitution - this the most ignored part of the constitution, today).

All rights (if you don't like "natural rights", substibite "inalienable rights"), are assumed, with certain thought to be important enough to list specifically.

The 2nd Amendment is not a civil right. It is law, a law that, at the least, limits the government's authority to interfere with the pre-existing right of citizens to keep and bear arms.