Revolving door politics: Can a U.S. president rejoin an international treaty?

A new article by Penn Law Professor Jean Galbraith illuminates how and why future presidents can use their power to reenter the same international agreements the current president is withdrawing from, without returning to Congress for renewed advice and consent.

Jean Galbraith
Penn Law’s Jean Galbraith.

“Rejoining Treaties,” forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review, addresses an underexplored question of separation of powers and international law that has become increasingly urgent in the current polarized political climate: “Does the original Senate resolution of advice and consent to a treaty remain effective even after a President has withdrawn the United States from [that] treaty?” Delving deep into the constitutional and theoretical underpinnings of presidential and Congressional authority relating to treaties, the article answers that question in the affirmative, providing a valuable framework that has the potential to increase stability in the international order. 

Galbraith is a scholar of U.S. foreign relations law and public international law. Her work focuses on the allocation of legal authority among U.S. governmental actors and, at the international level, between domestic actors and international regimes.

“Since coming to office, President Trump has pursued a policy of international disengagement on many fronts,” Galbraith writes, not only rolling back international commitments made by President Barack Obama through executive or other authority, but also signaling an interest in terminating treaties—“legal instruments that received the advice and consent of two-thirds of the Senate and thus commanded, at least at one point in history, strong bipartisan support.”

Read more at Penn Law News.