Jan 282007

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Congress has ceded the power to regulate commerce and much more to corporate interests with the passage of NAFTA (North american Free Trade Agreement) and CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). NAFTA was promoted by the executive branches of both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Through deception and false promises, Chapter 11 was left in the agreement, with full knowledge that it would destroy a good part of American sovereignty, an important first step in developing a trading state based on trade agreements, with open borders and the end of the sovereign nation state.

The best way to accomplish this in America is by “an end run around the Constitution, eroding it piece by piece.” NAFTA’s big weapon to make this a reality is Chapter 11, which allows foreign investors (corporations) to sue the government of a NAFTA member state (America, Canada or Mexico) if it, or any level of government passes “any law, regulation. procedure, requirement or practice,” that prevents a foreign investor from making a profit.

Under Chapter 11, the foreign investor can chose to have a NAFTA tribunal hear the case or go through the member state’s court system. If the investor is dissatisfied with the verdict of a member state’s court, he can go to the tribunal. “If an investor prevails in its NAFTA claim, the losing nation is obliged to compensate the firm from the national treasury.” http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTAReport_Final.pdf

“Corporate investors have used NAFTA’s investor-state enforcement system to challenge domestic court rulings, local and state environmental policies, municipal contracts, tax policy, federal controlled substances regulations, federal and state anti-gambling policies, a federal government’s alleged failure to provide water rights, and even the provision of public postal services [Canada]. http://www.bilaterals.org/spip.php?article1353

NAFTA-created tribunals have handled challenges to U.S. court verdicts and ruled on them. In some cases, member states have changed their laws to avoid these tribunals.

Comments on NAFTA’s Chapter 11:

“These cases show that there is a growing threat to democratic governance and state sovereignty as more and more state and local government policies, even court decisions, are targeted by NAFTA investors.” [bilaterals]

Peter Spiro, Hofstra University law professor, stated: “…it points to a fundamental reorientation of our constitutional system. You have an international tribunal essentially reviewing American court judgements.”

John D. Echeverria, a law professor at Georgetown University: “This is the biggest threat to United States judicial independence.”

Chief Justice Ronald M. George of the California Supreme Court warned: “There are grave implications here. It’s rather shocking that the highest courts of the states and federal government could have their judgements circumvented by these tribunals.”

Professor Echeverria noted that since the executive branch of both Republican and Democratic administrations supported Chapter 11, a state “…would appear to have standing to seek a declaration in federal court that the investor-state litigation process (Chapter 11) violates Article III (of the U.S. Constitution). When and if a state takes up this challenge, the conclusion will almost certainly be that the investor-state process is unconstitutional.”

Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, commenting on these tribunals: “Article III of our Constitution reserves to federal courts the power to decide cases and controversies and the U.S. Congress may not delegate to another tribunal “the essential attributes’ of judicial power.

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 Posted by at 7:05 am