Tag Archives: United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child

The Debt Ceiling and the PRA

By Michael Ramey,

You’re probably tired of hearing about the debt by now, but did you realize the proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will help keep us out of worse trouble in the future?

The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been used internationally to urge nations to spend more on their children’s programs, and the CRC Committee has in multiple instances faulted a country for not investing more of its gross domestic product (or GDP) in child aid programs. The Committee has held these nations to be out of compliance with the treaty’s demands – including Moldova, the poorest nation in Europe, which was urged in 2009 to “further increase budget allocations for the implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention.”

Such criticisms may fall on deaf ears elsewhere in the world, but if we were to ratify the CRC here, “the judges in every State [would be] bound thereby,” regardless of any law or state constitutional provisions to the contrary (U.S. Constitution, Article VI). That means our own courts would be constitutionally bound to correct whatever the Committee says is out of compliance with the treaty.

So imagine if we had ratified the CRC last year. Added to the already deafening clamor of voices demanding various expenditures not be touched by Congress, our courts would likely be demanding an increase in federal funding of children’s programs to fulfill treaty obligations under the CRC.

The Parental Rights Amendment will prevent ratification of that treaty and preserve our national sovereignty. At a time when our Congress has been spending way too much already, the last thing we need is the international community (backed by our own courts) demanding that they spend even more!

The national debt is indeed a huge concern, but let’s not lose sight of how vital our parental rights are as well, for the preservation of our nation, our heritage, and our homes.

Michael Ramey is Director of Communications at the Parental Rights organization. To learn more about their work and the Parental Rights amendment, go to www.parentalrights.org

DeMint Resolution Challenges Child Rights Convention

Washington, D.C. – Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) today introduced S.R. 519, a resolution opposing ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (Convention, or CRC) in an effort to discourage the State Department and the Obama administration from submitting it to the Senate. Citing dangers posed to American families and to State and federal sovereignty if the treaty were ratified, the measure resolves that “the president should not submit it to the Senate for its advice and consent.”

In Washington’s current political climate, the resolution has little chance of gaining 51 votes for adoption, but its proponents say that is not the point. Since ratification of the Convention requires a 2/3 majority of the Senate, or 67 favorable votes, S.R. 519 needs only 34 cosponsors to prevent that vote and effectively end any chance of ratifying the treaty in the immediate future.

Opponents of the CRC warn that under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution the treaty’s ratification would render it “the Supreme law of the land,” superseding all state constitutions or laws as well as pre-existing federal law. The only legal authority higher than a ratified treaty is the actual text of the U.S. Constitution. According to Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), ratification of the Convention would “undermine the U.S. system of federalism, a system on which this nation was founded.” All family law, the vast majority of which is currently set at the state level, would be federalized as a treaty obligation of the national government.

“We want to see the CRC taken off the table for this Congress, and this resolution will do that. But I am also aware that the only permanent solution to this threat to our families is a parental rights amendment to the Constitution,” DeMint said, referring to another resolution he champions, S.J. Res. 16, which proposes just such an amendment.

Constitutional lawyer Michael Farris, president of ParentalRights.org, agrees. “The Amendment is what we really need, but this resolution is a good temporary fix in the meantime.”

Senator Boxer Asks State Department to Expedite U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which opponents say could destroy American sovereignty by imposing international rulings on American law, could reach the Senate within 60 days. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) says she wants a 60-day timeframe for the State Department to complete its review so the Senate can move toward ratification of the UNCRC. During the Senate Confirmation hearing between Boxer and UN Ambassador-designate Susan Rice held on January 15, 2009, Boxer told Rice the UNCRC would protect “the most vulnerable people of society.”

Opponents vehemently disagree. Under the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the U.S. Constitution, ratified treaties preempt state law. Since virtually all laws in the U.S. regarding children are state laws, this treaty would negate nearly 100% of existing American family law. Moreover, it would grant the government authority to override parental decisions by applying even to good parents a standard now only used against those convicted of abuse or neglect.

In the hearing, Rice promised to review the treaty but noted “challenges of domestic implementation.” Rice also resisted a strict time frame: “I don’t have a sense of how long it will take us, in light of the many different things on our plate,” she said.

Calling it a “complicated treaty,” Rice expressed her commitment to the treaty’s objectives, but when Rice concluded that she could not meet the Senator’s strict time frame, Boxer said they would take it up with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For more articles about this issue, visit UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article by Article at Parental Rights.org. This organization is also seeking an introduction and passage of parental rights amendment.