Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the editor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.


  1. So you can get around the Constitution by entering into a treaty? That’s news to me. But then again, I’m the guy who failed to offer my condolences for that school shooting.

    • (To be clear up front that is nothing but pure 100% grade A wharbgarble emanating from the electro-acoustic device labelled ‘Panasonic’)

      “So you can get around the Constitution by entering into a treaty? ”

      You’re the legal beagle and I am not, but I was under the impression that this what somewhat of an open question

      1) For example, it has been argued (on the internet at least) that Obama has full unilateral authority for the Libya military operation because of our treaty obligations to NATO and/or the UN

      2) It was tested, in part, in that death penalty case in Texas where it was argued that not granting the accused access to the Mexican Consulate services violated treaty and thus his rights, while such access in not guaranteed as either part of Texas constitution, US Constitution, court precedent, or federal or state law. (I believe they condensed the question to essentially ‘can a treaty override state law?’)

      • My understanding was that ratified treaties trump everything BUT the constitution.
        Otherwise we could treaty away the whole shebang with a presidential signature and a majority vote in the Senate.

        • But I can think of a few plausible cases. A greenhouse gas treaty that sets up a global carbon tax. President could sign, Senate could ratify, but if the House doesn’t pass legislation per their prerogative per the Bills of Revenue clause, is the treaty moot? In an even more plausible example, can the US become part of the International Criminal Court if that Court does not follow to the letter all parts of the US Constitution when it comes to criminal law (including associated case law e.g. Miranda?)

      • How is number 2, at least, even relevant? The US Constitution certainly doesn’t FORBID providing consular access for defendants. If the question boils down to “can a treaty override state law”, then the answer is clearly yes as proscribed by the Constitution’s supremacy clause, just as federal law can override state law.

  2. The video poses an interesting debate for Americans. Here in Australia civilians lost the right some years ago to hold any type of fire arm in their home unless they were registered members of a recognised gunclub. Whilst I personally don’t hold a gun or gun license, what bothers me in particular is if this nation is invaded from the north (Indonesia, China, etc) we will be stuffed as the population will not have the means to defend itself. Americans need to retain that fundamental right to hold a registered firearm.

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