Just when you thought that everyone was content to let debates about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) simmer down, a group of American legal scholars has now submitted an open letter to the United States Senate, challenging the lack of a Congressional approval process for ACTA.
The letter, published Wednesday, argues that Congress needs to review and approve ACTA, and that the Obama Administration lacks the executive authority to ratify the agreement on behalf of the United States without explicit congressional approval. (This is a position that Harold Koh, a legal advisor to the United States Department of State, has previously taken, though Koh argues the authority was granted by 2008’s PRO-IP Act). Normally, the United States Constitution delegates authority to sign treaties to Congress, which can also give that authority to the White House through either an “ex ante” or an “ex post” Congressional-Executive Agreement.
“The reason Congressional approval is important is that it provides the public process so sorely lacking from the negotiation of the agreement itself,” wrote Sean Flynn, an intellectual property lecturer at American University and one of the letter’s organizers, in an e-mail to Ars. “There has not been a single public hearing on the ACTA text and its impact on US law, for example. As the EU, Australian, and other parliaments provide public processes on ACTA for their own citizens, now is the time for our government to provide the same.”
Read the rest at Ars Technica