Harold Koh: Many Roadblocks to US Pulling Out of International Agreements—Paris Climate and Iran Nuclear included

The former chief of President Trump’s EPA transition team recently stated that the President “will definitely pull out of Paris climate change deal.” But according to a new law review article by former Legal Adviser to the State Department and Just Security‘s Harold Koh, that may be “easier said than done.”

The Iran Nuclear deal raises similar questions. On Sunday, George Stephanopoulos had the following exchange with Vice President Pence:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson say, “We have to stand by that deal.” Now, is that administration policy?

PENCE: Well, we’re evaluating that as we speak.

Koh argument is relevant as well to that evaluation.

In Triptych’s End: A Better Framework To Evaluate 21st Century International Lawmaking, Koh argues that the conventional framework for evaluating the legality of international lawmaking is outmoded, and proposes a set of standards that aims to better reflect the modern practices and constitutional principles of the United States.

With a focus on two case studies—the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal—Koh argues that, under this new conceptual framework, international agreements like these can be “stickier than might be assumed,” even when they don’t meet the formal requirements of the traditional legal doctrine.

You can read this timely piece here in the Yale Law Journal (see especially “Part IV. Can a New President ‘Cancel’ These Agreements”).

 

Image: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry holds his two year-old grand daughter at the United Nations Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement climate change, April 22, 2016 – Spencer Platt/Getty 

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