Constitutional Law

QWhat are the requirements for an effective treaty to be formed with a foreign government?
A In order to be effective, it must first (1) be signed by the President and a foreign leader, and then (2) be ratified by the Senate. It is not effective until ratification.
QIf a treaty signed by the President and ratified by the Senate conflicts with another law, which has priority?
AThe answer depends on the law that the treaty conflicts with. 

  1. State Law: Treaties always prevail over conflicting state laws.
  2. Federal Law: The last in time controls if treaty conflicts with federal law.
  3. Constitution: The Constitution always prevails over a conflicting treaty.
QMay the President form an effective/enforceable agreement with a foreign country without ratification by the Senate?
AYes, executive agreements are effective when signed by the President and the head of a foreign country. There is no need for Senate ratification.
QThe President signs an executive agreement with the Zenotopian head of state. The agreement pledges that the United States will give aid to Zenotopia in consideration for certain trade concessions. Is this agreement effective or is it beyond the powers of the President?
AThe agreement is effective. Executive agreements can be used for any purpose – same as treaties.
QSame facts as the previous question, but a federal law exists that outlaws trade with Zenotopia?
AThen the agreement, at least as far as trade is concerned, would be invalid. Executive agreements do not supercede conflicting federal law.
NOTE: Executive agreements do prevail over conflicting state law, but never federal law or the Constitution.
 

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