Score One for American Sovereignty: Law of the Sea Treaty Sinks in the Senate

Posted: Jul 16, 2012 9:26 PM

Senator Jim DeMint announced Monday that he secured enough votes to block passage of the Law of the Sea Treaty after Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Rob Portman joined the opposition. Sen. John Kerry needed 67 votes for ratification. The long-stalled Law of the Sea Treaty had been considered Kerry’s audition for Secretary of State. Senator DeMint wrote the following in an opposition letter that now has 34 Republican signatures:


We understand that Chairman Kerry has renewed his efforts to pursue Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We are writing to let you know that we believe this Convention reflects political, economic, and ideological assumptions which are inconsistent with American values and sovereignty.


By its current terms, the Law of the Sea Convention encompasses economic and technology interests in the deep sea, redistribution of wealth from developed to undeveloped nations, freedom of navigation in the deep sea and exclusive economic zones which may impact maritime security, and environmental regulation over virtually all sources of pollution.


To effect the treaty’s broad regime of governance, we are particularly concerned that United States sovereignty could be subjugated in many areas to a supranational government that is chartered by the United Nations under the 1982 Convention. Further, we are troubled that compulsory dispute resolution could pertain to public and private activities including law enforcement, maritime security, business operations, and nonmilitary activities performed aboard military vessels.


If this treaty comes to the floor, we will oppose its ratification.


Heritage Action led the conservative effort against the Law of the Sea Treaty. Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, released the following statement on Monday.


America had little to gain through accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty – but much to lose. Rather than affirming existing practices, it would have instituted a radically new, international legal regime. The demise of the Law of the Sea Treaty not only represents a victory for American sovereignty, but also the American people. For months, constituents have called and emailed their Senators, requested meetings, submitted letters to the editor, and organized in an effort to sink this dangerous treaty. We commend the 34 Senators who stood with their constituents on the side of freedom.


This post was authored by editorial intern Kyle Bonnell.