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Keywords:

  • congressional-executive agreements;
  • treaty power;
  • foreign relations law;
  • constitutional law

The limited attention to international agreements in the Constitution has created a void that has left students of American jurisprudence with little direction as to which situations require a Senate-ratified treaty and which situations can be dealt with by other agreements. The scant attention devoted to international agreements in the Constitution has led to debates over the constitutionality of nontreaty agreements. One type of agreement that has generated a good deal of debate is the congressional-executive agreement-an international agreement concluded by the executive branch and authorized or approved by legislation enacted by both houses of Congress. A review of two recent cases, coupled with an independent analysis of the historical practices and legal precedents regarding nontreaty agreements, leads to the conclusion that constitutional-executive agreements are legally permissible.