North American Union Would Trump U.S. Supreme Court

by Jerome R. Corsi
Posted Jun 19, 2006

The Bush Administration is pushing to create a North American Union out of the work on-going in the Department of Commerce under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America in the NAFTA office headed by Geri Word. A key part of the plan is to expand the NAFTA tribunals into a North American Union court system that would have supremacy over all U.S. law, even over the U.S. Supreme Court, in any matter related to the trilateral political and economic integration of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Right now, Chapter 11 of the NAFTA agreement allows a private NAFTA foreign investor to sue the U.S. government if the investor believes a state or federal law damages the investor’s NAFTA business.

Under Chapter 11, NAFTA establishes a tribunal that conducts a behind closed-doors “trial” to decide the case according to the legal principals established by either the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes or the UN’s Commission for International Trade Law. If the decision is adverse to the U.S., the NAFTA tribunal can impose its decision as final, trumping U.S. law, even as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. laws can be effectively overturned and the NAFTA Chapter 11 tribunal can impose millions or billions of dollars in fines on the U.S. government, to be paid ultimately by the U.S. taxpayer.

On Aug. 9, 2005, a three-member NAFTA tribunal dismissed a $970 million claim filed by Methanex Corp., a Canadian methanol producer challenging California laws that regulate against the gasoline additive MTBE. The additive MTBE was introduced into gasoline to reduce air pollution from motor vehicle emissions. California regulations restricted the use of MTBE after the additive was found to contaminate drinking water and produce a health hazard. Had the case been decided differently, California’s MTBE regulations would have been overturned and U.S. taxpayers forced to pay Methanex millions in damages.

While this case was decided favorably to U.S. laws, we can rest assured that sooner or later a U.S. law will be overruled by the NAFTA Chapter 11 adjudicative procedure, as long as the determinant law adjudicated by the NAFTA Chapter 11 tribunals continues to derive from World Court or UN law. Once a North American Union court structure is in place can almost certainly predict that a 2nd Amendment challenge to the right to bear arms is as inevitable under a North American Union court structure as is a challenge to our 1st Amendment free speech laws. Citizens of both Canada and Mexico cannot freely own firearms. Nor can Canadians or Mexicans speak out freely without worrying about “hate crimes” legislation or other political restrictions on what they may choose to say.

Like it or not, NAFTA Chapter 11 tribunals already empower foreign NAFTA investors and corporations to challenge the sovereignty of U.S. law in the United States. Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) has been quoted as saying, “When we debated NAFTA, not a single word was uttered in discussing Chapter 11. Why? Because we didn’t know how this provision would play out. No one really knew just how high the stakes would get.” Again, we have abundant proof that Congress is unbelievably lax when it comes to something as fundamental as reading or understanding the complex laws our elected legislators typically pass.

Under the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) plan expressed in May 2005 for building NAFTA into a North American Union, the stakes are about to get even higher. A task force report titled “Building a North American Community” was written to provide a blueprint for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America agreement signed by President Bush in his meeting with President Fox and Canada’s then-Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Tex., on March 23, 2005.

The CFR plan clearly calls for the establishment of a “permanent tribunal for North American dispute resolution” as part of the new regional North American Union (NAU) governmental structure that is proposed to go into place in 2010. As the CFR report details on page 22:

The current NAFTA dispute-resolution process is founded on ad hoc panels that are not capable of building institutional memory or establishing precedent, may be subject to conflicts of interest, and are appointed by authorities who may have an incentive to delay a given proceeding. As demonstrated by the efficiency of the World Trade Organization (WTO) appeal process, a permanent tribunal would likely encourage faster, more consistent and more predictable resolution of disputes. In addition, there is a need to review the workings of NAFTA’s dispute-settlement mechanism to make it more efficient, transparent, and effective.

Robert Pastor of American University, the vice chairman of the CFR task force report, provided much of the intellectual justification for the formation of the North American Union. He has repeatedly argued for the creation of a North American Union “Permanent Tribunal on Trade and Investment.” Pastor understands that a “permanent court would permit the accumulation of precedent and lay the groundwork for North American business law.” Notice, Pastor says nothing about U.S. business law or the U.S. Supreme Court. In the view of the globalists pushing toward the formation of the North American Union, the U.S. is a partisan nation-state whose limitations of economic protectionism and provincial self-interest are outdated and as such must be transcended, even if the price involves sacrificing U.S. national sovereignty.

When it comes to the question of illegal immigrants, Pastor’s solution is to erase our borders with Mexico and Canada so we can issue North American Union passports to all citizens. In his testimony to the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 9, 2005, Pastor made this exact argument: “Instead of stopping North Americans on the borders, we ought to provide them with a secure, biometric Border Pass that would ease transit across the border like an E-Z pass permits our cars to speed though toll booths.”

Even Pastor worries about the potential for North American Unions to overturn U.S. laws that he likes. Regarding environmental laws, Pastor’s testimony to the Trilateral Commission in November 2002 was clear on this point: “Some narrowing or clarification of the scope of Chapter 11 panels on foreign investment is also needed to permit the erosion of environmental rules.” Evidently it did not occur to Pastor that the way to achieve the protection he sought was to leave the sovereignty of U.S. and the supremacy of the U.S. Supreme Court intact.

The executive branch under the Bush Administration is quietly putting in place a behind-the-scenes trilateral regulatory scheme, evidently without any direct congressional input, that should provide the rules by which any NAFTA or NAU court would examine when adjudicating NAU trade disputes. The June 2005 report by the SPP working groups organized in the U.S. Department of Commerce, clearly states the goal:

We will develop a trilateral Regulatory Cooperative Framework by 2007 to support and enhance existing, as well as encourage new cooperation among regulators, including at the outset of the regulatory process.

We wonder if the Bush Administration intends to present the Trilateral Regulatory Cooperative Framework now being constructed by to Congress for review in 2007, or will the administration simply continue along the path of knitting together the new NAU regional governmental structure behind closed doors by executive fiat? Ms. Word affirms that the membership of the various SPP working group committees has not been published. Nor have the many memorandums of understanding and other trilateral agreements created by these SPP working groups been published, not even on the Internet.