A lawsuit filed last week by the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) has the potential to invalidate NAFTA. That could make the hotly contested issue of opening the U.S. border to Mexican trucks a moot point.
USWA filed a Certiorari petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on July 6, challenging the constitutionality of NAFTA. Based on a federal lawsuit it originally filed in July 1998, USWA charges NAFTA is unconstitutional because it is by definition a treaty and therefore required a two-thirds vote of the U.S. Senate before being implemented.
NAFTA was approved by simple majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate in 1993 at the urging of President Clinton. The Senate approved NAFTA by a vote of 61 to 38, short of the two-thirds margin needed that USWA claims is necessary for a treaty.
In February, the Federal Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that USWA’s challenge raised a “political question” beyond its jurisdiction, which prompted the filing before the U.S. Supreme Court.