Senator Boxer Asks State Department to Expedite the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
February 9, 2009
After Ambassador Susan Rice’s inability to make an “iron-clad commitment” for immediate ratification, Boxer will ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for U.S. support of the UNCRC.
The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which opponents say could destroy American sovereignty by imposing international rulings on American law, could reach the Senate within 60 days. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) says she wants a 60-day timeframe for the State Department to complete its review so the Senate can move toward ratification of the UNCRC. During the Senate Confirmation hearing between Boxer and UN Ambassador-designate Susan Rice held on January 15, 2009, Boxer told Rice the UNCRC would protect “the most vulnerable people of society.”
Opponents vehemently disagree. Under the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the U.S. Constitution, ratified treaties preempt state law. Since virtually all laws in the U.S. regarding children are state laws, this treaty would negate nearly 100% of existing American family law. Moreover, it would grant the government authority to override parental decisions by applying even to good parents a standard now only used against those convicted of abuse or neglect.
In the hearing, Rice promised to review the treaty but noted “challenges of domestic implementation.” Rice also resisted a strict timeframe: “I don’t have a sense of how long it will take us, in light of the many different things on our plate,” she said.
Calling it a “complicated treaty,” Rice expressed her commitment to the treaty’s objectives, but when Rice concluded that she could not meet the Senator’s strict timeframe, Boxer said they would take it up with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.