Congressional Republicans have been stymied in their attempts to block President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, their hands tied by opposition Democrats and the nature of the deal itself. While it is unlikely that even a new House Speaker can make much progress in this climate, Senator John McCain thinks the deal should be decided by the courts.
Talking to The Daily Signal this week, McCain said, “I think he’s in defiance of the law and I believe we should have lawsuits that bring justice.”
McCain’s point of contention lies in the so-called “side deals” that Iran has worked out with the International Atomic Energy Agency. These deals add new wrinkles into the program, and they have not been made available to Congress for scrutiny. According to McCain and other Republicans, this puts the administration in violation of a bill introduced in spring by Senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin.
“We want to make sure the leadership understands that we do not believe that administration has complied with the Corker bill,” said Rep. Raul Labrador as the clock counted down on the review period.
And indeed, they did not. According to the Corker bill, the administration was obligated to provide all content to Congress, including “all related materials and annexes.” By withholding the details of the side agreements between Iran and the IAEA, the administration made it impossible for Congress to give the deal a thorough assessment and – quite possibly – broke the law.
The problem with a lawsuit – besides the usual round of negative publicity that the liberal media will be all too happy to provide – is that the IAEA is under no obligation to provide the details Republicans want. That’s not to say that a lawsuit can bear no fruit, but it won’t be an easy victory by any means. Even so, McCain believes it’s worth pursuing.
“We ought to go to court on this one because I believe it’s in violation of the law that was passed that required a full and complete understanding of all the details of the agreement,” he said.
Is it worth losing political capital to go after this deal in court? Perhaps. A protracted legal battle could tie this deal up for a long time, and that alone makes it worth a try. It also demonstrates that our lawmakers understand what a bad deal this is, and it highlights the fact that this president is acting in bad faith. This deal needs to be hashed out in the court of public opinion as much as it needs to be settled legally. A lawsuit could shed light on this president’s lawlessness, and it could prove how dangerous this deal would be for America’s interests.
When you’re dealing with a president who thinks he’s an emperor, lawsuits make a lot of sense. Republicans are right to push this issue as far as they can take it.