Iraq Pact May Violate Constitution, Scholars Warn

Constitutional law scholars yesterday warned a congressional subcommittee that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and Iraq potentially runs afoul of the constitutions of both nations, and has urged the Bush Administration to rather seek an extension of the UN Mandate to authorize the troops to remain in Iraq beyond the end of the year.

From the Iraqi perspective, there continues to be dispute over how many votes are required to pass the 275-member parliament. The Maliki government has maintained that it needs only a simple majority, but opponents insist that security pacts require a two-thirds majority.

Of course that concern pales in comparison to the American side, where the administration has long asserted that no congressional approval will be sought. Though the president has the authority to pass executive agreements without Congress, scholars warn that the SOFA is far more comprehensive than previous ones, and would seem to require congressional approval.

Congressman William Delahunt has publicly condemned the Bush Administration over the deal, complaining that the they “kept the American people totally in the dark” and have refused to even provide the Congress with a copy of the deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.