Although the Congressional fight over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may have ended when the NAFTA Implementation Act passed by a narrow margin, the controversy surrounding NAFTA has not. In Made in the USA Foundation v. United States, the United Steel Workers of American and others asserted that NAFTA was void because it had been approved as a congressional-executive agreement when it should have been approved as a treaty under Article II, Clause 2 of the U.S. constitution. The author discusses the constitutional law issue raised by the lawsuit, namely the validity of the long-standing U.S. practice of submitting trade treaties for Congressional approval as congressional-executive agreements rather than under the treaty clause. Although the lawsuit is framed in terms of a constitutional issue, it highlights the broader political debate about renewal of fast track authority for negotiating trade agreements and appears to represent another attack on the fast track through use of the judicial system. The article concludes by highlighting the ongoing tension between the quick negotiation of free trade agreements and the need to take into account the social and environmental impacts of such agreements.
Wagner, Constance Z., Another Attack on the Fast Track (2000). 44 Saint Louis University Law Journal 1047 (2000).