Rabkin Testifies Before Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Professor Jeremy Rabkin made a November 21 appearance on Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a full committee hearing on "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities." The hearing was the committee's second regarding the ratification of the Disability Treaty.

In his testimony Rabkin pointed out that a treaty is a solemn international commitment and advised against embracing a new international commitment on the basis of emotional identification of its aims. He advised that the U.S. study the experience of other nations and learn from it, rather than committing itself to do the same things in the same ways.

"To embrace this convention is to confess that we don't think we can decide these matters for ourselves," Rabkin said. "It is to confess that we don't think ourselves worthy of self-government. It is not, then, a fulfillment of our Declaration of Independence but a repudiation of its central premise—that we have a right, as an independent nation, to decide for ourselves how we will be governed."

Additional witnesses at the hearing were Secretary of State John Kerry; Frances West, worldwide director of IBM's Human Ability & Accessibility Center; C. Boyden Gray of C. Boyden Gray and Associates, former White House counsel and ambassador; and Curtis Bradley, professor of law at the Duke University School of Law.