International Law versus Army Recruiters 

Press Contact: Rebekah Pizana,,, (540) 751-1200

by Jim Bentley Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A U.S. District Court in Oakland last week struck down regulations in two California cities pitting international law against U.S. military policy. Judge Saundra Armstrong announced Thursday that based on briefs and other documents submitted to the court, the measures violate the Constitution in four ways, including subjecting federal government actions to local control and discriminating by prohibiting from federal agents actions “permitted for private persons”.

“No matter the outcome, we are going to appeal to the 9th Circuit and possibly the Supreme Court,” said Arcata counsel Brad Yamauchi.

At the heart of the case were local ordinances from Eureka and Arcata, two northern California cities that would prohibit U.S. armed services recruiters from initiating contact with minors under the age of 18 anywhere within city limits. The U.S. Department of Justice first filed suit against the towns, claiming that these Youth Protection Acts fail under Article VI of the Constitution, which makes federal law supreme over contradictory state or local legislation.

In response, the cities filed countersuits claiming that current military policy violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict, which the U.S. ratified in 2002. (This is a separate but related treaty to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); the U.S. has not ratified the main CRC.)

“When the government enters into an international treaty or protocol, that becomes the law of the United States,” said Yamauchi, also citing Article VI.

The cities claim that the U.S. military is in violation of the Protocol’s prohibition on the recruiting of children for military service. Current federal law allows representatives of the armed services to educate high school and college students on military career options, alongside other educational and vocational recruiters at job fairs and the like. To actually enlist, however, one must be 18, or close to 18 with parental consent. This countersuit constitutes the first time since the 2002 ratification of the protocol that the federal government’s compliance with the treaty has been legally questioned.

That this case arose at all is evidence of the threat that international law presents to our American way of life. Armstrong’s decision is not likely to be the end, nor is it safe to guess how the 9th Circuit might rule if the case is appealed.

Should the full CRC be ratified, not only federal law, but even state, local and individual family decisions will come under the authority of the United Nations when children are involved. The Parental Rights Amendment proposed by Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI), Sen. Jim DeMint (SC) and 95 additional Congressmen is the only guaranteed method to permanently stop international law from interfering with family and state laws. is a 501c4 non-profit organization existing solely for the purpose of passing a parental rights amendment to the US Constitution.

0    submitted by Jim Bentley
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