Volume 76, Number 2

May 2001

Commandeering Under the Treaty Power

Janet R. Carter

In this Note, Janet Carter argues that the anticommandeering principle announced in Printz v. United States should not constrain congressional implementation of treaty obligations. The Printz Court struck the balance between federal goals and states’ rights knowing that Congress had alternative means of achieving its ends: the spending power and the threat of conditional preemption. Carter argues that those alternative means are largely unavailable, or at least less likely to work, when Congress is seeking to implement a treaty obligation. Therefore, the Printz Court’s federal/state compromise will weigh too heavily against federal interests if applied to treaty-implementing programs, suggesting that an absolute prohibition on federal commandeering pursuant to the treaty power is inappropriate.