Letter from Law Professor Ira Steven Nathenson to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on flawed TPA bill

Below is the text of a communication I sent today to the offices of my Congressperson, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who is also the chair of the Democratic National Committee. The letter concerns the deeply flawed TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) bill, which would bind Congress to an up or down vote on the secretly negotiated and secret TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).

For reasons why the TPP may be very, very bad for internet freedom, medicine prices, and much more, see here at Public Citizen and at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The text of the letter is below.

June 18, 2015

Re: Upcoming vote on the TPA (Trade Promotion Authority)

Dear Congressperson Wasserman Schultz:

I am a lifelong Democrat and would strongly encourage you to reconsider your vote on the TPA. A working democracy requires transparency regarding matters as serious as foreign trade agreements. As a law professor here in South Florida teaching and researching issues of intellectual property and procedural justice, I am deeply concerned about the anti-democratic turn that the secretive TPP negotiations have taken.

Although I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting you in in person, I know that you are a true member of our community, having seen you at local events and places such as [redacted], where we both have kids in high school. As I am also a Democrat, a voter, and a member of our community here in Weston, I am confident that you recognize and believe in the fundamental democratic principles of transparency and participation. Binding Congress to an up or down vote on a secretly negotiated agreement is bad policy and a terrible precedent. Indeed, the very idea of TPP/TPA is antithetical to fundamental principles of “democracy,” the foundational word that underlies the name and creation of the Democratic Party.

For these and other reasons, I respectfully urge you to reconsider your vote.

I would be happy to talk to you or your staff regarding these matters. Indeed, I spoke to your office a short while ago but the gentleman on the phone merely took down my name and referred me to a statement regarding your support for TPA on your website.

I can be contacted by email at nathenson@gmail.com, or via a form at my academic website at nathenson.org, or via cell at [redacted].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best regards,

Ira Steven Nathenson
Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law
Residence within district: [redacted]

P.S. The text of this letter will be duplicated at my professional website at http://www.nathenson.org/2015/06/letter-to-wasserman-schultz-on-tpa-tpp/.

Note: The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily express those of the University or the School of Law.

Preface and links added for website posting. Redactions from letter made for purposes of privacy. Thumbnail image licensed CC by DonkeyHotey at Flickr.

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