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"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."
– Senator Joe Biden
January 28, 2004
Court Dismisses Marshall Island Case

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U.S. courts cannot find the United States in breach of the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 3–0 decision dismissing a case filed by the Marshall Islands. The Pacific island country filed suit in 2014, alleging that the United States failed to fulfill obligations under Article VI of the NPT to pursue negotiations in good faith toward nuclear disarmament. The appeals court, upholding the federal district court’s original February 2015 dismissal, found that the NPT is not “judicially enforceable.” Judge Margaret McKeown wrote, “Asking the federal court to order the United States to negotiate in ‘good faith’ on ‘effective measures’ for nuclear disarmament puts the judiciary in the role of nanny to the executive.”

Laurie Ashton, lead lawyer for the Marshall Islands, called the decision “very disappointing,” arguing that “there has never been a more critical time” to enforce the treaty. The United States conducted 67 nuclear test explosions in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958. The Marshall Islands filed similar cases against the nuclear-armed states at the International Court of Justice, all of which were dismissed last fall on procedural grounds. (See ACT, November 2016.)—ALICIA SANDERS-ZAKRE