President Jimmy Carter (defendant) unilaterally rescinded a treaty formed with Taiwan, so that the United States could instead form a treaty with the new People’s Republic of China. Senator Barry Goldwater and several other senators (plaintiffs) filed a constitutional challenge against this action. The senators argued that, because a two-thirds majority in the Senate was required to ratify a treaty, Senate approval was also required to nullify a treaty. The district court agreed and held that congressional approval was required for the termination of a treaty. The court of appeals reversed, holding that unilaterally terminating the treaty was within the president’s authority. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.