What We Want – Part XI

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

It is hard to determine which clause of the US Constitution is the most abused. The masters of the federal behemoth seem to take the most obscure parts of this great document and twist them so much it is almost impossible to understand what the original purpose of them was. However, if one is looking for the most misinterpreted and abused clause of the constitution surely the interstate commerce clause would be in the top ten.

As we are no longer taught that the United States of America is a compact between free and independent nations which created an agent to represent them as a whole to the rest of the world, and an impartial ‘referee’ to settle disputes among them, we no longer view the constitution from the correct perspective. Because of this it has been easy for the activist (progressive/socialist/Marxist) judges to manipulate the meaning of the interstate commerce clause into a license for the federal government to do things within the states that it has no real authority to do.

The interstate commerce clause is Article I, section 8, clause 3 of the constitution and reads as follows:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes

It is the clause in the constitution that gives congress the power to make laws, lay tariffs and import quotas for the imports from other nations. The last two segments of it, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes, exist so congress can keep the trade between the states fair and unbiased and to regulate what people within the states are allowed to trade with the Indian tribes.

We scarcely think about it today but before the constitution each state had laws that laid tariffs on goods manufactured in a different state that were ‘imported’ into it. They also levied taxes and established quotas on goods coming into them from the other states to give locally manufactured goods an advantage over the ‘imported’ goods with the buying public. Add in other regulations not germane to our discussion and it made it very difficult for goods made in Massachusetts to be sold in Connecticut.

The ratification of the US Constitution changed all of this. Under it selling the goods made in one state in all the others became a simple process that allowed the economy of all the states to thrive and the entire union prospered resulting in the economic superiority these United States enjoyed until the 1980s.

It should be noted here that all governments seek to control all levels of the lives of the people that live under them. It is the natural tendency for this to happen not for evil intent, but for the good of all. The argument is simply ‘we’ll be able to protect you from ‘X’ if you give up a little of your freedom so the government can do ‘Y’’. The state and federal governments of these United States are no exception to this rule. A good example is the provision in the Patriot Act that allows the NSA to monitor all private international phone calls. ‘Just give up a little of your right to privacy and we’ll be able to catch the terrorists before they can hurt you’.

The problems with this are:

1)    When you give up some of your rights to solve a problem, once the problem is solved the government does not give back what you gave up

2)    Once agents of the government have this power they will abuse it to protect you from yourself

3)    If you keep giving up a little of your rights when ever there is a problem to solve eventually you have no rights left

So whenever the politicians in the state or federal government say ‘give up this little piece of your rights and we’ll be able to save you from ‘X’’ remember what Ben Franklin said:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.1

But I digress.

Today, thanks to activist judges and a congress that only respects the parts of the constitution which they can misuse to enhance their own power, the interstate commerce clause has been ‘mutated’ into a virus that affects the day-to-day activities of all of us. Sadly, we have become so used to this we don’t even question the constitutionality of the decisions made by these judges or the ‘laws’ passed by the congress. The absurdity of this boggles the mind.

For example, in 1941 Mr. Roscoe C. Filburn, a farmer in Ohio, exceeded his ‘quota’ the federal government set on him for his winter wheat crop. Mr. Filburn used the wheat to feed is farm animals, to make bread and other consumables used by his family and to sell locally. The Department of Agriculture levied a fine on Mr. Filburn of $117.00 because he had exceeded his quota of wheat. Mr. Filburn refused to pay the fine so the Department of Agriculture put a lien on his farm. In reaction to the governments’ actions Mr. Filburn filed a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard in federal district court. Mr. Filburn won his case in the district court, so the federal government appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

In its’ ruling the Supreme Court stated:

The maintenance by government regulation of a price for wheat undoubtedly can be accomplished as effectively by sustaining or increasing the demand as by limiting the supply . . . That [Filburn’s] own contribution to the demand for wheat may be trivial [very small] by itself is not enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation where, as here, taken together with that of many others similarly situated, is far from trivial . . . Home-grown wheat in this sense competes with wheat in commerce . . . Congress may properly have considered that wheat consumed on the farm where grown if wholly outside the scheme of regulation would have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing [the act’s] purpose to stimulate trade . . . at increased prices.2

The court further stated:

Whether the subject of the regulation in question was ‘production,’ ‘consumption,’ or ‘marketing’ is . . . not material for purposes of deciding the question of federal power . . . But even if [Filburn’s] activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.3

The Supreme Court overturned the lower courts ruling and ruled in favor of the government. In essence, the court ruled that the federal government can dictate how much of anything a person can grow on their own property for their personal use and, if carried to the logical conclusion, keep a person from growing anything for personal use on their own land.

The most recent ruling on this matter is as distressing as Wickard v. Filburn. Though it concerns the growing of marijuana for personal use the logic of how the court got to its’ decision is important to the discussion.

When California passed its’ medical marijuana law in 1996 Diane Monson began growing marijuana to alleviate a medical condition she had. She was following her doctors recommendation and as far as can be determined abiding by the laws of the state of California. The DEA raided Ms. Monsons’ property and seized her marijuana. In October of 2002 she filed suit against then Attorney General John Ashcroft and former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson in federal district court. Though the plaintiffs lost in the district court they appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which decided in their favor, 2-1 on December 16th, 2003. The federal government appealed to the US Supreme Court which ruled on June 6th, 2005 that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution the Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its’ use for medicinal purposes. What makes this particularly disturbing is the following ‘analysis’ by the court:

Even respondents acknowledge the existence of an illicit market in marijuana; indeed, Raich has personally participated in that market, and Monson expresses a willingness to do so in the future. More concretely, one concern prompting inclusion of wheat grown for home consumption in the 1938 Act was that rising market prices could draw such wheat into the interstate market, resulting in lower market prices. Wickard, 317 U.S., at 128. The parallel concern making it appropriate to include marijuana grown for home consumption in the CSA is the likelihood that the high demand in the interstate market will draw such marijuana into that market. While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety. In both cases, the regulation is squarely within Congress’ commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for that commodity4

If you follow this line of reasoning to it’s logical conclusion the congress can pass a law, which the executive branch will enforce, that prevents you from knitting sweaters for your family because you might give one to a neighbor which interferes with interstate commerce. Or, the congress can make it illegal for you to do your own tune-ups on your car because you might help a neighbor tune-up his car which would have a negative impact on interstate commerce.

If this sounds to absurd to you remember it was under the interstate commerce clause that congress passed the ban on possession of a firearm within a ‘school zone’ denying those that live near a school their second amendment rights. The argument used for this law was that a child being intimidated by someone possessing a firearm, or injured, or killed by that someone, has a negative impact on interstate commerce which makes it legitimate for congress to pass, and the executive branch to enforce, such a law.

One may legitimately ask ‘do these Supreme Court decisions adhere to the principles espoused by the founders’? In Federalist number 45 James Madison said:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined.5

It appears that the Supreme Court, by way of its’ arguments, is in opposition to the father of the constitution. This is a situation that can only come from a progressive view of the constitution.

Alexander Hamilton also addressed the idea of federal encroachment on the internal authority of the states in Federalist number 17:

The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same State, the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things in short which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction. It is therefore improbable that there should exist a disposition in the Foederal councils to usurp the powers with which they are connected; because the attempt to exercise those powers would be as troublesome as it would be nugatory; and the possession of them, for that reason, would contribute nothing to the dignity, to the importance, or to the splendour of the national government.6

It is clear from Hamiltons’ above statement that the idea the federal government would extend its’ reach to this level of control of the people is completely foreign to the intent of those that wrote the constitution. Hamilton also wrote of a self correcting condition built into the federal system. In the same essay Hamilton wrote:

But let it be admitted for argument sake, that mere wantonness and lust of domination would be sufficient to beget that disposition, still it may be safely affirmed, that the sense of the constituent body of the national representatives, or in other words of the people of the several States would controul the indulgence of so extravagant an appetite. It will always be far more easy for the State governments to encroach upon the national authorities, than for the national government to encroach upon the State authorities. The proof of this proposition turns upon the greater degree of influence, which the State governments, if they administer their affairs with uprightness and prudence, will generally possess over the people; a circumstance which at the same time teaches us, that there is an inherent and intrinsic weakness in all Foederal Constitutions; and that too much pains cannot be taken in their organization, to give them all the force which is compatible with the principles of liberty.7

From this it is clear that the founders intent was that if the federal government should usurp this much power that the sates, supported by the people, would redress the imbalance and restore the power stolen by the federal government to where it belongs, in the hands of the states and the people.

Thomas Jefferson said in a statement on this topic:

To make a thing which may be bought and sold is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling. Besides, if this were an exercise of the power of regulating commerce, it would be void, as extending as much to the internal commerce of every state, as to its external.

So it is clear that the federal government, in particular the congress, was never to be able to attain this level of control. The US Supreme Court has granted to the Congress power they have no authority to give. This means they have stolen that power from the states and the people.

It is almost impossible to say how much better off you would be if this had not happened. The myriad horde of federal regulation that imposes themselves on our lives would certainly be less if we the people stood up to the federal beast and empowered our state governments to stand with us so we could rein in this abuse.

What do we want? We want the US Supreme Court to correct these misinterpretations of the power entrusted to it and to the congress, and we want the congress to cease legislating in areas it has no authority to legislate in. It is long past time for the federal government to behave itself.

1 Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 175, US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 – 1790)

2&3  Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942)

4 Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ahscroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

5 James Madison, Federalist, no. 45, 308—14

6 & 7 Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, no. 17, 105—8

8 Quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson source unknown.

What We Want – Part VI

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

I want the XVIIth Amendment to the US Constitution repealed. This is the amendment that makes the ‘popular’ election of US Senators possible.

But wait a minute; shouldn’t the people be able to elect their senators? Isn’t it the right of the people to elect their legislators? Don’t we live in a democracy? Why, this would be undemocratic!

Yes, it would be undemocratic. But the United States of America isn’t supposed to be a democracy. It’s supposed to be a constitutional republic that uses a democratic process to select its’ leadership.

Some of you might say ‘If we can’t elect or senators wouldn’t that violate what you just said the United States does to select its’ leaders?’ No, it wouldn’t.

Our grandfathers and grandmothers would have understood this but, because of the stranglehold the progressives have on our public education system, we don’t. We’ve never been taught the truth about the founding of this nation and the convention that brought into existence the magnificent document that is the supreme law of this land. And few are alive today that remember when US Senators were ‘appointed’ by the state legislatures. And few of us know why we have a House of Representatives and a Senate when most of the other ‘democracies’ in the world only have a single legislative body

Always keep in mind the United States of America is the great experiment in Liberty. Also remember that each ‘state’ in this union is an independent nation state, with its’ own government, that has chosen to band together with other like minded nation states to create an ‘agent’ to represent them with the other nations of the world and to arbitrate disputes that may arise among them. If you do this you will see our federal government in its’ proper perspective and gain a better understanding of how our federalist system is supposed to work.

One of the most difficult issues to work out at the Constitutional Convention was the issue of representation. The large states like New York and Virginia (remember that at this time West Virginia was still a part of Virginia) wanted representation based on population. This would give the large states an advantage in the new federal legislature. The smaller states, like Rhode Island and Connecticut, wanted each state to have an equal number of representatives, thus gaining an advantage over the larger states. Neither side would give ground on this.

Out of this dispute came one of the many compromises that made the constitution possible, the bicameral legislature. A bicameral legislature is:

a governmental body with two houses or chambers, such as the US Congress or British Parliament.

Once the convention got to this point it was pretty easy to determine how the House of Representatives would be selected, one representative per ‘X’ number of people (a topic for another discussion). Each state would have a number of congressional districts equal to the population of the state divided by ‘X’ and the people living in those districts would vote for the representative from that district.

But how would senators be elected?

Shouldn’t the people elect their senators too? Well, the will of the people (supposedly) was already represented in the House of Representatives, does it make sense for the people to also DIRECTLY (again, supposedly) express their will in the senate?

Also, our founders were among the best educated men of their time in the world. They had studied the ancient democracies of Greece and Rome in depth (a classical education that the progressives and liberals scorn) and had learned that the people are fallible. They often make decisions based on the emotion of the moment and not based on reason. They choose actions that seem to give ‘immediate gratification’ and not on what is best for the nation in the long run. They also learned that the will of the majority of the people can be an oppressive and wicked tyrant to the minority of the people as any king or emperor. And it was these passions that were as responsible for the destruction of these classical civilizations as any of the other factors that were involved.

So how do we elect senators, and, more importantly, how do we imbue the Senate with a reason to be a check on the passions of the people as expressed by the House of Representatives?

The solution was that the senators would be appointed (in other words elected) by the state legislatures and they were to represent the state governments in the legislature, not the people. So the founders wrote in Article I, Section 3:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

Many people will argue that the people of a state elect the state legislature so why have them elect the senators instead of the people doing it directly. My easiest answer to that is the Medicaid program. If the office of US Senator was tied to the state legislators being happy with the job you’re doing do you really think the US Senate would have passed a program run by the federal government that required the states to DIRECTLY pay up to 50% of its’ cost? Does anyone out there believe that any senator that voted for the federal government to place an ‘unfunded mandate’ upon the state governments, causing those state legislators to have to increase taxes in their state, thus jeopardizing their chances of staying in office, would be kept in office by his/her state legislature? Does anyone believe there would be any unfunded federal mandates upon the states if US Senators were appointed by the state legislatures instead of being elected by popular vote?

What the XVIIth Amendment to the US Constitution has done is removed all representation of the state governments in Washington thus destroying one of the most important checks and balances of the federalist system designed by the founders of this country. It has done exactly what it was designed to do and is a key ‘nail’ in the coffin of the US Constitution.

So what do the founders say on the subject. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 59:

So far as that construction may expose the Union to the possibility of injury from the State legislatures, it is an evil; but it is an evil which could not have been avoided without excluding the States, in their political capacities, wholly from a place in the organization of the national government. If this had been done, it would doubtless have been interpreted into an entire dereliction of the federal principle; and would certainly have deprived the State governments of that absolute safeguard which they will enjoy under this provision.

James Madison said in Federalist 62:

If indeed it be right, that among a people thoroughly incorporated into one nation, every district ought to have a proportional share in the government, and that among independent and sovereign States, bound together by a simple league, the parties, however unequal in size, ought to have an equal share in the common councils, it does not appear to be without some reason that in a compound republic, partaking both of the national and federal character, the government ought to be founded on a mixture of the principles of proportional and equal representation.

In the same document he also said:

In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. So far the equality ought to be no less acceptable to the large than to the small States; since they are not less solicitous to guard, by every possible expedient, against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic.

He further stated in Federalist 62:

Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.


It is a misfortune incident to republican government, though in a less degree than to other governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust. In this point of view, a senate, as a second branch of the legislative assembly, distinct from, and dividing the power with, a first, must be in all cases a salutary check on the government.

And though Federalist 62 contains a lot more this will be my final quote from that document:

The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. Examples on this subject might be cited without number; and from proceedings within the United States, as well as from the history of other nations.

So, if we are truly asking for the restoration of constitutional rule in these United State then repeal of the XVIIth amendment must happen.

What We Want – Part V

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

In my opinion, to restore constitutional rule in these United States, the repeal of the XVIth and XVIIth Amendments is of paramount importance. I’m sure all of you are familiar with the XVIth Amendment, the infamous income tax amendment. Many of you are probably not familiar with the XVIIth Amendment which changed how US Senators were ‘elected’, a change that took the power of the state governments away and replaced it with ‘two houses of the people’ in congress, effectively eliminating one of the most important checks and balances in the US Constitution. Both these amendments, along with the XVIIIth Amendment, prohibition, were ‘gifts’ to us from the early progressives. One might say ‘gifts that keep on giving’.

For the record, repealing the XVIth Amendment does not prevent the federal government from implementing an ‘income’ tax. The federal government has always had the authority to do so and has done so from time to time in our nation’s history. Abraham Lincoln had congress implement an income tax to pay the debt incurred by the Civil War, well before the XVIth Amendment was ratified. Once the war debt was paid the tax was repealed. The same pattern was followed for WWI even though the XVIth Amendment was in effect. It was at the end of WWII that this pattern was ‘broken’ and the tax was not repealed.

Before continuing I’d like to point out that many people (myself among them) believe that income in the sense of the income tax is money earned from investments (stocks, bonds, real-estate etc.) not wages. Research I did some time ago showed that all the Supreme Court cases on the XVIth Amendment were related to investment earnings not wages. And after the XVIth was ratified people paid income tax on their investments, but not on their wages. As far as I can tell (and if anyone out there has research to the contrary please let me know) the only time wages were taxed was in time of war, until the end WWII. As a matter of fact I recently saw a ‘Donald Duck’ cartoon that was shown in all the movie theatres in the US during WWII asking people to ‘voluntarily’ start paying taxes on their wages. But I digress.

The real evil in the XVIth Amendment is in the words ‘without apportionment among the several states’. What does that mean? Blacks Law Dictionary defines apportion ‘to divide and distribute proportionally’ and, in regard to taxes states ‘the apportionment of a tax consists in a selection of the subjects to be taxed, and in laying down the rule by which to measure the contribution which each of these subjects shall make to the tax’, and Wiktionary defines:

to apportion (third-person singular simple present apportions, present participle apportioning, simple past and past participle apportioned)

  1. (transitive) To divide and distribute portions of a whole.

The controlling party had apportioned the voting districts such that their party would be favored in the next election.

  1. (transitive) Specifically, to do so in a fair and equitable manner; to allocate proportionally.

The children were required to dump all of their Halloween candy on the table so that their parents could apportion it among them.

From the above, and the second most evil part of the XVIth Amendment ‘and without regard to any census or enumeration’ (the restriction on how taxes were to be determined across each state), I conclude that the XVIth Amendment was deliberately designed to allow congress to institute a progressive/socialist/communist/marxist graduated income tax. In other words, the XVIth Amendment allows congress to punish the successful by stealing the fruits of their labors and to buy off the unsuccessful, making it easier for the thieves to stay in office. Also, it is the tool they used to establish class warfare in the USA.

A side note, it is clear that the members of congress are in the category of ‘the rich’. They either start off rich and get richer or enter congress with little and leave with a lot. So when people you know start complaining that the rich don’t ‘pay their fair share’ of taxes ask them if they really believe that the members of congress are going to raise taxes on themselves without a loophole so they don’t have to pay.

How would the founders view this? James Madison said:

A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species.

James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.

James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling which they overburden the inferior number is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787

And Thomas Jefferson said:

Taxes should be proportioned to what may be annually spared by the individual.

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1784

Taxes on consumption, like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform.”

Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1823

Excessive taxation… will carry reason and reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election.

Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798

And Alexander Hamilton said:

When avarice takes the lead in a state, it is commonly a forerunner of its fall.
A Letter from Publius, October-November 1778

They [taxes] will in the end be borne by all classes; yet it is of the greatest importance that no one should sink under the immediate pressure. The great art is to distribute the public burdens well and not suffer them, either first, or last, to fall too heavily upon parts of the community; else distress and disorder must ensue. A shock given to any part of the political machine vibrates through the whole.

The Continentalist VI, 1782

Experience will teach us that no government costs so much as a bad one.

The Continentalist VI (LOA, p. 115)

There is a lot more from these and other writers but I think I’ve made my point, the XVIth Amendment is not a friend to liberty.  We want it repealed.

I’ll discuss the XVIIth Amendment in my next offering.

What We Want – Part III

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

One of the most dangerous issues of today is the progressive view that a treaty with the UN is law superior to the US Constitution and that we should make interpretations of our law based on this and how foreign courts have resolved cases of a similar nature to cases before courts in the United States. Nothing can be further from the truth, but many people in the national government believe this and are even enforcing treaty provisions for treaties that have not been ratified by the US Senate. This view is based on the ‘Dulles Doctrine’:

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles promulgated what some call the “Dulles Doctrine” that treaties, executive agreements, and votes in the United Nations, could effectively amend the U.S. Constitution and expand the powers of the federal government without limit.

Further, this ‘doctrine’ is supported by the current administration as seen by the opinions expressed by individuals appointed by it to high government offices.

All of this is based on the ‘supremacy clause’ of the US Constitution, which we know from our last discussion is Article VI, paragraph 2 which reads:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby; any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The argument of the progressives is that the supremacy clause of the constitution makes the provisions of a treaty law ‘superior’ to the constitution. Many scholars have expounded this point of view. However, it is obvious to anyone with a degree of common sense that it is an argument without validity.

A logical argument against this doctrine is simply how can the law that allows for treaties to be made ‘under’ it be replaced by such a treaty. A treaty cannot be made without the law that gives the government the authority to make the treaty and no where in the US Constitution does it state that a treaty made ‘under’ it becomes law superior to it. However, let us not base our insistence on the supremacy of the constitution over a treaty on my humble argument; instead let us see what the US Supreme court has to say on the subject. In ‘Reid v. Covert, October 1956, 354 U.S. 1, at pg 17’ the Supreme Court held that:

There is nothing in this language which intimates that treaties and laws enacted pursuant to them do not have to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Nor is there anything in the debates which accompanied the drafting and ratification of the Constitution which even suggests such a result. These debates as well as the history that surrounds the adoption of the treaty provision in Article VI make it clear that the reason treaties were not limited to those made in “pursuance” of the Constitution was so that agreements made by the United States under the Articles of Confederation, including the important peace treaties which concluded the Revolutionary [354 U.S. 1, 17] War, would remain in effect. It would be manifestly contrary to the objectives of those who created the Constitution, as well as those who were responsible for the Bill of Rights – let alone alien to our entire constitutional history and tradition – to construe Article VI as permitting the United States to exercise power under an international agreement without observing constitutional prohibitions. In effect, such construction would permit amendment of that document in a manner not sanctioned by Article V. The prohibitions of the Constitution were designed to apply to all branches of the National Government and they cannot be nullified by the Executive or by the Executive and the Senate combined.

There is nothing new or unique about what we say here. This Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty. For example, in Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U.S. 258, 267 , it declared:

“The treaty power, as expressed in the Constitution, is in terms unlimited except by those restraints which are found in that instrument against the action of the government or of its departments, and those arising from the nature of the government itself and of that of the States. It would not be contended that it extends so far as to authorize what the Constitution forbids, or a change in the character of the [354 U.S. 1, 18] government or in that of one of the States, or a cession of any portion of the territory of the latter, without its consent.”

This Court has also repeatedly taken the position that an Act of Congress, which must comply with the Constitution, is on a full parity with a treaty, and that when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null. It would be completely anomalous to say that a treaty need not comply with the Constitution when such an agreement can be overridden by a statute that must conform to that instrument.

There is nothing in Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 , which is contrary to the position taken here. There the Court carefully noted that the treaty involved was not inconsistent with any specific provision of the Constitution. The Court was concerned with the Tenth Amendment which reserves to the States or the people all power not delegated to the National Government. To the extent that the United States can validly make treaties, the people and the States have delegated their power to the National Government and the Tenth Amendment is no barrier.

It is clear from this decision that the US Supreme court has ruled against such an interpretation of the US Constitution and that a treaty cannot change our constitution and is null and void when the treaty, or a provision of a treaty, is in conflict with the constitution.

To further clarify the issue, what did the founders of the nation say on this subject? Well, James Madison, the father of the US Constitution, said:

I do not conceive that power is given to the President and the Senate to dismember the empire, or to alienate any great, essential right. I do not think the whole legislative authority to have this power.

Alexander Hamilton wrote:

A treaty cannot be made which alters the Constitution of the country, or which infringes any express exceptions to the power of the Constitution

And Thomas Jefferson said:

I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution

So it is clear that the doctrine that a treaty is law superior to the US Constitution is not true and never will be. The supreme law of this nation is the US Constitution and the only way to change it is to follow the amendment process of Article V.

So what is it that we want? We want the federal government of these United States to cease immediately enforcing any treaty, or portion of a treaty, that contradicts the US Constitution and to immediately quit enforcing any treaty or provision of a treaty that has not been ratified by the US Senate because it is NOT law in these United States of America and it’s territories.


Big or small, we’ve got a solution when you need it. Our advanced service and support tools provide step-by-stepinstructions without being put on hold or waiting in line.