Treaties Vs. The Constitution

from Albert V. Burns"

by way of Jackie Juntti

Posted 12/3/02

Article VI, paragraph 2 of the Constitution states: "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." (Emphasis added.)

The phrase: "...shall be the supreme Law of the Land", has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean that treaties supersede the Constitution itself that our rights of freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, right to keep and bear arms, etc. can be changed or even abolished by a treaty.

The first such Supreme Court "interpretation" took place in 1796! In that case, (Ware vs. Hylton), the Court upheld the taking of private property without "due process" because of a treaty with Great Britain.

In 1920, (Missouri vs. Holland), the Supreme Court decided that powers, reserved by Amendment 10 to the States or the people, could be transferred to the federal government by a treaty, in other words, a direct REVERSAL of the intent of the Tenth Amendment.

The Constitution expressly provides that the President can make treaties, only with the advice and consent of two thirds of the Senators present at the time a vote on a treaty is taken. Theoretically, this provides some protection against the rights of the American people being bargained away. At least when the debate came before the Senate, the people would have an opportunity to make their wishes known to their Senators. Binding secret agreements would not be possible.

Unfortunately, in 1942, (United States vs. Pink), the Supreme Court EXTENDED the concept that treaties over-ride the Constitution to include "executive agreements" made unilaterally by the President, or even agreements made in the NAME of the President by someone else in the executive branch of the federal government. The Court held that an "agreement" between President Roosevelt and the Russian Foreign Minister over-rode the provisions of New York State law and of the U.S. Constitution itself. The dire consequences of that decision cannot be over-exaggerated!

The inspired men who wrote the Constitution planned that the Constitution could be amended solely with the by vote of two thirds of each house of the Congress and then with the consent of THREE FOURTHS of the States. Effectively, the earlier decision of the Court meant that the necessary approval of changes to the Constitution has been changed from 3/4 of the STATES to only two thirds of the Senators present when a treaty ratification vote was to be made.

Under the 1942 decision, the requirement for oversight or approval of changes to the Constitution was REMOVED ENTIRELY! Now, one man, the President, or even someone representing him, can make an agreement with a foreign power or international body. According to the Supreme Court, such an agreement could modify or possibly even nullify our Constitution! This can be done without the approval or even the knowledge of the Senate or of the American people as a whole.

In 1954, the U.S. Senate held hearings on the "Bricker Amendment", a proposed amendment to the Constitution to close this "backdoor" method of changing the Constitution. During those hearings, it was disclosed that up until that time, 48 YEARS AGO, over 10,000 executive agreements had been negotiated with regard to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alone! A large number of those agreement were, AND STILL ARE, secret from the American people, yet they all, potentially, have the power to negate the U.S. Constitution.

How many other secret executive agreements have been made, with other international bodies, is information not available to American citizens. Obviously, the foreign powers and/or international bodies know about such agreements since they are party to them. They are only kept from the knowledge of the American people! Every rational and reasonable American should ask: "WHY are they afraid to tell US?"

Our Founding Fathers did everything in their power to guarantee that those rights would never be infringed upon by government. Unfortunately, they could not have foreseen how venal politicians and Supreme Court judges (to put the most charitable interpretation upon their actions) would twist the clear meaning of the Constitution to suit their own evil purposes.

I mentioned the "Bricker Amendment" which had been proposed in 1954 by Senator John Bricker as a means to positively stop the "backdoor" methods which were being used to corrupt and negate the U.S. Constitution. This amendment would have protected the Constitution and the rights of American citizens from assault by treaties or executive agreements.

The FULL text of the Bricker Amendment read:

"Section 1. A provision of a treaty or other international agreement which conflicts with this Constitution, or which is not made in pursuance thereof, shall not be the supreme law of the land nor be of any force or effect."

"Section 2. A provision of a treaty or other international agreement shall become effective as internal law in the United States only through legislation valid in the absence of international agreement.

"Section 3. On the question of advising and consenting to the ratification of a treaty, the vote shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against shall be entered on the Journal of the Senate."

This would have been an eminently sensible and simple approach to solving the problem. Yet President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles opposed the Bricker Amendment with the full power of their offices. They twisted arms, called in favors owed to them, and generally moved Heaven and earth to oppose this amendment. The amendment failed to pass the Senate by ONE vote!

Today, 48 years later, the threat is even GREATER than it was in 1954. We MUST close this "back door" to changing the Constitution.

I, finally, relocated a book which I bought many years ago. It had been written by a lawyer who did an exhaustive study of the problem of treaties vs. the Constitution. In 1955, he wrote this book with that title: Treaties Versus The Constitution. I checked with the publisher and found that the book has been out of print for many, many years. They told me that they had released the copyright back to the author in 1969. An internet search on the author's name turned up the fact that he had died in 1995. A check with the Library of Congress indicates that the copyright STILL is listed in his name. I am distributing the book in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

I believe that it is IMPERATIVE that this book be given the widest possible distribution. I am sure that the Insiders have confidently believed that it had been "safely" consigned to George Orwell's "Memory Hole." If we can get enough concerned people to read and then re- distribute this booklet, maybe we will be able to get one or more Congress critters to re- introduce an amendment to close this door.

Please do all that you can to get this information out. I am attaching it in both Word format and in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for your convenience. If you print it out, it will be 48 pages of information CRITICAL to your future and the future of this country. That is not hyperbole but a plain statement of the cold hard facts.

By Roger Lea MacBride


This is a volume for laymen and lawyers alike. It was written with the interests of both in
mind: the body of the text is lucid and straightforward while there are copious footnotes for
the person who wants to pursue the subject further.

First Printing. May, 1955
Second Printing. February, 1956
Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 55-6752
Printed and bound in the United States of America by
Caldwell. Idaho 81718

Chapter One "THE PROBLEM" 6
Chapter Three "THE CASES" 19
Chapter Four "OPINIONS" 32

If anyone would like to have the entire 48-page PDF or Word document via email,
please email or and request it.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site