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By: Albert V. Burns

I received a rebuttal to a previous article regarding the threat which treaties pose to our Constitution that included the following line: "But I think it is safe to say that the Supreme Court has not ruled in opposite ways in this matter and we do have clear language from the Court which confirms that the Constitution remains the supreme law of the land, Article VI notwithstanding."

The writer acknowledged that she had not checked on any of the cases which I cited in the previous article. Had she taken the time to read even that part of the book which I attached to the article she would have known that the Court had, indeed, ruled in at least three cases that treaties or executive agreements superceded the Constitution.

The writer then proceeded to append several excellent articles which indicated that the Constitution does NOT say that the Constitution may be changed or superceded by treaties or other international agreements. The writer, herself, was emphatic along the same lines. It is interesting that I have no argument, whatsoever, with that point of view. I agree, most wholeheartedly, with the writers of both articles she sent, with her, and with the New American Magazine cited by one of the article writers. There IS nothing in the Constitution which would allow a treaty or executive agreement to modify the Constitution itself.

BUT, having said that, I must ADD the fact, that we all know this (and most students of the Constitution also know this), is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT AND IMMATERIAL!!! Unfortunately, in current practice because the American people have been sold the concept, there is only ONE thing which determines what the Constitution means at any given moment and that is what the majority, five of the nine Supreme Court justices, SAY it means. It was never intended that way by our Founding Fathers. They envisioned a Supreme Court which would APPLY the words of the Constitution in making decisions, NOT INTERPRET (or mis-interpret) their words!

In law there is a doctrine with the Latin name: STARE DECISIS. Actually, stare decisis is an abbreviation of a Latin expression meaning "to stand by decisions and not disturb settled matters." For centuries this doctrine was fundamental in the development of English common law- and of all law in the United States.

In any free society, citizens MUST KNOW, with reasonable certainty what the law of the land is- otherwise it is impossible for them to be law-abiding. When the highest court of the land reverses its own decisions, it is saying that what was legal yesterday is illegal today, but may be legal again tomorrow, depending upon how the Court feels that day. When such a state of affairs continues for very long, even the most civilized nation will become a lawless society, kept orderly only by extreme police action.

After 148 years, in 1937 the Supreme Court began to abandon the doctrine of stare decisis. Between March, 1937 and June 14, 1943 the Supreme Court reversed fourteen earlier decisions of the Court on constitutional questions. In 1944, Justices Owen Roberts and Felix Frankfurter issued dissenting opinions objecting to such abandonment of the doctrine. With the appointment of Earl Warren as Chief Justice in 1953 that abandonment accelerated.

In 1954, in the Brown vs. Topeka School case about segregation in the schools, the Court not only reversed a previous Court ruling, it actually fabricated a NEW doctrine- that the Court can change the Constitution at will without regard for precedent, intrinsic meaning of the Constitution or existing laws. With that decision we ceased to be a constitutional republic and became a judicial oligarchy.

In 1956, the Court reversed the three earlier decisions which said that treaties could supercede or amend the Constitution. In the case of Reid v. Covert (October, 1956, 354 U.S. 1, at pg.17) the Court stated (erroneously) that: "This Court (Supreme Court) has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty." (Witness the three earlier SC decisions stating the opposite.)

It is interesting, that in their new Opinion, the Warren Court held (quite correctly) that:

"...No agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or any other branch of government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution. Article VI, the Supremacy clause of the Constitution declares, "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;..." 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 which even suggests such a result.... 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. (See Elliot's Debates 1836 ed. - pgs. 500-519). In effect such construction would permit amendment of that document in a manner not sanctioned by Article V. The prohibitions of the Constitutions were designed to apply to all branches of the National Government and they cannot be nullified by the Executive or by the Executive and Senate combined."

An exact statement of fact! Would that it could remain in place for eternity. However, just as the Warren Court was reversing three earlier decisions of the Supreme Courts of another day, so, too, can a new Supreme Court, now or at some time in the future, AGAIN reverse THIS ruling.

Perhaps I am unduly suspicious, but the fact this ruling by the Supreme Court was made in 1956 is troubling! That was when the attempts in the Congress to get some amendment, (there were several proposed) to permanently and emphatically remove any question as to whether treaties supercede the Constitution, was still being debated. I have a sneaking suspicion this ruling was made for the sole purpose of "cutting the ground from beneath the feet" of those who were pushing the amendment. This ruling made it seem such an amendment was unnecessary. It is my personal belief that the Warren Court made the ruling with a firm expectation that some future court could just as easily reverse this ruling as the Warren Court reversed the earlier rulings.

To all who are really interested in this question, I strongly recommend that you refer to my previous article on this subject. Read that article and then print out the book, "Treaties Versus The Constitution," which I attached to that piece. Study the history of this question. I believe that you will become as convinced as I am that some form of a "Bricker Amendment" is vitally necessary to the continued freedom and sovereignty of this country! Let's work to educate the public and Congress and get such an amendment passed.

Related Article:

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact." Albert V. Burns writes from Utah and is a regular columnist for the Spanish Fork Press. He has an extensive knowledge of the conspiracy which has been working so hard to destroy this nation and incorporate it into a one world government. He has developed an extensive personal research library and the knowledge to find what he needs, to write his columns. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Albert V. Burns can be reached at:

Published in the December 21, 2002 issue of Ether Zone.
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