September 2, 2020
Supreme Law of the Land
I’ve many times interviewed individuals running for office, whether it be for Congress or for a local judgeship, and posed the question of federal supremacy. I don’t give them any indication as to my thoughts on the matter, but just let the open question hang there to see where they stand. Without fail, they all fall into the myth that there is such a thing. A few are actually astute enough to bring up our Constitution and say that Article VI confirms the idea of federal supremacy. Some will cite numerous historical events and cases, such as Marbury v. Madison, to plead their case. This erroneous translation and false narrative has destroyed the rule of law from the highest offices down to local city halls. This fundamental platform of our Republic has been dismissed and failing to abide by it is very detrimental to Liberty. When any person, agency, organization or branch of government believes they can create a law or statute that overwrites the actual Supreme Law of the Land, they become tyrannical. The false notion of federal supremacy is really just an abuse and usurpation. That does not mean that we don’t give the federal government authority which the states have delegated to them, but we shouldn’t allow this to mean the federal government is superior to the states nor that they have a power not delegated to them. Remember, the states created the federal government with limited authority.
Now, as to my thoughts on the matter, although I believe to be pretty solid, should have no real weight for the curious. I always encourage others to study it for themselves and come to their own conclusions. However, the record is clear and the evidence makes the case for itself. So, I will assist you by providing texts from our Constitution itself and Alexander Hamilton’s explanation of Article VI. Read for yourself and you be the judge!
Paragraphs 2&3 of ARTICLE VIThis 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 Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
From Federalist #33But it is said that the laws of the Union are to be the SUPREME LAW of the land. But what inference can be drawn from this, or what would they amount to, if they were not to be supreme? It is evident they would amount to nothing. A LAW, by the very meaning of the term, includes supremacy. It is a rule which those to whom it is prescribed are bound to observe. This results from every political association. If individuals enter into a state of society, the laws of that society must be the supreme regulator of their conduct. If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies, and the individuals of whom they are composed. It would otherwise be a mere treaty, dependent on the good faith of the parties, and not a goverment, which is only another word for POLITICAL POWER AND SUPREMACY. But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. Hence we perceive that the clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union, like the one we have just before considered, only declares a truth, which flows immediately and necessarily from the institution of a federal government. It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it EXPRESSLY confines this supremacy to laws made PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION; which I mention merely as an instance of caution in the convention; since that limitation would have been to be understood, though it had not been expressed.
Hamilton not only clearly makes the case that the Constitution stands above any of these federal supremacists, but he also gives us a great insight into how treaties are to be viewed. Nothing stands above our Supreme Law of the Land and we should hold all elected officials and agencies within all governments across this land accountable.