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.
Here’s an excerpt from The Law by Frederic Bastiat with a wonderful explanation of these truths:
He goes on to discuss a just and enduring government to secure those rights. These are first principles that must be fully understood in order to have that knowledge necessary for maintaining Liberty.
So, the next ingredient in this Liberty formula is virtue. Who determines what is virtuous and what is not? Well, let’s first define virtue. It’s defined as behavior showing high moral standards. Some of the synonyms are goodness, morality, integrity, dignity, decency, rectitude, honor and respectability. It wasn’t too long ago that we taught such things in our schools or even did things like, God forbid, proudly display the Ten Commandments in public. One thing for sure about virtue, it is clearly evident when it’s absent. When you see someone exhibit behavior that isn’t virtuous, it’s pretty obvious. There’s also the old adage, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or the fact that we, being on guard for our own rights, should realize it’s wrong when we infringe upon someone else’s rights. It’s easy to recognize injustice once an injustice is done to you. As Americans, we should hold each other to this higher moral standard.
Our founders had a great opportunity to start with a blank slate and rely upon on their knowledge and virtue in order to form a more perfect union. We should honor their hard-fought efforts, along with all who have shed blood, sweat and tears (along with small fortunes) for Liberty, by passing along the needed knowledge and virtue requisite for the survival of our great Republic. It’s a formula that has worked well and helped change the entire world for the better; let’s help promote, protect and defend it.