Small government was Re: [extropy-chat] EMP Attack?

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at
Wed Apr 20 22:05:31 UTC 2005

--- Adrian Tymes <wingcat at> wrote:
> --- Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at> wrote:
> > The limiting factor of this being that the Senate cannot validly
> > confirm treaties which violate the Constitution. For example,
> > "Congress
> > shall make no law..yadda yadda, the abridgement of free speech",
> > therefore a treaty that limited the free speech rights of Americans
> > would be invalid on its face and unratifiable by the US Senate.
> Except that treaties are considered hierarchically equal to, and
> therefore exempt from the limits of, the Constitution.  Ratifying a
> treaty is not "making a law" in that sense, even if it is essentially
> similar in many other ways.

On the contrary, the constitution specifically states that treaties
ratified become the law of the land, but no treaty can amend the
constitution, which is what you seem to be implying, unless 2/3 of the
Senate and 2/3 of the states also ratify it via the amendment process.

> If you want a horror story, google on the abuses that loophole has
> created.  Start with "NAFTA sovereignty".  Even the CATO Institute's
> report downplaying the threat to US sovereignty makes no mention of
> the
> Consitution overriding it - and one would think they'd be all over
> that point if it did indeed apply.

The overriding problem today is that judges are holding laws, and
themselves, and their agendas, up to be higher than the constitution.
NAFTA doesn't override the constitution, but it does override statutes
and other color of law. As I said, anything that would amend the
Constitution must follow the amendment process. If the amendment
process doesn't win, the treaty is invalid. 

This brings up a very interesting possibility: if the Senate ratifies a
treaty which clearly requires amendments to the constitution, but
congress cannot muster the votes to amend, or not enough states ratify
the amendments, then every Senator who voted to ratify the treaty must
be found positively in violation of their oaths of office and
impeached, forced to resign, recalled by their states, or otherwise
tried for treason.

Mike Lorrey
Vice-Chair, 2nd District, Libertarian Party of NH
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
                                      -William Pitt (1759-1806) 

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