Twentieth century specialists in American constitutional law frequently debate the question of the extent and degree of qualifications (if any) upon the treaty-making power. For treaties, according to the Constitution, are part of the supreme law of the land, "any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
Several Antifederalists objected to the inclusion of treaties as part of the supreme law of the land. (SeeAntifederalist No. 60). Thus, these Antifederalists anticipated the amendment of Senator John Bricker, proposed in January, 1953.
The following essay, by the anonymous "HAMPDEN," appeared in The Pittsburg Gazette, February 16, 1788.
. . . . It may be freely granted, that from a mistaken zeal in favor of that political liberty which was so recently purchased at so costly a rate, even good men may give it [the constitution] unreasonable opposition; but such men cannot be reasonably charged with sordid personal interest as their motive--because it is great and sudden changes which produces opportunities of preferment. But that class of men--who either prompted by their own ambition or desperate fortunes, are expecting employments under the proposed plan; or those weak and ardent men who always expect to be gainers by revolutions, and who are never contented, but always hastening from one difficulty to another--may be expected to ascribe every excellence to the proposed system, and to urge a thousand reasons for our real or supposed distresses, to induce our adopting thereof. Such characters may also be expected to promise us such extravagantly flattering advantages to arise from it, as if it was accompanied with such miraculous divine energy as divided the Red Sea, and spoke with thunder on Mount Sinai. . . .
The first clause of the constitution assures us, that the legislative powers shall be vested in a Congress, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives; and in the second clause of the second article, it is declared that the president, by and with the consent of the senate, is to make treaties. Here the supreme executive magistrate is officially connected with the highest branch of the legislature. And in article sixth, clause second, we find that 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, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. When we consider the extent of treaties--that in fixing the tariff of trade, the imposts and port duties generally are or may be fixed by a large construction which interested rulers are never at a loss to give to any constitutional power--treaties may be extended to almost every legislative object of the general government. Who is it that does not know, that by treaties in Europe the succession and constitution of many sovereign states, has been regulated. The partition treaty, and the war of the grand