Senator Bricker Interviewed on
Facts Forum's Reporters' Roundup
Senator John W. Bricker, sponsor anel author of the Bricker Constitutional Amendment, was questioned recently on "Reporters' Round-
Up" by a panel of well-known and able reporters: Mr. I.. Edgar
Prina of the Washington Evening Star; and Jack Doherty of the New
York Daily News. Mr. Robert F. Hurleigh, nationwide news commentator and Director of Mutual Broadcasting System's Washington
operations, served as moderator.
PRIMA: Senator, will you state briefly the aim of the proposed ltrie-k.-r Amendment to the Constitution of the United
Bricker: It's very simple. The first section of the Amendment would prevent any treaty or international agreement
from violating any of the terms of the Constitution. Tin
second section woulel prevent treaties and international
agreements entered into by the President and foreign powers
from becoming internal law except through action of the
Congress, and if they affected thc rights of the states,
through the action by the slate legislatures. The third section would require a roll call vote of the Senate before thc
ratification of a treaty submitted by the President.
PRIMA: I see. Senator, many of the proponents of the
\inendment suy that it would reduce or prevent the abuse
of the treaty-making power. Now can you point to any abuse
of this power by a President in the last four years, or since
you first introduced the Hricker e\mendmenl':
Bricker.' They have been very careful not to send any
amendments down, within recent months anyway, lhat would
violate the principle of the Amendmenl. There was one lasl
year—that was the treaty wilh Israel which would have permitted professionals to practice in this country without regard tee alienage, which would have set aside the constitutions of many of the states which require citizenship for
doctors and lawyers, and set aside the laws of many more
states which have the same requirements in them. For
instance, to illustrate, if thai treaty bad also carried a provision to the effect that one who had been admitted lo the
I'll.lice of the professions in that country could likewise
practice in this country without educational requirements
"i examination, that would have sel aside likewise slab'
laws ami -late constitutions, ami that was admitted by Dean
Criswold of Harvard in bis cross-examination in the hear-
PRIMA: I see, Senator, but call you point to one treaty,
**ly in the last four years, which in your opinion would not
nave been concluded and approved by the Senate if there
had been a Bricker Amendment?
(Continued on Vnge 12)
Senator Lehman Expresses His
Views Before U. S. Senate
Our Constitution has been in effect 165 years, and during
that long period it has been amended on onlv thirteen sep-
eneili' occasions. In only one instance was a constitutional
amendment which had been approved ever repealed. That
weis the prohibition amendmenl. which had been enacted in
haste and under the pressure of propaganda, and was repealed only after a debate which deeply divided the country
and detracted the attention of the public from much more-
vital and basic issues of the time.
Our Constitution has now worked well for 165 years, and
has been an effective document for the protection of the
freedoms and liberties of the American people. There have
been verv few instances where there has been any occasion
for the people or for any states to claim that their rights have
been abridged by reason of the treaty-making power of the
United Slates. That record is a rather good one.
WARNS AGAINST HASTY ACTION
So I warn the Senate against hastily approving, on an
emotional basis, anything so fundamental as an amendment
lo thc Constitution of lhe- United Stales. Once approved and
ratified, should it later develop to have been an unwise
undertaking, it woulel be a difficult thing to undo. Let us
consider carefully and soberly what it is proposed thai we
do. I hope we do not do it; in fact. I am very confident we
will not do it.
I am convinced that lhe supremacy of the Constitution
over treaties ami executive agreements, if necessary to be
reaffirmed at all. and their relationship to internal law.
should be reaffirmed and clarified at this time by joint resolution, rather than bv amending the Constitution.
If there were, in fact, any substantial question as to the
supremacy of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment
would be not only appropriate but imperative. But in a
situation like the one actually before us, where there is no
sound ground for doubting thc supremacy of the Constitution, an amendment of the Constitution would create more
confusion and uncertainty than it could conceivably remove.
In actual practice, we know from our recent experience
lhat the Congress has not been indifferent to the consequences of Supreme Court decisions. Within the past decade
the effects of Supreme Court decisions have been remedied
e.n eit least four occasions. Congress provided for state regulation of the insurance business, after the Supreme Courl
had held it subject to the federal antitrust laws: lhe claims
for portal-to-portal pay were extinguished by act of Congress
(Continue,! on Pime It,,
PACTS FORUM NEWS, September, 1955