Senator Bricker Interview
(Continued from Page 11)
Bricker: That would not have been
approved? Yes—Genocide is over in the
Foreign Belations Committee now. The
Covenant of Human Rights no doubt
would have been submitted long ago, because the State Department and the
President have stated that they were in
favor of it. There are many other ILO
Conventions that have been entered into
that have been submitted to this country to be submitted to the Senate for
PRIV-V: Yes, but Senator, what I was
getting at—don't you think the two-
thirds rule, the two-thirds of the Senators
present procedure, would have stopped
Bricker: Far from it. I think if it
hadn't been that this amendment had
been submitted and so much attention
given to it by the members of the Senate
and by the public generally throughout
this country, many of them no doubt
would have passed without any reservation. You remember that the Senate in
the treaty with Israel which I mentioned
a moment ago did put in reservations
protecting the rights of the states in their
constitutions and in their state laws as
to citizenship, realizing always that a
lawyer has to take an oath of obligation,
lie is really an officer of the court. In
fact, he has to be a citizen of this country and pledge allegiance to our constitutional system of government.
PRINA: Senator, Secretary of State
Dulles before he became Secretary of
State said that there has been a trend
toward trying to use the treaty-making
power to effect international social
changes. Do you believe this is true, and
if so, can you cite any examples?
Bricker: Oh, I know it's true. The
specialized agencies of the United Na-
lieuis. which are acting independently of
course, have drafted between one hundred and two hundred treaties to be submitted to the United States which would
affect the internal laws of this country,
unl Mr. Humphries, who was the manager or the administrative secretary of
that first commission, said very definitely
that what we are trying to do is something revolutionary. Heretofore the
rights of a citizen within his country
have been his rights in relation to his
own government, and determined internally, while what we are trying to do is
revolutionary, in applying international
law to the citizens of the various countries that are participants to these
DOHERTY: Senator Bricker, if your
amendment became the law of the land—
would that affect our relationship within
lhe United Nations?
Bricker: It is not intended to. We
would still be a member of the United
Nations, and it wouldn't affect our par
ticipation there at all. That's a compact
of the nations, an agreement, a treaty—
it is not a government in any way, shape
or form, and our internal relations in
this country, the laws of the United
States and the various states of the
( nion are no matters for the United Nations to consider, fn fact, the Charter
itself says, in Article II, Paragraph 7,
that this shall not affect the internal affairs or the domestic affairs of the participating countries, and it wouldn't have
been ratified had that not been in there.
Secretary Stettinius, you remember, sent
a letter to the Senate confirming that,
saying that in no way would it ever be
use'ii to interfere with the domestic matters of the participating countries. No
sooner was the ink dry on the parchment
than these specialized agencies that have
been set up set about their task of drafting treaties which under our peculiar
phrasing in the Constitution do become
the supreme law of the land, and as Mr.
Dulles said, very definitely and rightfully, in his speech to the American Bar
at Louisville, that is a very dangerous
power. Treaty law is superior to congressional law because congressional law has
to comply with the terms of the Constitution; treaty law does not. He said
that a treaty can transfer powers from
the states to the Congress, from the Congress to the President, or to some international authority. They can cut across
the rights given to the people in the Bill
of Rights and set aside the provisions of
PRINA: Well, Senator, couldn't the
Congress simply by passing another law
supersede the action of a treaty?
Bricker: In domestic affairs they
could if they wanted to violate the terms
of the treaty. I think that has been sustained by the Supreme Court. What they
will do in the future nobody knows under
the present wording of the Constitution,
but if they could, it would then take to
override the veto of the President two-
thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of
the House, and it took two-thirds of the
Senate to get the treaty adopted; therefore, it would be very difficult to get two-
thirds of the Senate to override a veto
of the President, or even two-thirds of
the House if the House were narrowly divided, because the power of the administration has been growing at such a
rapid pace recently that their influence
over legislation is greater than possibly
it's ever been in the past, or was contemplated in the original Constitution.
Prina: Approval of a treaty takes two-
thirds of those present—it doesn't take
two-thirds of the Senate.
Bricker: There have been treaties
reitifieel with two or three people on the
floor. I remember three that were ratified
when I was in the chair one day when
only six members were on the floor.
PRINA: Senalor Bricker, is it true lhat
the United States is one of the very few
nations where a treaty can chunge purely
domestic rights and duties without the
approval of the national legislature?
Bricker: Yes. Most other nations of
the world have to have parliamentary
or congressional action, whatever you
might call it, before a treaty becomes
domestic law. That's true in England,
true in Canada, it's true in Germany—
all the great countries in the world, and
in a modified form in France, Mexico.
Cuba and the Philippine Islands.
PRINA: Do you think then that is the
answer to the opponents of the Amendment who say that such an amendment
would completely hamstring the conduct
of foreign affairs?
Bricker: That is not only the answer,
but our Constitution is stronger than any
other, even including those I have mentioned in making a treaty the supreme
law of the land domestically.
PRINA: Well there is also this to i-on-
sider in that connection, is there not.
that the Supreme Court has ruled no
treaty may entail anything forbidden by
BRICKER: Years ago there were deci-
-ions to that effect, and in the last century there were a lot of decisions to the
effect that a treaty could not set aside
the provisions of the Constitution. Thai
has all been outlawed now, and the rule
has been changed entirely in Missouri
against Holland and in subsequent cases
—in the Curtiss Wright case, for in-
stance — and the Supreme Court has
never held unconstitutional a provision
of any treaty for the simple reason lhal
the Supreme Court has said lime and
time again these eire political mailers
and the Supreme Court doesn't enter into them: bul in the Missouri againsl
Holland case Justice Holmes wrote an
opinion in which he said that a treaty
doesn't have to comply with the Constitution, and it did set aside Article' 1"
of the Constitution.
Pkina: Oh, I don't sav comply wit'1
it, but it can't allow something thai is expressly forbidden l.v the' Constitution.
Bricker: Well, it did in lhat case.
PRINA: Do you ihink lhal llie Migratory Bird case did lhat?
Bricker: In that case it did. Powers
were reserved to the states under lb1'
Tenth Amendment. And tbe Supreme
Court in the decision said very definitely.
lhat under a treaty you transfer thus1'
powers from the states to the Congress-
and they upheld the act of Congress
which had been denied before the treaty
was in existence. Now it wasn't necessary—I grant you it's a very fuzzy opi"'
ion, and in my judgment it isn't a sound
opinion, but that's the law of the land
and it has been followed up since tha'
time in other cases, and further than th-1'
the Supreme Court held that the SO'
FACTS FORUM NEWS, September, 19S5