The Bricker Constitutional Amendmenl failed by only one vote lo get lhe required two-thirds majority when last considered in Congress. Now, for the third time, United States Senator John W. Bricker.
Republican of Ohio, has proposed a constitutional amendment which would provide that no treaties or international executive agreements with foreign powers become domestic law in the United Slates without prior
approval of Congress. Critics contend thai the Bricker Amendment would be an invasion of the powers
of the executive branch and would hinder the President in foreign relations. Senator Bricker and those
supporting his amendment feel that they arc in a stronger position in view of the recent revelations in
lhe publication of the Yalta Papers of Presidenl Roosevelt's secrel agreements with Stalin. Supporlers
say, loo, the Bricker Amendmenl is designed lo protect the United Slales from any peculiar pads passed
hv lhe I r.tt.-.l Nations.
called Litvinoff Assignments of Russian
insurance funds could be effective without ratification by lhe Senate. In other
ivorels. an executive agreement becomes
of the same status of a treaty, the supreme law of the land, and did transfer
those funds and did violate the Fifth
Amendment to the Constitution, which
prohibits the federal government from
lakiii'5 property without due process of
DOHERTY: Senator, as a mutter of
''old turkey politics, there isn't much lime
left in this session of Congress, certainly,
for consideration of your amendment.
Bricker: Well, nobodv knows how
"nil-h time is left in this session of
the Congress. Of course, if it is on the
calendar it will be up next year. Thc
end of this session does not kill legisla-
'i'.n ;it the end of the session. I am very
hopeful that it can be passed upon this
year. If not, and the leadership will not
"ring it up for one reason or another
•Hid I don't know what that reason might
be because I think it's the most importanl
thing we have got outside of keeping the
government going by appropriations—
'I they do not bring it up I certainly shall
Push lo get it up first thing next year see
3s to give the House time to pass upon
11 next year.
DOHERTY: Well, Senator, in case it
doe- come up next year, mightn't it get
"I confused and mixed up in the big
Political battle for control of lhe White
'louse in 1956?
Bricker: Oh. you don't know what
" will get confused in. The issues are
fWj clear-cut The opposition is preltv
*ell defined now. We know what it is
''"il where it comes from.
DOHERTY: Some of it comes from the
DRICKER: Some of it has in the past.
"ie President has now said thai he is
n°t opposed to an amendment which
h"ul.l prohibit a treaty or international
agreement from violating anv terms of
"ie Constitution, and Mr. Dulles also
;estified, as you remember, in the hear-
[Jg to the effect that he did not want the
•resident to have, and I am quite confi-
j**nt the President himself does not want
'"' President to have, power to make law
PACTS FORUM NEWS, September, 1955
individually for the people of this country. Those are the two most important
parts. Now if we get the third section,
which requires a roll call vote, and that
means a quorum before the vote is taken.
\ou have some additional protection
there also on the matter of treaties.
PRINA: Is there any sorl of compromise that might be worked oul between
you and thc administration?
BRICKER: It mav be. I have always
been willing to compromise. I worked on
it, a year or, you remember, two years
ago very diligently to get something that
would be satisfactory to the people
downtown. The fact is that this is a
legislative matter. It's a matter for the
Congress under the Constitution—the
Presidenl doesn't sign it; he can't veto
it. Now the President has a perfect right
to say. if il affects his position, what
that effect will be. I have felt time ami
time again lhal lhe While House has
gone loo far in its opposition by having
personal contact with Senators in order
to determine what their vole might be.
I have had no hesitancy in saying that
to them, and have said it publicly time
and time again, and I believe it to be
true. Then in tbe ratification even by the
legislatures of the stales, the governor
can't veto lhal ratification. Thai's a legis-
lalive matter entirely, for the simple
reason that policy-making is a matter
for the Congress of lhe I nited Stale.-.
The Executive is an executive. He car-
lie-s out thc laws of thc Congress, and
the amending section to the Constitution
got ihis provision just as close back to
the people as il could, and left il solely,
properly, in the bands of the policymaking power of ihe government, which
is the Congress and the legislatures oi
HURLEIGH: Senator Bricker. the
Bricker Amendment was not aimed at
the present administration, wet- not
aimed at President Eisenhower.
Brickeh: No. it was drafted and filed
long before he became President or be-
eeimi' candidate for President.
HURLEIGH: And yel, sir. the very facl
that he has in a sense led the opposition
in the administration againsl the Bricker
Amendmenl—has thai not now put him
in a position lhal would cause him a certain amount of trouble next year if he
allowed this lo be postponed and become
a political issue?
linn kir: I don't think so at all. He
has already suggested that he is content
with an amendment which would prohibit a violation of the Constitution by
anv treaty or executive agreement. In
fact, that is the essence and the substance
of this whole thing. Now the second section is to merely make that effective, be-
i eiiise- as you know, in Missouri against
Holland the Supreme Court held that a
treat) doesn't violate the Constitution
il's the supreme law of the land, under
the- terms of the Constitution, though il
was never intended to be that. When
you read the history of our country and
the Constitutional Convention, you immediately realize that such an interpretation was the furthest thing from the
thought of Hamilton, Jefferson. Meeeh
son or any of the other leaders.
PRINA: Senator Bricker. aren't there
many other eases you could cite that
would show lhal lhe Supreme Court has
ruled that no treaty made overrides the
Bricker: Oh. they never have said
lhal a treaty violated the Constitution at
all because until 1945 . . .
PriiNA: Not violate it, but they made
it clear that it couldn't.
Bricker: No. no, that's not lhe law
now, because Missouri against Holland
reversed all that, and then Curtiss Wright
said that the treaty-making power is ei
matter of sovereignty, and then the Pink
ease said that even an executive agreement can violate a section of the Consti-
lulion. and it set aside not only the decision ..I lhe Supreme Courl of Sew York,
the laws of New York, but lhe fifth
article of the first ten amendments.
PRINA: Actually, in a treaty which
does affect domestic rights and duties,
would it nol he necessary for the Congress lo pass laws lo carry ihis Ireatv into
efl eel ?
Bricker: That's what I want done.
and that's the purpose of the Amendment
as far as the internal law is concerned.
But now no. Now. ii becomes the su-
preme law of the land as soon as the
treaty i- ratified bv two-thirds of the