Join Date: Jun 2001
Treaty Law, It's for the birds
- Treaty Law -- it's for the birds
For at least the past ninety years, when the federal government desired to intrude on the prerogatives of the states, but could not find its way around the clear restrictions imposed on it in the United States Constitution, a treaty has been arranged and passed to allow the federal government into the states.
The Constitution was written to give the central government certain carefully prescribed powers, and no more. All other matters were to be left to the individual union states as is made clear in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment states: "All powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Although this language is unmistakably clear, many American leaders have either ignored this restriction on the federal government, or characterized it as passe in our modern era. When they start treating our First Amendment rights with similar disdain, maybe more Americans will pay attention, and even raise some objections.
Treaty making power comes from Article VI which states, in part: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof and all Treaties made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;..." A situation that illustrates how the treaty making power has been used to allow the federal government to stick their beaks into the business of the states involves the hunting of migratory birds
Congress passed the Migratory Bird Act in March 1913 and federal agents tried to enforce the act in Arkansas by arresting a fellow for shooting and killing Canadian geese. But a federal judge named Trieber ruled in 1914 in United States v. Shauver, 214 F. 154, 160 (E.D.Ark.1914) that the Migratory Bird Act passed by Congress was unconstitutional stating in part: "The court is unable to find any provision in the Constitution authorizing Congress, either expressly or by necessary implication, to protect or regulate the shooting of migratory wild game in a state, and is therefore forced to the conclusion that the act is unconstitutional." Many of us would sure like to read such language these days emanating from federal courts!
In response to this decision, the federal government, demonstrating and apparent obsession with things ornithological (that's right - bird related) ratified the Migratory Bird Treaty (39 Stat. 1702) with Great Britain and, in 1918, Congress passed another Migratory Bird Act (40 Stat. 755) to carry out this treaty in the United States.
Subsequently, in 1919, another citizen of Arkansas was arrested by federal agents for hunting protected migratory birds, and his case ended up in front of the same federal judge Trieber, who had ruled against the federal government in the 1914 case relative to the previous Migratory Bird Act. But this time, things changed.
Judge Trieber ruled that the arrest of the Arkansas citizen by federal agents under the 1918 Act was constitutional based on the fact that the Act was passed as a result of a treaty. Thus did Congress obtain municipal power within the states, able to police certain issues that involved treaties.
This municipal power has been greatly expanded during the interceding years with the ratification of the United Nations Treaty, NAFTA, GATT, environmental treaties, and several arms control treaties. One result of GATT is that all babies born in the United States be given social security numbers under what is called the Numident program before they are taken from the hospital. This is not an absolute requirement because it cannot be under our Constitution, but great pressure is put on parents who refuse to apply for a social security number for their newborn.
But if these treaties can trump portions of the Constitution, as the judges have maintained, then how safe are any of the rights guaranteed by our Constitution? If the federal government wants to do something, a way will be found to do it. If the leaders in our federal government don't respect the Constitution - the document they all took an oath to uphold - there isn't much restraining their lust for power.
The Constitution should only be changed as provided for in Article V, not through end-arounds under treaty law. Information for some of this article was obtained from the works of eminent Constitutional attorney, Larry Becraft.
“The Matrix is a system, Neo, and that system is our enemy. When you are inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, the very minds we are trying to save. Until we do, these people are part of that system and that makes them our enemies. You have to understand that most of these people are not ready to be unplugged and many are so hopelessly dependent on the system, they’ll fight to protect it. “The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
- Morpheus, in the movie, “The Matrix”