The Highest Law in the Land1
One of the problems the left seems to have with the Constitution is that it gets between them and their fondest fantasies. They’ve rarely been as forthright in their contempt as was progressive President Woodrow Wilson2, who approved neither of the Declaration of Independence nor of the separation of powers mandated by the Constitution.3 It’s been tough for the left, you know? They want to subordinate the United States to extra-national authority, in much the same way that European nations have been subordinated to the European Union (for now). They want private citizens disarmed. They’d like restrictions on free speech. Yet to gain those things they’ve got to have not only super-majority control of the House and Senate, plus own the Oval Office, they must also be able to obtain, within a reasonable time, three quarters of the state legislatures.4 It’s that damnable pesky Constitution, with its obsolete separation of powers, that stands in the way of progress.
One of the ways around the Constitution would appear to be the treaty power, with that “highest law in the land” language. If that could be employed to give up our sovereignty, do away with firearms in non-state hands, and limit speech,5 then there would be no need to bring the House of Representatives or the states into the process; the president and senate, acting together, could write whatever laws they wish.
I had the sense, in reading the slip opinion for Medellin v. Texas6, that the Supreme Court is aware of the left’s intent and has been consciously ducking ruling on the matter more than it absolutely has to.
Note that Medellin was a 5-1-3 decision. Decided today, it would probably be four to four. Decided sometime after Antonin Scalia were to be replaced with a liberal, one could reasonably expect it to be four against five. I would expect the same to be true for any treaties signed by a progressive president and ratified by a progressive Senate, neither of which prospects are by any means impossible. Some of those are doozies, too. More on that a bit later.
It wouldn’t really be a problem, except that the left has some very strange ideas about the Constitution. Remember that time when a rightie said that the Constitution granted the right of the people to keep and bear arms? Or when the late Bill Buckley insisted that the right to the free exercise of religion was granted by the UN Charter? Or when Ronald Reagan insisted that the United States was actually subordinate to the UN? Yeah, I don’t remember those events, either.
But lefties do, many of them, insist on the truth just those things (minus giving credit to Reagan or Buckley, of course).7 Moreover, they have no problem with manipulating or outright perversion of the law, the Constitution, or the administrative regulations to get what they want, using either domestic law or international law. For example, ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, are supposed to deal with import and export of defense materials, to further the foreign policy and security of the United States. The State Department, however, has recently moved to pervert it to drive individual gunsmiths out of business.8 Not dissimilarly, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives recently moved to make it much more difficult to manufacture propellant for small arms for civilian purposes.9 They’ve since withdrawn the move, probably pending the election.10 Yet we shouldn’t have too many doubts of how they’ll move if they think they can get away with it.11
And then there’s Hillary. If she’s elected, and if she cannot get a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC12¸and if she cannot get even a packed Supreme Court to overrule itself,13 might she try the treaty route, if she thinks she could get the Court to approve that? I wouldn’t put it past her. No, I really would not.
There are, in fact, three treaties or protocols out there that we’ve never ratified, plus one we did but ineffectually, which I would expect a Hildebeast regime to push for, or even putsch for. These are The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court14, Additional Protocol II to Geneva Convention IV15, so there’ll be something else for the transnational left to prosecute our service members on, under the Rome Statute, for performing their duty, the Arms Trade Treaty16, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights17, which we’ve signed and ratified, but with so many exceptions and reservations as to make our ratification nugatory. Article Nineteen, for example, of the ICCPR, acted on in full, would probably do what Hillary wants done with Citizens United¸ without needing that pesky Constitutional amendment.
Next week: Those treaties in a bit more depth.
1 United States Constitution, Article VI, Section 2. In full, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land”.
2 Jiminy Peanut, AKA Jimmy Carter, is often called the nation’s worst es-president. He’s guilty of that, of course, but he is not the worst president we’ve ever had. No, righties, neither is Obama. The dishonor of worst president in American history belongs to Wilson. Indeed, his sole virtue was in illustrating just how stupid intellectuals can be, and why we should never make one president.
4 United States Constitution, Article V.
5 You realize, right, that they want a whole lot more than those things; those are just preconditions.
7 Honorable mention here; although I don’t think he was correct in saying so, Noam Chomsky once told me words to the effect that he considered the UN to be the colonial office for the American Empire. When Noam and I can agree that an organization is vile, even if not for the same reasons, the odds are good that it is, in fact, vile.
9 https://conservative-daily.com/2016/08/31/breaking-news-obama-atf-announces-backdoor-ammo-ban/. Yes, as a matter of fact that was panicky.
11 Most of the agents I’ve met are actually firearms enthusiasts, just doing a job. The political appointees, however, tend to be far more anti-second amendment when we have a Democrat in the White House.
13 The Court is usually very reluctant to do so, and even more reluctant when it would look so plainly as mere partisan politics, devoid of law.
Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus
Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.
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