The constitution and an international treaty

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; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. – United States Constitution, Article VI, Section 2
Does this mean that if/when the US starts to implement the National Missile Defense, that the treaty about non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and defensive weapons in space may mean that the Courts could stop the government from continueing due to it being unconstitutional?

Sorry the name of the treaty has gone out of my head. :open_mouth:

The passage states that treaties are the highest laws, not that they are part of the Constitution. If there were a treaty violation the Supreme Court might hear the case, but the violation wouldn’t be unconstitutional, just illegal.

Article XV of the ABM treaty has this language:

  1. This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.
  2. Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from thisTreaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other Party six months prior to withdrawal from the Treaty. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

I presume that the Bush administranion would give due notice. It would be an act without any support in the world except maybe from Israel and a few third world puppets.

According to my high school social studies class, if a treaty and the Constitution come into conflict (say Clinton had signed a treaty with the UN to do something flagrantly unconstitutional, such as eliminating private gun ownership in America), then the Constitution always trumps the treaty. The Constitution is The supreme law of the land. Treaties are supreme as long as they don’t conflict with it.

so just a quick question…

does this mean that if the US signs a treaty it automatically becomes US law as long as it’s not unconstitutional, or does it have to be ratified by parliament first?

We fought a war in the late eighteenth century to establish the Constitution as the law of the land and to tell Parliment (well the British one, anyway) to go piss up a rope.

Yes, it has to undergo legislative ratification, specifically a 2/3 majority of the Senate (Constitution, Article II, Section 2)

And the title for the US’s Federal National Assembly is “Congress” in case Fleetwood left you wondering… Just that “parliament” seems to imply parliamentary government, which does not exist in the USA.

Bugger, I knew that. My brain just wasn’t working last night due to consumption of wine and I was thinking in Australian political terms. Sorry.