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Bricker Amendment Lives

It's a constitutional amendment you want, forget froth like the balanced budget amendment and the flag-burning amendment. Idaho's Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R) resurrected a moldy measure from the 1950s that is worth more than all the constitutional gimmicks proposed by the "Republican revolutionaries" of the last few years.

On June 17, Mrs Chenoweth reintroduced what used to be known as the Bricker Amendment originally crafted by Ohio Sen. John Bricker, the 1944 Republican vice-presidential candidate in the party's better days. The purpose of the measure, which never quite passed Congress despite immensely strong national support, was to protect American sovereignty from the partisans of the New World Order of that era. Bricker and his amendment are long gone, but the crusade against national sovereignty and the national independence it protects continues apace. Mrs. Chenoweth cites several examples of how sovereignty is being threatened by treaties and executive agreements that the Clinton White House (and not a few Republicans) is pushing. The trick that the foes of sovereignty used is based on the Constitution itself.

The Constitution holds that treaties "shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." That that means is that if the federal government can get a treaty that alters federal or state law, it's valid.

Since much of what the New World Order crowd would like to do can't possibly make it through elected legislatures, their trick is to put what they want in a treaty or better yet an executive agreement that doesn't have to be approved by the Senate. That way, they can change state and federal law as they please and don't have to worry about such useless ornaments of the old world order as elections and voters.

In the era between the world wars, it appeared that this was exactly what was going on. In a famous case involving a treaty between the United States and Great Britain protecting migratory birds, the state hunting laws of Missouri were over-ridden. The treaty and the federal law passed under it were supreme over the constitutionally enacted law of the state.


Bricker introduced his measure in 1954, when the United Nations and the vast secretive diplomacy of the Roosevelt administration had already committed the United States to global involvements that most American citizens never even knew about, much less voted on. Perhaps predictably, the Eisenhower administration announced its opposition to the amendment and with the help of Sen. Lyndon Johnson (D-Texas), prevented it from passing. The Bricker Amendment failed in the Senate by one vote.

Today, the same anti-sovereignty forces are even more powerful than they were in the 1950s. Treaties like NAFTA and the World Trade Organization circumscribe national sovereignty, and the Clinton globo-crats are pushing several UN "conventions" that would essentially dictate what laws we could pass and enforce.

Mrs Chenoweth points in particular to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, under which children would acquire 'rights" against their parents that could allow minors to avoid religious instruction and family discipline and to choose their own associates under the convention's guarantee of the child's right to "freedom of association." Not only state laws but the structure of the family itself would be subordinate to the UN convention, recently adopted by the Senate, allows UN inspectors to search private property, despite constitutional guarantees against unreasonable searches.

These are only a few of the more noticeable invasions of sovereignty that the Clinton administration (and virtually eery other administration since the 1930s) is pushing or has pushed. Fixated on a vision of One World, the Clintonites insist that national sovereignty is "obsolete" and needs to be diminished to accommodate the new global order they want to build.

Bricker's amendment -- and the measure sponsored by Mrs. Chenoweth - tries to stop this by declaring that "a provision of a treaty which denies or abridges any right enumerated in this Constitution shall not be of any force or effect." It also forbids any treaty from allowing any foreign power or international organization to "supervise, control or adjudicate rights of citizens of the United States," and denies to international bodies any powers of interpreting treaties to affect the domestic jurisdiction of the United States or the several states.

If the Republicans really want the "revolution" they promised us in 1994, they can climb on board the one that John Bricker tried to start in the 1950s and that Mrs. Chenoweth has fired up again. More than any other single measure, their amendment would strangle the New World Order in its cradle and keep alive the sovereignty and independence an earlier revolution created.