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An Excersize with James Madison on Constitutional Law

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posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 01:47 AM
Here is my deal
Lots of research and discussion with lots of poeple in addition to the insight of many here on the matter.
Still seems to me there is some misunderstanding somewhere, so i decided to create this thread to see.
First is this qoute from James Madison (we all know who is, what he did...right?)

"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government."

ok, so hopefully everyone here is familiar with that quote. Then there is this:

United States Constitution; Article 6 Section 2:
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.

Now comes the excersize part. Without reading into anyone elses posts (at least not until after you have posted[im trusting you....]), i want you to consider the quote and interperate the constitutional passage for us. As well as an explanation for your interpretation.

Please understand that i am not seeking conversation on the matter, nor rebuttal of anyones interpretation.
Thanks in advance to those who participate

edit on 28-2-2011 by RadicalRebel because: im hating words at 3am

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 02:19 AM
Direct reading of the clause from the Constitution, without trying to interpret it according to what has happened since, would be that judges (although this could be said to be only federal judges located in each state since "in" is used instead of "of", which would definitely indicate state judges) must follow the Constitution as well as any laws made based on the Constitution (which would be federal laws) and any treaties entered into by the US government, EVEN IF THE STATE LAWS SAY DIFFERENT.

It would seem that James Madison was definitely not a states-rightist.

The result is that federal law overrides state law (which is usually what the feds argue anyway), and also that treaties would override state law (which is something that has been argued occasionally, with the state generally rebuffing it in the end).

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 02:26 AM
reply to post by RadicalRebel

Not gonna do your legal class homework for you.

I would be useless to you anyway, i know the first and second amendments and a few other important ones, first two are most important though.
If i see wrong i exercise my first right, if you continue i exercise the second.
I never spoke legaleese to well, but i know right from wrong.

posted on Feb, 28 2011 @ 07:04 AM
The Article is quite clear regarding the constitution, treaties and (constitutionally founded) federal laws are the supreme law of the land in all jurisdictions. As an earlier poster noted, this may apply only to federal judges, but from a historical perspective it's unclear whether the word choice between "in" or "of" is significant or the chosen punctuation has significance in the writing style of the period: I certainly do not know.

The real challenge is the scope of the last clause:
"any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
Instantly there appears not one, but an entire network of rabbit-holes to scurry down in pursuit of a valid interpretation. Are the core issues of Marbury v. Madison based on this passage (court oversight on "constitutionality")? Or does it allow for the unenforceability of certain legislated actions? One could choose the path that this language modifies the previous clause regards applicability in every state and allow judges to rule otherwise depending upon their jurisdiction. Or it could imply that NO issues between laws of the states or the US and its treaties and the Constitution can be resolved by local judges, deferring to a higher authority (SCOTUS).

I note Article 6 has several administrative clauses, of which the thread topic is only one. One could reason that these general articles apply across all three delineated branches of government; one could also reason the complete opposite since this provision isn't included in the Articles pertaining to the three branches of government. Thus is the challenge of legal interpretation of documents created two centuries past. Justice Scalia would interpret the constitution according to the word rules, usage and grammer of the time it was written. He also completely ignores any part of the Constitution not enacted into statute or code (the "preambles" which preserve for all the proper and appropriate manner of interpretation of the document for posterity). Thus, his interpretation can reject the notions of "bill of attainder" "corruption of blood" and seizure of property as being currently non-existent and non-applicable to limits on federal powers. Just saying: there are many careers devoted to constitutional interpretation, it's doubtful that your question will find a "true" answer only many possibilities.


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