Article 6, Clause 2

Document 18

George Mason, Virginia Ratifying Convention

11 June 1788Papers 3:1062--63

Let us advert to the 6th article. It expressly declares that, "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, sir, if the laws and constitution of the general government, as expressly said, be paramount to those of any state, are not those rights with which we were afraid to trust our own citizens annuled and given up to the general government? The bill of rights is a part of our own constitution. The judges are obliged to take notice of the laws of the general government, consequently the rights secured by our bill of rights are given up. If they are not given up, where are they secured? By implication? Let gentlemen shew that they are secured in a plain, direct, unequivocal manner. It is not in their power. Then where is the security? Where is the barrier drawn between the government and the rights of the citizens, as secured in our own state government? These rights are given up in that paper, but I trust this convention will never give them up, but will take pains to secure them to the latest posterity. If a check be necessary in our own state government, it is much more so in a government where our representatives are to be at the distance of 1000 miles from us without any responsibility.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 6, Clause 2, Document 18
The University of Chicago Press

The Papers of George Mason, 1725--1792. Edited by Robert A. Rutland. 3 vols. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970.

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