FACTOID # 17: Though Rhode Island is the smallest state in total area, it has the longest official name: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
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Encyclopedia > Article Six of the United States Constitution

Article Six establishes the United States Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land, and fulfills other purposes. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... Aphorism Critical legal studies Jurisprudence Law (principle) Legal research Letter versus Spirit List of legal abbreviations Legal code Natural justice Natural law Philosophy of law Religious law External links Find more information on Law by searching one of Wikipedias sibling projects: Wikibooks Wikiversity has more about this subject: School... A treaty is a binding agreement under international law concluded by subjects of international law, namely states and international organizations. ...


Complete Text

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
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.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.


The first clause of the Article provides that debts contracted prior to the adoption of the Constitution remain valid, as they were under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, commonly known as the Articles of Confederation, formed the first governing document of the United States of America. ...


Main article: Supremacy Clause

Clause two provides that the Constitution, and laws and treaties made pursuant to it, constitute the supreme law of the land. It provides that state courts are bound by the supreme law; in case of conflict between federal and state law, the federal law must be upheld. Even state constitutions are subordinate to federal law. The Supremacy Clause appears in Article VI of the United States Constitution. ... Under the laws of the United States, most disputes are properly taken to the courts of the state in which the dispute arose. ...

The Supreme Court under John Marshall was influential in construing the supremacy clause. It first ruled that it had the power to review the decisions of state courts allegedly in conflict with the supreme law, claims of "state sovereignty" notwithstanding. In Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816), the Supreme Court confronted the Chief Justice of Virginia, Spencer Roane, who had previously declared a Supreme Court decision unconstitutional and refused to permit the state courts to abide by it. The Court upheld the Judiciary Act, which permitted it to hear appeals from state courts, on the grounds that Congress had passed it under the supremacy clause. Chief Justice John Marshall (1755–1835), an engraving after Henry Inmans 1834 painting. ... Martin v. ... 1816 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... State nickname: Old Dominion Other U.S. States Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Governor Mark R. Warner (D) Tim Kaine (D-Governor Elect) Senators John Warner (R) George Allen (R) Official language(s) English Area 110,862 km² (35th)  - Land 102,642 km²  - Water 8,220 km² (7. ...

The Supreme Court has also struck down attempts by states to control or direct the affairs of federal institutions. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) was a significant case in this regard. The state of Maryland had levied a tax on banks not chartered by the state; the tax applied, state judges ruled, to the Bank of the United States chartered by Congress in 1816. Marshall wrote that "the States have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control, the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the general government." United States property is wholly immune to state taxation, as are government activities and institutions. Congress may explicitly provide immunity from taxation in certain cases, for instance by immunizing a federal contractor. Federal employees, however, may not be immunized from taxes, as the tax would not in any way impede government activities. Holding Although the Constitution does not specifically give Congress the power to establish a bank, it does delegate the ability to control national economic policy, which a bank can be considered part of. ... 1819 was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... State nickname: Old Line State; Free State Other U.S. States Capital Annapolis Largest city Baltimore Governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) Senators Paul Sarbanes (D) Barbara Mikulski (D) Official language(s) English Area 32,160 km² (42nd)  - Land 25,338 km²  - Water 6,968 km² (21%) Population (2000)  - Population 5... 1816 was a leap year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) was another influential case involving the supremacy clause. The state of New York had granted Aaron Ogden a monopoly over the steamboat business in the Hudson River. The other party, Thomas Gibbons, had obtained a federal permit under the Coastal Licensing Act to perform the same task. The Supreme Court upheld the federal permit. John Marshall wrote, "The nullity of an act, inconsistent with the Constitution, is produced by the declaration, that the Constitution is the supreme law. The appropriate application of that part of the clause which confers the same supremacy on laws and treaties, is to such acts of the State legislatures as do not transcend their powers, but though enacted in the execution of acknowledged State powers, interfere with, or are contrary to the laws of Congress, made in pursuance of the Constitution, or some treaty made under the authority of the United States. In every such case, the act of Congress, or the treaty, is supreme; and the law of the State, though enacted in the exercise of powers not controverted, must yield to it." In the case of Gibbons v. ... 1824 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... State nickname: The Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York City Governor George Pataki (R) Senators Charles Schumer (D) Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) Official languages None (English is de facto) Area 141,205 km² or 54,556 square miles (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water... View of the Hudson in the 1880s showing Jersey City The Hudson River, called Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk in Mahican, is a river running mainly through New York State but partly forming the boundary between the states of New York and New Jersey. ...

Reid v. Covert (1957) reaffirmed the long-held principle that the Constitution supersedes international treaties ratified by the United States Senate. Reid v. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two chambers of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ...


Federal and state legislators, executive officers and judges are, by the third clause of the article, bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. Congress may determine the form of such an oath. In Ex Parte Garland (1866), the Supreme Court held that a test oath would violate the Constitution, so it invalidated the law requiring the following oath: An affirmation (from Latin affirmare, to assert) is the declaration that something is true. ... Ex Parte Garland, 71 U.S. 333 (1866) was an important United States Supreme Court case involving the disbarment of former Confederate officials. ... 1866 is a common year starting on Monday. ...

I, A. B., do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I have never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since I have been a citizen thereof; that I have voluntarily given no aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto; that I have neither sought nor accepted, not attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatever, under any authority or pretended authority in hostility to the United States; that I have not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power, or constitution with the United States, hostile or inimical thereto...

The Supreme Court found that law constituted an unconstitutional ex post facto law, for it retroactively punished the offenses mentioned in the oath by preventing those who committed them from taking office. An ex post facto law (Latin for from a thing done afterward or after the deed), also known as a retrospective law, is a law that acts retroactively, affecting facts or legal relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. ...

Congress may not require religious tests for an office under the United States. Thus, Congress may include the customary words "so help me God" in an oath, but an individual would be under no compulsion to utter them, as such a requirement would constitute a religious test.


  • Irons, Peter. (1999). A People's History of the Supreme Court. New York: Penguin.

External links

Complete text at WikiSource United States Constitution edit

Original text: Preamble | Article 1 | Article 2 | Article 3 | Article 4 | Article 5 | Article 6 | Article 7 The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The Preamble to the United States Constitution consists of a single sentence (a preamble) that introduces the document and its purpose. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Constitution of the United States of America#Article I Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the United States government, known as the Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, comprising the President and other executive officers. ... Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal (national) government. ... Article Four of the United States Constitution relates to the states. ... Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered. ... Article Seven of the United States Constitution describes the process by which the entire document is to be ratified and take effect. ...

Amendments: (Bill of Rights: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10) | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27
 History  History of the Constitution | Articles of Confederation | Annapolis Convention | Philadelphia Convention | New Jersey plan | Virginia Plan | Connecticut Compromise | Federalist Papers | Signatories
 Amendments  Ratified amendments | Proposed amendments | Unsuccessful amendments | Conventions to propose | State ratifying conventions
 Clauses  Commerce | Contract | Due Process | Equal Protection | Establishment | Full Faith and Credit | Intellectual property | Natural–born citizen | Necessary and Proper | No Religious Test | Privileges or Immunities | Supremacy | War Powers
 Interpretation  Congressional power of enforcement | Dormant Commerce Clause | Double Jeopardy | Enumerated powers | Incorporation of the Bill of Rights | NondelegationPreemption | Separation of church and state | Separation of powers

  Results from FactBites:
The Constitution of the United States of America (4025 words)
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.
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