Missouri v. Holland

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MISSOURI V. HOLLAND, 252 U.S. 416 (1920), was a 7 to 2 Supreme Court decision establishing that the treaty-making power allows the exercise of federal power in areas not specifically delegated to the national government. Following ratification of the Migratory Bird Treaty between the United States and Great Britain, Congress enacted legislation to enforce its provisions. The state of Missouri challenged the act as an encroachment on the jurisdiction reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment, a claim the Court rejected. Missouri v. Holland figured prominently in mid-twentieth-century debates over U.S. participation in organizations such as the United Nations and is also significant for its conception of the Constitution as a "living document," allowing decisions to be based on historical practice instead of strict reliance on original intent.


Bickel, Alexander M., and Benno C. Schmidt Jr. History of the Supreme Court of the United States. Volume 9: The Judiciary and Responsible Government 1910–21. New York: Macmillan, 1984.

R. VolneyRiser

See alsoConstitution of the United States .

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Missouri v. Holland

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Missouri v. Holland