Bricker Amendment (1952)

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Senator John Bricker of Ohio in 1952 introduced a proposed constitutional amendment designed to limit the treaty power and the President's power to make executive agreements. The proposal was an outgrowth of widespread isolationist sentiment following the korean war, and of fear of the possible consequences of the doctrine of missouri v. holland (1920) when combined with the United Nations Charter or the so-called Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The amendment, as introduced, would have declared that "a provision of a treaty or other international agreement which conflicts with this Constitution shall not be of any force or effect," and would have prohibited "self-executing" treaties by requiring separate, independently valid congressional action before a treaty could have force as "internal law."

President dwight d. eisenhower opposed the Bricker Amendment, arguing that it would make effective conduct of foreign affairs impossible and deprive the President "of his historic position as the spokesman for the nation." In February 1954, the Senate defeated the Bricker Amendment, and later it failed by one vote to give the required two-thirds approval to a weaker version written by Senator Walter F. George.

Dennis J. Mahoney