Supreme Law of the Land

supreme law of land
Supreme law of the land is the basis on which laws are based.

Generally, “the supreme law of the land” refers to the highest power in any nation’s law.

What is the supreme law of the land?

In the United States, the supreme law of the land is the Constitution and any constitutional amendments.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the Supreme Law of the Land.

What is the Supreme Law of the Land?

This power overrides the rest of the government and determines how much power they have.

It is typically an outline of the basic nature of a country, including aspects of the nation that are meant to be permanent such as the form of government, citizens’ rights, and governing processes.

Having an outline ensures that the spirit and identity of a country remain consistent for future generations.

The United States of America

In the United States, the supreme law of the land is the United States Constitution. The Founding Fathers drafted this document after the Articles of Confederation proved inadequate.

United States Constitution
United States Constitution.

Having experienced tyranny in the colonies and chaos in the confederacy, the Founding Fathers knew that the country needed a carefully drafted balance between the two extremes and a system that would lead to prosperity.

Balance of Power

The government and the people had shown their potential to skew that balance of power and threaten the nation’s well-being.

The United States Constitution reigning supreme over both was the perfect solution.

James Madison
James Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution.

The Constitution remains effective even today, largely thanks to the Founding Fathers’ willingness to have it amended without the original ideas being altered or tainted.

The supreme law of the United States is the original Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

Constitutional Law

The original Constitution detailed exactly how the national government was to be run. It revolved around the concept of checks and balances within the government.

Any person or group of people acquiring too much power was perceived to be the greatest danger to the nation’s longevity.

Creating a balance

This balance was accomplished through the division of power between the three branches of government:

House of Representatives
House of Representatives in 1906.

These laws can sometimes take the form of constitutional amendments, but no matter what, the federal government can neither repeal nor modify the original Constitution.

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch is divided into two houses in a system known as a bicameral legislature. In the Senate, states get equal representation with two senators each. In the House of Representatives, states’ representation is based on their respective populations.

Together, the two houses form Congress, and create the federal statutes of the United States.

The Executive Branch

The executive branch consists of the President, the Vice President, and the Cabinet of officials appointed to assist and advise them.

The President and Vice President can interact with Congress, but their main job is to manage and direct the rest of the national government and the military.

The Judicial Branch

Lastly, the judicial branch consists of the country’s court system, which delivers justice in the United States. The Supreme Court is the highest court, which hears especially significant cases at a federal level.

Supreme Court justices
United States Supreme Court justices from 1905 to 1945.

The nine supreme court justices are tasked with upholding the United States Constitution. Their rulings on laws are meant to be derived from the Constitution, not their own opinions.

As the highest court, the United States Supreme Court has the power to revoke a federal law approved by Congress if they consider it unconstitutional, which shows that the Constitution does indeed rule over the rest of the government.

The Bill of Rights

The second part of the original Constitution is known as the Bill of Rights, drafted by Founding Father James Madison, which includes the first ten amendments. They are considered amendments because they were not part of the original draft.

The Bill of Rights
The first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

When the Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification following the Constitutional Convention, they would not approve it unless citizens were guaranteed specific rights that stemmed from the core values upon which the country was founded.

According to the Declaration of Independence, the underlying belief is that all people are created equal and deserve the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

That noble ideal served as the foundation for the Bill of Rights, which stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the Constitution.

United States Founding Fathers
Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The Bill of Rights is an extremely important document for any American citizen. The following is a summary of the first 10 amendments:

1st Amendment:

All people have the right to freely express their thoughts and ideas through speech and press, to adhere to any religion or none at all, to assemble in groups, to petition the government, and to protest.

2nd Amendment:

All people have the fundamental right to bear arms, defend themselves, and have the security of a well-regulated militia.

3rd Amendment:

Forceful quartering of troops is prohibited. This was added because, in the colonial days, British soldiers could barge into people’s homes and stay without permission.

4th Amendment

Unreasonable searches and seizures are not allowed. This means that any law enforcer must have a good reason and a warrant to search a person or property. That cannot be done on an impulse or out of emotion.

5th Amendment

People accused of crimes must be given fair trials before being convicted and punished. They have the right to remain silent and cannot be tried for the same incident more than once.

6th Amendment:

Such trials must be done efficiently, publicly, and impartially, and the accused must be informed of their charges.

7th Amendment:

The right to a jury trial also applies to federal civil cases.

8th Amendment:

Punishments must be reasonable. Bails and fines cannot be excessive, and cruelties such as torture are not allowed.

9th Amendment:

All people have basic rights, and those extend beyond the ones that have been clearly defined in the previous amendments.

10th Amendment:

The federal government only has the powers granted by the United States Constitution. Anything else belongs to states and citizens.

A Remarkable Precedent

There is something to be said about a document that has remained effective for over two hundred years. The concept of a “supreme law of the land” is awe-inspiring.

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty.

The idea that the country’s foundational values are everlasting and more powerful than any human provides a sense of confidence and security.

Supremacy is normally associated with tyranny, but that is only when it is granted to people who do not deserve it.

All people are created equal, but ideas and values can be much more. That is why an insentient document serves as the supreme law of the land.

4 Responses

  1. Hello love the true value of our constitution. Which is the Supreme law of the land. God bless us all

  2. I have encountered the term “the constitutional law of the land”. What is that exactly?

  3. Are there any Supreme Court rulings that state that if a law is passed by congress but is in violation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, that that law is automatically null and void?

  4. “…all laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void”Marbury v Madison 5 US 1803 (2Cranch) 137 ,174,170)

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