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|Bill of Rights|
Article 6 of the Constitution not only states that all debts and prior engagements before the Constitution was written are still in effect, it also discusses that the Constitution is the highest ruling document and governing law in the U.S. It not only states U.S. citizens have to abide by it, but the federal officers as well as judges in the U.S. are also required to follow, and to govern, following the rules and regulations that are set forth in the Constitution.
Breaking it Down
Unlike other articles, the 6th is not broken down into sections and clauses. It is simply made up of three clauses of text, and discusses three distinct issues. The issues that are discussed in this article are all in relation to any debts that a state might have, any prior engagements a state might have entered into, and what the states are regulated by (what laws apply), when it comes to any of these issues and topics.
The article discusses that certain debts are not going to be wiped away simply because they are older than the Constitution; it also states that engagements and contractual obligations that were agreed upon prior must still be carried out by the states, even if they were made official prior to the Constitution being signed.
What the Article Includes
Some of the basic points that are made in the short, three clause text includes:
– Judges and federal officials are required to abide by the law that is written in the Constitution.
– All debts and engagements, regardless of when they were entered into (even prior to the Constitution being written), have to be paid off by the states that owe them.
– All laws and treaties in the Constitution are the governing law of the U.S.
– All officials, senators, representatives, house members, judges, etc., must take an oath to abide by the Constitution and the governing laws in it; and,
– No religious tests will ever be a requirement for someone to qualify as a representative, or elected body in the U.S.
This article basically breaks down what the Constitution is, who has to follow it, and what the rules in it mean. It also prescribes that regardless of what issue, if there are differences in federal and state laws, that the federal law, is always going to trump state law, even in state courts.
Clause 1: Debts
This is the clause that discusses any debts that the states owe, which were entered into and negotiated, prior to the advent of the Constitution being ratified, and entered as the supreme law of the U.S. The clause states that all these debts and engagements are still valid, and hold to the same terms, as when they were entered into under the Articles of Confederation.
Clause 2: Supremacy
This is known as the supremacy clause in the U.S. Constitution. It basically states that all federal laws, that are comprised and make up the U.S. Constitution, are the governing laws, and supreme laws that must be followed by all U.S. citizens. In the event a state law dictates what a federal law states, the state law will be trumped by federal law, regardless of which one came first. It also dictates that the state courts, regardless of beliefs or laws in the state, must abide by the federal laws, if there is a conflict among them. There are several federal and state issues that contradict one another, and have been throughout history. Regardless of the issue, or what kind of debate it is, if a federal and state law contradict what the other says, this Supremacy clause basically states that the states can’t abide by their own state law, and must follow what the federal regulation is on any subject matter.
Clause 3: Oaths
This caluse basically states that elected executive officers, any judges, all federal legislators and all state legislators, and any other governing body or power, must follow an oath (prior to being able to take office in their respective practice), and must state that they will abide by all rules in the Constitution, and that the Constitution is the governing law of the U.S.