Government by Treaty/It Threatens Basic American Liberties

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From the New Orleans States, December 11, 1950.

3053259Government by Treaty — It Threatens Basic American LibertiesWilliam H. Fitzpatrick

In March, 1949, this newspaper in a series of seven editorials pointed to the dangers in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in December 1948, by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The United States delegation voted for this declaration. It was said by its proponents to be merely a statement of aspirations and ideals. It was not intended to have any legal effect in the United States.

It was to serve as a blueprint for a Covenant on Human Rights which would be legally binding upon any country which adopted it. The Declaration was likened to our Declaration of Independence and the Covenant to our United States Constitution.

The Human Rights Commission of the United Nations drew up, during March, April and May of 1950, a Covenant which is near completion and which the Senate may be asked, in the next 12 months, to ratify as a treaty.

The New Orleans States begins today a series of editorials on this Covenant.

If the Senate ratifies it as a treaty, this Covenant will become the law of the land, and will supersede all State laws and constitutions where they conflict and will stand equal with the United States Constitution and laws of the Federal Government.

Students of constitutional and international law point out that the effect of the Covenant may be even more far-reaching than that. It may be held to nullify articles of the Bill of Rights.

There is much in the various articles of the Covenant which can be criticized. This series of editorials will discuss four articles only.

For these four articles—articles 2, 13, 14, and 15—strike at the very heart of the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights while professing to guarantee wider freedoms for all the world.

These four articles endanger some of our most precious heritages:

Freedom of worship.

Freedom of speech.

Freedom of the press.

Freedom of peaceful assembly.

Each of these liberties has its inception in the first amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

There are no exceptions to these rights in the United States Constitution. But the Covenant on Human Rights contains so many restrictions, executions, and limitations that these rights are transmuted from the bright coinage of liberty to the fool's gold of dictatorial statism.