• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court created a new federal power to act in accordance with treaties.

The state of Missouri tried to prevent the enforcement of a statute resulting from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, charging that the law intruded on the rights reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment. By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the federal law enacted in compliance with the migratory bird treaty. An earlier decision not involving a treaty had held that states owned the birds within their borders, but in his opinion for the Court, Justice Oliver Wendell HolmesHolmes, Oliver Wendell;Missouri v. Holland[Missouri v. Holland] found that the federal government had to have the power to comply with treaties that, under the supremacy clause of Article VI, were the supreme law of the land. Controversial at the time, this decision lost its significance beginning in the 1930’s as federal power in the domestic area was greatly expanded. Justices Willis Van Devanter and Mahlon Pitney alone among the conservatives dissented, upholding the traditional states’ rights viewpoint.Treaties;Missouri v. Holland[Missouri v. Holland]


Foreign affairs and foreign policy

States’ rights and state sovereignty


Categories: History