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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Rep. Scott: Concerned about Constitution

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, said, “I’ve taken an oath to protect the Constitution and a lot of my constituents are concerned that this may be a violation of parts of the Constitution, in particular, I’m going to say two, Article 1 Section 10 that says no state shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation, and the other problem was Article  6, where it says the Constitution and the laws of the United States, which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made … shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every state shall be bound by them. My concern is that these protections, these amendments we’ve added, having not changed the 31 pages of the original bill, will be meaningless once this treaty is signed. Could you address the constitutional issues with this bill?”

State Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong said, “I am not a constitutional lawyer, I’m not a lawyer at all, so I really can’t get into that conversation. We’re not entering into the treaty. The United States of America entered into the treaty. We are using that treaty for the purpose of child support. So no, we didn’t enter into the treaty. And that’s no different than when I work with the Nez Perce Tribe and I have agreements with them. I am not a sovereign, I can’t negotiate a treaty, so I don’t. But I certainly use the tools that are made available to us by the United States of America, and it is that body that I look to for constitutionality. I would never expect that they would pass a bill onto us if that hadn’t already gone thru constitutional muster. It wouldn’t have gotten through the U.S. House and Senate if it had not passed constitutional muster.” At that, there was a murmur of laughter from the audience.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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