What is the Supremacy Clause? Article VI of the Constitution, which states that laws passed by the national government and all treaties are the supreme laws of the land and superior to all laws adopted by any state or any subdivision. To a certain extent this clause only indicates a truism: in those areas where the national government has rightful authority its laws are supreme. The clause specifically indicates that the national law is supreme only when in harmony with the Constitution and when acting with rightful authority. This does not mean that the national government can intrude on state prerogatives. States maintain sovereignty separate from that of the federal government. Still, should there be a conflict between state and federal law, if the federal government has a rightful authority over the particular area of law, its act would trump that of the state. The Supremacy Clause is in a more general one of the most important clauses in the Constitution, for it marks the transition from a system in which the States were sovereign, the old Articles of Confederation, and a system under which the National Government will be sovereign.2.

What is the Commerce Clause? Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution empowers the United States Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The Commerce Clause is a grant of power to Congress, not an express limitation on the power of the states to regulate the economy.

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