CLAIM: “.. the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere ..” Alexander Hamilton said.
INVESTIGATOR: John Needham
FACT CHECK DETAILS: FACTUAL ACCURATE
From June to July in 1788, the State of New York met to decide to create an agent to which it would delegate some of its powers including tax collection. On June 28th, Alexander argued that the current Articles of Confederation were inefficient in managing the process. Alexander Hamilton stated that federal supremacy would only be confined to the specific “sphere” of authority and is only supreme with regards to the powers expressly enumerated. He understood the Supremacy Clause’s legal jurisdiction, as it would become known, only held to the law’s created to manage the powers delegated to the State’s agent, the general government, and all other powers are reserved to the States.
“I maintain that the word supreme imports no more than this — that the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, cannot be controlled or defeated by any other law. The acts of the United States, therefore, will be absolutely obligatory as to all the proper objects and powers of the general government…but the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding, ” Alexander Hamilton said.
The Supremacy Clause’s ONLY legal jurisdiction which Hamilton called “this sphere”, is over the laws created to administer the powers delegated. Hamilton understood the sovereign States were the principal parties to the social compact called the Constitution in creating a new federal general government.
The major architects of the Constitution, including Hamilton and those that led the fight for its adoption laid down what the Supremacy Clause meant in reality at the Ratifying Conventions. By communicating the Clause’s intent in the Ratifying Conventions, they defended State Sovereignty and set the stage for the negation of unconstitutional actions.
Source: The New York Ratification Debates – June 28, 1788 – LINK
Source: Federalist #33 – LINK
Source: The Supremacy Clause, Constitution of these States united – LINK