Although never adopted, the Bricker Amendment would have reduced the president's ability to negotiate agreements with foreign powers without congressional approval.
In 1953, John Bricker, a United States senator from Ohio, introduced an amendment to the United States Constitution. It became known as the Bricker Amendment. Bricker was upset by the United States' involvement in the Korean War. He objected to President Harry Truman's actions in the conflict, namely sending United States soldiers to Korea under the authority of the United Nations without prior approval of the United States Congress.
The amendment read as follows:
- Section 1.
- A provision of a treaty which conflicts with this Constitution shall not be of any force or effect.
- Section 2.
- A treaty shall become effective as internal law in the United States only through legislation which would be valid in the absence of treaty.
- Section 3.
- Congress shall have power to regulate all executive and other agreements with any foreign power or international organization. All such agreements shall be subject to the limitations imposed on treaties by this article.
- Section 4.
- The congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The United States Senate defeated the amendment twice, first by eight votes and then, on a second vote, by a single tally. While numerous groups, including anti-war groups, various women's organizations, and veterans' groups, supported the amendment, staunch opposition from President Dwight David Eisenhower resulted in the proposal's defeat.