Politics dictionary

Supremacy Clause

or supremacy clause [suh-prem-uh-see klawz]

What does Supremacy Clause mean?

The Supremacy Clause is the common moniker of Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. The clause establishes the Constitution and federal laws as the “supreme Law of the Land,” above state laws.

Where does Supremacy Clause come from?

Examples of Supremacy Clause

A civil court case in Pittsfield, MA, could have far ranging implications for state sovereignty and the supremacy clause
Eoin Higgins, HuffPost, April, 2016
Could someone please tell @NYCMayor that Federal Immigration Law TRUMPS his BLATANT illegality... Does the Supremacy Clause ring a bell?
@SAMMIESMILES8, January, 2018
Though the supremacy clause, which says federal law trumps state law, might seem simple, ‘the line of when that actually happens gets really, really complex quickly,’ he adds.
Paul Nolette, quoted by Katy Steinmetz, Time, February, 2017

Who uses Supremacy Clause?

The Supremacy Clause is rarely referenced outside of legal and political settings. Outside expert settings, it is mostly students who are studying the US Constitution who will encounter the term. Google search analytics supports this almost exclusive classroom usage—searches for “Supremacy Clause” spike every September, the beginning of the school year, and the most common related term searched along with it is definition.

On social media, the Supremacy Clause is most often brought up as a learned term when users want to belittle their opponents in a political debate (as in, “Have you not read the Supremacy Clause?”).

Capitalization of the term varies by style guide.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of Supremacy Clause like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Supremacy Clause that will help our users expand their word mastery.