All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

**Comment: The paragraph containing the supremacy clause has been called the linchpin of the Constitution because it combines the national government and the states into one governmental system, one federal state. It indicates that although the powers of the national government may be strictly enumerated, they are supreme over any conflicting state powers whatsoever.

Accordingly, when a conflict occurs between national and state law, the only question to be answered is, ordinarily, whether the former represents a fair exercise of Congress's power.**