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Encyclopedia > Full Faith and Credit Clause

Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, commonly known as the Full Faith and Credit Clause, addresses the duties states have to respect and enforce the judicial rulings of other states. Wikisource has original text related to this article: Constitution of the United States of America Page one of the original copy of the Constitution. ...

Contents

Text

Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect there of.

Interpretation

The clause was primarily intended to provide for comity between states and enforcement across state lines of non-federal laws, civil claims and court rulings. Without this clause, enforcement of state-to-state extradition, portability of court orders, nationwide recognition of legal status, out-of-state taxation, spousal and child support, and the collection of fees and fines would all be impossible without separate federal action, or a similar action by the other states.


As the United States Supreme Court explained in Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 494 (2003): Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties Libertarian Party State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body...

The [United States] Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause provides: " Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof." Art. IV, § 1. As we have explained, our precedent differentiates the credit owed to laws (legislative measures and common law) and to judgments." Baker v. General Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 232 (1998). Whereas the full faith and credit command "is exacting" with respect to "[a] final judgment . . . rendered by a court with [jurisdiction] over the subject matter and persons governed by the judgment," id. at 233, it is less demanding with respect to choice of laws. We have held that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not compel "'a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.'" Sun Oil Co. v. Wortman, 486 U.S. 717, 722 (1988) (quoting Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Comm'n, 306 U.S. 493, 501 (1939)). Congress in Joint Session. ...

The Supreme Court of the United States has long recognized a "public policy exception" to the clause. In Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Comm'n, 306 U.S. 493, 502 (1939), the court wrote: Public policy is a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a problem. ...

[T]here are some limitations upon the extent to which a state may be required by the full faith and credit clause to enforce even the judgment of another state in contravention of its own statutes or policy. See Wisconsin v. Pelican Insurance Co., 127 U.S. 265; Huntington v. Attrill, 146 U.S. 657; Finney v. Guy, 189 U.S. 335; see also Clarke v. Clarke, 178 U.S. 186; Olmsted v. Olmsted, 216 U.S. 386; Hood v. McGehee, 237 U.S. 611; cf. Gasquet v. Fenner, 247 U.S. 16. And in the case of statutes, the extrastate effect of which Congress has not prescribed, as it may under the constitutional provision, we think the conclusion is unavoidable that the full faith and credit clause does not require one state to substitute for its own statute, applicable to persons and events within it, the conflicting statute of another state, even though that statute is of controlling force in the courts of the state of its enactment with respect to the same persons and events.

Thus if the legal pronouncements of one state conflict with the public policy of another state, federal courts in the past have been reluctant to force a state to enforce the pronouncements of another state in contravention of its own public policy. The public policy exception has been applied in cases of marriage (such as polygamy, miscegenation, consanguinity, or gay marriage), civil judgments and orders, criminal conviction and others. The term polygamy (many marriages in late Greek) is used in related ways in social anthropology and sociobiology and sociology. ... It has been suggested that Anti-miscegenation laws be merged into this article or section. ... Consanguinity, literally meaning common blood, describes how close a person is related to another in the sense of a family. ... Same-sex marriage is marriage between individuals who are of the same legal or biological sex. ...


Same-sex controversy

The Full Faith and Credit Clause has been noted for its application involving orders of protection, for which the clause was expounded upon by the Violence Against Women Act, child support, for which the enforcement of the clause was spelled out in the Federal Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act (28 U.S.C. § 1738B), and its possible application to same-sex marriage, civil union and domestic partnership laws and cases, as well as the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. The clause has been the chief constitutional basis for the repeated attacks on the DOMA. Regardless of whether DOMA is constitutional, most legal scholars recognize that it is more probably superfluous given the public policy exception. For even if DOMA is deemed unconstitutional, the long precedence of the public policy exception weighs in against the recognition of same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships in states whose public policy prohibits it. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) is a United States federal law. ... Title 28 is the portion of the United States Code (federal statutory law) that governs the Federal Judicial System. ... Same-sex marriage, often called gay marriage, is a marriage between two persons of the same gender. ... A civil union is a recognized union similar to marriage. ... Domestic partner or domestic partnership identifies the personal relationship between individuals who are living together and sharing a common domestic life together but are not joined in any type of legal partnership, marriage or civil union. ... The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is the commonly-used name of a federal law of the United States that is officially known as Pub. ... The United States Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would define marriage in the United States as a union of one man and one woman. ...


As of early 2004, 39 states have passed their own laws nearly all of which specifically reject same-sex marriages recognized in other jurisdictions. Many of these laws have been passed in the last few years. By taking a legal stance on the issue these states have helped inform the Supreme Court what the public policy of the various states are before the Court takes up the issue and it is left to review the constitutionality of those policies.


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated in his dissenting opinion to the landmark Lawrence v. Texas decision that he feared application of the Full Faith and Credit Clause to the majority’s decision in that case might destroy "the structure . . . that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions." If Scalia's dissenting opinion held true, the majority ruling could potentially negate the DOMA and create a legal loophole allowing same-sex marriages and obliging all other states to recognize them. Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Holding A Texas law prohibiting homosexual sodomy violated the privacy and liberty of adults, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to engage in private intimate conduct. ...


Likewise, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health is being eyed by observers on both sides of the issue because of similar concerns stemming from this clause. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the highest court in the United States Commonwealth of Massachusetts. ... Holding The denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated provisions of the state constitution guaranteeing individual liberty and equality, and was not rationally related to a legitimate state interest. ...


Supporters of the DOMA, however, have claimed that the clause could very well be used to defend the law. They say that the clause’s explicit language spelling out the role of Congress is precisely what makes the law Constitutional, without the further need for the Federal Marriage Amendment. They point out that Congress has made several laws, including those on firearms controls and safety standards, employment discrimination, disability, and rights to unionization, and environmental protection, which have all withstood Constitutional attacks on the basis of full faith and credit.


External links

  • Transcription of the US Constitution at the National Archives
  • Pine Tree Legal Assistance's article on Federal Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Act
  • Full Faith and Credit Provision of the Violence Against Women Act by Delaware State
  • A guide to Full Faith and Credit concerns in the Mid-Atlantic Region by Delaware State
  • PDF of "An Advocate's Guide to Full Faith and Credit for Orders of Protection: Assisting Victims of Domestic Violence" at University of Minnesota
  • 365Gay.com article
  • Fox News article
  • WNBC article
  • North Shore Sunday article on TonOnline.com
  • Marriagewatch.org's Goodridge page
  • Huston Voice article
  • GLAD's Marriage page
  • Findlaw article
  • Mountain Pride Media article
  • Slate article
v  d  e
United States Constitution Complete text at Wikisource

Original text: Preamble ∙ Article 1 ∙ Article 2 ∙ Article 3 ∙ Article 4 ∙ Article 5 ∙ Article 6 ∙ Article 7 Wikisource has original text related to this article: Constitution of the United States of America Page one of the original copy of the Constitution. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Preamble to the United States Constitution The preamble to the United States Constitution consists of a single sentence (a preamble) which introduces the document and its purpose. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Article One of the United States Constitution Article One of the United States Constitution states the establishment of the legislative branch of the United States government, known as Congress, which includes the House of Representatives and the Senate. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Article Two of the United States Constitution Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, comprising the President and other executive officers. ... Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. ... Article Four of the United States Constitution relates to the states. ... Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution may be altered. ... Article Six establishes the United States Constitution and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it as the supreme law of the land, and fulfills other purposes. ... Article Seven of the United States Constitution describes the process by which the entire document is to be ratified and take effect. ...

Amendments: 1 ∙ 2 ∙ 3 ∙ 4 ∙ 5 ∙ 6 ∙ 7 ∙ 8 ∙ 9 ∙ 10 ∙ 11 ∙ 12 ∙ 13 ∙ 14 ∙ 15 ∙ 16 ∙ 17 ∙ 18 ∙ 19 ∙ 20 ∙ 21 ∙ 22 ∙ 23 ∙ 24 ∙ 25 ∙ 26 ∙ 27
 Formation  History of the Constitution • Articles of Confederation • Annapolis Convention • Philadelphia Convention • New Jersey Plan • Virginia Plan • Connecticut Compromise • Signatories
 Adoption  Massachusetts Compromise • Federalist Papers
 Amendments  Bill of Rights • Ratified • Proposed • Unsuccessful • Conventions to propose • State ratifying conventions
 Clauses  Case or controversy • Citizenship • Commerce • Commerce (Dormant) • Contract • Copyright • Due Process • Equal Protection • Establishment • Free Exercise • Full Faith and Credit • Impeachment • Natural–born citizen • Necessary and Proper • No Religious Test • Presentment • Privileges and Immunities (Art. IV) • Privileges or Immunities (14th Amend.) • Speech or Debate • Supremacy • Suspension • Takings Clause • Taxing and Spending • Territorial • War Powers
 Interpretation  Congressional power of enforcement • Double jeopardy • Enumerated powers • Incorporation of the Bill of Rights • Nondelegation • Preemption • Separation of church and state • Separation of powers • Constitutional theory

  Results from FactBites:
 
Full Faith and Credit Clause - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1008 words)
Without this clause, enforcement of state-to-state extradition, portability of court orders, nationwide recognition of legal status, out-of-state taxation, spousal and child support, and the collection of fees and fines would all be impossible without separate federal action, or a similar action by the other states.
Texas decision that he feared application of the full faith and credit clause to the majority’s decision in that case might destroy "the structure.
Full Faith and Credit Provision of the Violence Against Women Act by Delaware State
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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