What does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution
Did it mean that all records from State A would have the same conclusive effect in State B , and that no plea or defense would be good in State B unless it would be accepted in State A as well? The emblematic judgment, for purposes of full faith and credit, is a money judgment. The Center for Teaching the Constitution

While there are, of course, several clauses in the U. Constitution that formally speak to the machinery of interstate legal relations, one of the most functional is the Extradition Clausewhich requires one U.

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

State to deliver an absconding accused from the U. State in which the accused is apprehended to the U. State in and by which the accused is wanted.

Many State-government forms in every U. State exist to observe and effectuate that U. This is known as comity among courts.

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

As to civil judgments being collectible in one U. State after having been obtained in another, consider each U. This page may be out of date.

What Does the Phrase Full Faith and Credit Mean in Article IV of the Constitution?

The majority also discussed Hood v. McGeheeU. The majority explained that the Louisiana registrar was not constitutionally obligated to do anything more than recognize Adar and Smith as the legal parents of Infant J and enforce the New York adoption decree in the same way that it would enforce an adoption decree issued by Louisiana courts.

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

The hitch, of course, is that Louisiana law does not permit adoptions by unmarried couples like Adar and Smith as a matter of public policy.

The questions raised by Adar v. Smith concern full faith and credit, and the Fifth Circuit held that full faith and credit does not oblige Louisiana to enforce a right that the state does not confer on its own citizens as a matter of domestic public policy. Part III endeavors to make that foundation more explicit. The public policy exception to full faith and credit encapsulates a century of judicial efforts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory objectives of full faith and credit and federalism: The public policy exception ensures that full faith and credit requirements do not infringe on the latter privilege by allowing states to refuse recognition of the public acts of other states.

Formal legislation, however, is not the only way that states exercise sovereignty within our unique federal system. States also exercise sovereignty through the formal and informal acts of an elected judiciary and an elected executive, branches of government that are owed just as much deference and respect as the legislature.

As a result, full faith and credit rules in the modern era must contemplate a spectrum of state records that are explicit expressions of sovereignty, fraught with overlapping government prerogatives, priorities, and policies. See generally supra Part I.

C discussing Baker v. Smith was inescapable, but the court—like many courts before it—missed an opportunity to add substance and clarity to the distinction between recognition of a state record and enforcement of a state record.

Next, the court should have explained that the distinction between recognition and enforcement of state records has remarkably strong roots in Supreme Court jurisprudence. Finally, and most importantly, the court should have identified the distinction as a viable mechanism to deal with records that are not covered by the established rules for judgments and public acts.

This Comment draws on close readings of Baker and Adar to define recognition and enforcement in a way that makes application of the terms a more practical, and less academic, endeavor. C and Part II. This Part examines the application of these terms to the full spectrum of state records, and discovers that the requirement of enforcement is just another expression of the public policy exception to full faith and credit.

This Part is composed of three sections. The second section explains how the enforcement requirement permits the public policy exception to reach the full spectrum of full faith and credit, and concludes that this is a desirable outcome. Sachs, supra note 15, at The third and final section revisits Adar v. Smith to drive home the point that full faith and credit is a weak and inappropriate foundation from which to respond to clashing public policies, especially when an alternative constitutional remedy is waiting in the wings.

It is no surprise then, that this is where full faith and credit finds its most seamless application.

Article 4 of the Constitution

But early interpretations of the Clause never limited the definition of judicial proceedings to money judgments; instead, full faith and credit law developed in accord with the values of res judicata—finality, repose, and reliance. Full faith and credit values—indeed, res judicata values—are most obviously advanced by the interstate recognition of judgments that are the product of a controversy. The other criteria the Restatement considers in determining if a judgment is entitled to full faith and credit are whether the rendering state has subject matter jurisdiction, whether the rendering state has a reasonable method to ensure that affected persons receive notice of the action, and whether the parties to the action complied with the formal procedures of the rendering state.

Notably, all of these factors point to the expenditure of judicial resources in honoring the due process rights of litigants and in reaching a fully litigated judgment. Finality, repose, and reliance are especially important under those circumstances. However, it should be noted that judgments qualifying for full faith and credit are not always rendered by a court of law.

Administrative agencies, in their adjudicatory function, can render judgments, but the key requirement is still that there is some sort of controversy. Judgments rendered in response to a controversy entail a tremendous expenditure of public and private resources in the fact-finding process.

Therefore, it is inefficient and unfair to permit parties to relitigate the same controversy from state to state. These considerations add gravity to the need for finality, repose, and reliance. State records that are issued without the adjudication of an actual controversy represent neither the same investment nor the same risk of forum shopping. Res judicata values are not, on the other hand, advanced by the interstate recognition of public acts. Finality, repose, and reliance have little import in the legislative arena. Statutes apply prospectively to all persons similarly situated a class that is opendo not arise out of adversarial proceedings, and shape or reshape as opposed to apply the law.

Much justice can be done by piecemeal legislative adjustment, whether or not—or until—greater movement in any chosen direction can be made. Res judicata values are advanced to varying degrees by state records that are neither adversarial judgments nor public acts. Even the most ministerial act—e. Repose and finality are not core objectives of the many routine records issued by state governments to facilitate order and control.

This explains why the interstate recognition of licenses is not mandated by full faith and credit. The more a record implicates judicial proceedings, the more it implicates res judicata. The equity decree in Baker Baker v. In Bakerthe GM—Elwell injunction was part of a negotiated settlement, not the resolution of adjudicated facts. The injunction looked and acted more like a private contract than a judicial order based on extensive fact-finding and the application of law. Most significantly, the injunction, issued by a Michigan court, would not have been automatically entitled to res judicata effect in other Michigan courts.

Temecula Constitution Class: Full Faith and Credit, Concerning the States

The Registrar concedes that the parental relationship of Adar and Smith with Infant J cannot be revisited in its courts. Although not adversarial in nature, it is easy to see how the values of finality, repose, and reliance come to bear in adoption proceedings.

In general, res judicata principles support a higher level of faith and credit recognition for personal status records, an argument that was recently advanced by another student commentator. Records, like adjudicative findings, establish factual issues upon which legal rights are settled; unlike legislation, they frequently establish private, rather than public rights.

The principles of reliance and finality are therefore important to status records, suggesting that interstate recognition under the Full Faith and Credit Clause is sometimes warranted.

That does not mean, however, that all status records deserve the same unqualified res judicata effect as adversarial judgments. A record-by-record evaluation may be the only way to ensure that full faith and credit continues to embrace the central values of res judicata. Nothing in the early history of the Full Faith and Credit Clause suggests that the Framers intended to impose anything other than a recognition requirement on American courts.

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

Nevertheless, the Court has frequently applied a much broader interpretation of full faith and credit, mandating that state courts not only recognize out-of-state records by giving res judicata effectbut also enforce out-of-state records by giving conclusive effect.

Scalia emphasized that even if Missouri owed recognition to the Michigan injunction, enforcement of the judgment would still be controlled by Missouri law.

Instead, Louisiana is merely obligated to enforce a New York judgment or record in the same way that she would enforce her own judgment or record. Rather, the more workable definition of enforcement —and the definition that was implicitly adopted by the Fifth Circuit in Adar —compels the conclusion that the public policy of a forum state is never completely removed from the full faith and credit equation.

The idea that one state, by the imposition of contrary public policy, can undercut the privileges conferred by another state is admittedly discomforting, but it is the lesser of two evils.

Without the public policy exception, full faith and credit could mandate outcomes that are unfathomable to the majority of Americans. Consider two scenarios proposed by Professor Whitten:. In other words, although the public policy exception can delay the spread of popular public policy, it can also forestall the spread of unpopular public policy.

The adoption decree in Adarwhich clearly implicates matters of controversial public policy, is the perfect example of a state record that should carry nationwide recognition but not necessarily nationwide enforcement. On the one hand, Louisiana should not be allowed to interfere with the legal rights conferred on Adar, Smith, and Infant J by the New York adoption decree.

Louisiana is obliged to respect the political and judicial discretion of the State of New York that Adar and Smith are fit parents, and that the best interest of Infant J is to be adopted by Adar and Smith.

On the other hand, the right to a birth certificate with the names of both legal parents is not a right that the State of Louisiana confers on all legal parents simply by virtue of their legal status. Because horizontal federalism depends on the freedom of each state to apply its own public policy to matters of enforcement, the most reasonable construction of the Full Faith and Credit Clause differentiates between recognition and enforcementand allows for the public policy exception to reach the entire spectrum of state records in regards to enforcement.

At first glance, the implications of the decision in Adar are bewildering. Assuming that unmarried adoptive parents want to protect the legal rights of both parents, they are forced out of state to adopt, and this necessitates an out-of-state adoption decree.

However, consider that Louisiana laws do not reach couples who steer clear of the state in adopting a child.

Article IV of the Constitution, the full faith and credit clause...?

This includes Louisiana couples, who can choose to adopt a baby from a state that permits unmarried couples to adopt and to apply for an amended birth certificate in that state, thereby avoiding Louisiana laws altogether.

Of course, this solution—or any other solution for that matter—will not imminently appease those who maintain that the State of Louisiana cannot posit any rational basis for a policy that discourages otherwise qualified unmarried couples from adopting. More relevant to the instant case, it seems equally unlikely that Louisiana can justify withholding a complete and accurate birth certificate from a child with unmarried adoptive parents, but not from a child with married adoptive parents or unmarried biological parents.

These are clearly good arguments, but they are just as clearly not full faith and credit arguments. Moreover, if the equal protection claim is framed correctly, it is difficult to imagine that Louisiana could advance a legitimate governmental interest for its differential treatment of Adar, Smith, and Infant J. In other words, Judge Wiener would have held marital status constant and looked instead at the differential treatment imposed on Adar and Smith as adoptive parents.

His reason for doing this was simple: The takeaway from this section is that Adar and Smith had a colorable equal protection claim against the State of Louisiana that should have been vetted by a trial court. The worthy pursuit of civil rights for nontraditional families depends on continued development of more substantive constitutional protections, such as due process and equal protection, as epitomized by several successful challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act DOMA.

See Letter from Eric H. Horizontal federalism is based on the assumption that separate sovereigns achieve great economic and social progress. And separate sovereigns are neither separate nor sovereign without the power to make and enforce their own domestic policies. The Full Faith and Credit Clause should fit within this context. But to do so, the Clause is in desperate need of judicial clarification. This Comment has argued that resolution of this conflict requires states to distinguish between a request for recognition and a request for enforcement of an out-of-state record: Instead, the public policy exception to the Clause, traditionally applied to legislative acts, also reaches state records.

The delicate balance between interstate respect and interstate overreaching—a balance achieved in part by the important but limited covenant of full faith and credit—requires that states remain free to abide by their own policies and procedures in deciding whether to enforce the laws and records of other states.

Baker and Jared Buszin.

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

Thank you to the Emory University School of Law Faculty Colloquium for inviting for me to present an earlier draft of this Comment and for asking several important questions that this final draft attempts to answer. Thank you to Professor Timothy Terrell, who provided guidance throughout the thinking and writing process, and who taught me that intellectual honesty requires, among other things, personal humility and emotional concessions.

Thank you to Professor Kay Levine, who provided invaluable feedback on multiple drafts, and more importantly, patiently rescued me from several crises of confidence. Thank you to my family and friends, who are unusually adept at feigning interest in full faith and credit, and who do not appear to love me any less for my peculiar obsession with it. Finally, thank you to the many remarkable people fighting hard for the legal and social equality of LGBT individuals and families. You are my heroes. Student Bar Association Student Organizations. Between Judgment and Law: Abstract Although the Full Faith and Credit Clause was intended to solidify the Union by requiring states to give appropriate respect to the official acts of other states, the application of the Clause has been controversial and analytically challenging.

The Landscape of Full Faith and Credit This Part illustrates the spectrum of government records that might be eligible for full faith and credit. It was the northern States that actively nullified federal law. They nullified The Fugitive Slave Act by ignoring the legislation, and refusing to abide by it. However, since The Fugitive Slave Act was constitutional, the nullification of the law by the northern States was unlawful, and unconstitutional.

Threatened by the fact that the northern States were ignoring constitutional law, the federal government was refusing to enforce the law, and anti-slave candidate Abraham Lincoln had won the presidential election without even being on the ballot in the South, eleven southern States withdrew from the union in If a new State is formed within the borders of an existing State, from a portion of an existing State, or by combining two States, then the State legislatures of all States affected must also get involved.

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This provision came into play is when West Virginia was formed from part of Virginia during the Civil War. The Virginia State legislature had to approve the formation of the new State of West Virginia before the new State could claim it was a separate sovereign State. In California, there has been a number of recommendations for breaking up the large State, from a suggestion of forming six States from the former Golden State, to thirteen counties that threatened to secede in as suggested by a local politician.

what does the phrase full faith and credit mean in the context of article 4 of the constitution

If any of these plans for new States out of the existing State of California had an opportunity to follow through with their threat, the approval process would still need to go through the existing California State Legislature. The loss of taxation, and representation in Congress, would probably convince the legislature to deny losing any portion of their State to the formation of a new State. Territories and Federal Property. Territories still enjoy a certain amount of autonomy, but ultimately, their governance falls under the authorities granted to Congress. Washington DC also falls under this clause, which means that Congress has authority over the functions of the city.

In reality, Washington DC was supposed to only be the seat of government, and was not supposed to contain any residencies. Many of the framers envisioned Washington DC as being a thriving commercial center. Border Security and Insurrection.

The Federal Government, according to the final clause of Article IV, must protect each State from invasion, which, in line with the Necessary and Proper clause of Article I, Section 8, is a firm directive to the federal government to keep the national borders secure so as to protect the States from foreign invasion.

If executive agencies fail to take the actions necessary to secure the border in order to protect the States from invasion, the militia can be called into service by either the Congress, or the governor of the State being invaded, in order to repel the invasion.

The Federal Government, in this clause, is also tasked with quelling domestic violence. The surrender of a person charged with a crime by one state or country to another state or country. Full Faith and Credit: In the context of the U. Full Faith and Credit also means: An unconditional commitment to pay interest and principal in debt, usually issued or guaranteed by the U. Treasury or another government entity. How does the Full Faith and Credit Clause protect the autonomy of the State, while protecting their unity?

The northern States believed the Fugitive Slave Act to be a bad law, even though it was Constitutional, and believed that they had a right to nullify it because they perceived it to be immoral. The Federal Government failed to enforce it, possibly for the same reasons.


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