Constitution of the United States/Art. IV/Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause

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Constitutional Law Treatise
Table of Contents
US Constitution.jpg
Constitutional Law Outline
Introduction
The Preamble
Article I Legislative Branch
Art. I, Section 1 Legislative Vesting Clause
Art. I, Section 2 House of Representatives
Art. I, Section 3 Senate
Art. I, Section 4 Congress
Art. I, Section 5 Proceedings
Art. I, Section 6 Rights and Disabilities
Art. I, Section 7 Legislation
Art. I, Section 8 Enumerated Powers
Art. I, Section 9 Powers Denied Congress
Art. I, Section 10 Powers Denied States
Article II Executive Branch
Art. II, Section 1 Function and Selection
Art. II, Section 2 Powers
Art. II, Section 3 Duties
Art. II, Section 4 Impeachment
Article III Judicial Branch
Art. III, Section 1 Vesting Clause
Art. III, Section 2 Justiciability
Art. III, Section 3 Treason
Article IV Relationships Between the States
Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause
Art. IV, Section 2 Interstate Comity
Art. IV, Section 3 New States and Federal Property
Art. IV, Section 4 Republican Form of Government
Article V Amending the Constitution
Article VI Supreme Law
Article VII Ratification
First Amendment: Fundamental Freedoms
Religion
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Free Speech Clause
Freedom of Association
Second Amendment: Right to Bear Arms
Third Amendment: Quartering Soldiers
Fourth Amendment: Searches and Seizures
Fifth Amendment: Rights of Persons
Sixth Amendment: Rights in Criminal Prosecutions
Seventh Amendment: Civil Trial Rights
Eighth Amendment: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Ninth Amendment: Unenumerated Rights
Tenth Amendment: Rights Reserved to the States and the People
Eleventh Amendment: Suits Against States
Twelfth Amendment: Election of President
Thirteenth Amendment: Abolition of Slavery
Thirteenth Amend., Section 1 Prohibition on Slavery and Involuntary Servitude
Thirteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Fourteenth Amendment: Equal Protection and Other Rights
Fourteenth Amend., Section 1 Rights
Fourteenth Amend., Section 2 Apportionment of Representation
Fourteenth Amend., Section 3 Disqualification from Holding Office
Fourteenth Amend., Section 4 Public Debt
Fourteenth Amend., Section 5 Enforcement
Fifteenth Amendment: Right of Citizens to Vote
Fifteenth Amend., Section 1 Right to Vote
Fifteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Sixteenth Amendment: Income Tax
Seventeenth Amendment: Popular Election of Senators
Eighteenth Amendment: Prohibition of Liquor
Eighteenth Amend., Section 1 Prohibition
Eighteenth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement of Prohibition
Eighteenth Amend., Section 3 Ratification Deadline
Nineteenth Amendment: Women's Suffrage
Twentieth Amendment: Presidential Term and Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 1 Terms
Twentieth Amend., Section 2 Meetings of Congress
Twentieth Amend., Section 3 Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 4 Congress and Presidential Succession
Twentieth Amend., Section 5 Effective Date
Twentieth Amend., Section 6 Ratification
Twenty-First Amendment: Repeal of Prohibition
Twenty-First Amend., Section 1 Repeal of Eighteenth Amendment
Twenty-First Amend., Section 2 Importation, Transportation, and Sale of Liquor
Twenty-First Amend., Section 3 Ratification Deadline
Twenty-Second Amendment: Presidential Term Limits
Twenty-Second Amend., Section 1 Limit
Twenty-Second Amend., Section 2 Ratification Deadline
Twenty-Third Amendment: District of Columbia Electors
Twenty-Third Amend., Section 1 Electors
Twenty-Third Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Fourth Amendment: Abolition of Poll Tax
Twenty-Fourth Amend., Section 1 Poll Tax
Twenty-Fourth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Presidential Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 1 Presidential Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 2 Vice President Vacancy
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 3 Declaration by President
Twenty-Fifth Amend., Section 4 Declaration by Vice President and Others
Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Reduction of Voting Age
Twenty-Sixth Amend., Section 1 Eighteen Years of Age
Twenty-Sixth Amend., Section 2 Enforcement
Twenty-Seventh Amendment: Congressional Compensation

Article IV Relationships Between the States

Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause

Clause 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 thereof.

Overview of Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

The Constitution's federalist structure allows each state to maintain its own government.[1] This structure creates a risk that multiple states will exercise their powers over the same issue or dispute, leading to confusion and uncertainty.[2] The Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause mitigates that risk by adjusting the states' interrelationships.[3] The Clause requires each state to give "Full Faith and Credit" to "the public Acts" of "every other State," such as other states' statutes.[4] The Clause also requires states to give "Full Faith and Credit" to the "Records[ ] and judicial Proceedings of every other State."[5]

The Supreme Court's interpretation of the Clause has shifted over time.[6] The Court has settled on a doctrinal framework that treats out-of-state court judgments differently from out-of-state laws.[7] Whereas the modern Court generally requires states to give out-of-state judgments conclusive effect, states have more freedom to apply their own laws in their own courts, so long as they do not close their courts completely to claims based on other states' laws.[8]

The Clause also authorizes Congress to enact "general Laws" that "prescribe the Manner in which [states'] Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof."[9] Congress has invoked this authority several times, such as to require federal and territorial courts to apply the same full faith and credit principles as state courts.[10] However, the Supreme Court has not yet considered where the outer boundaries of that power lie.[11]

Litigants frequently ask state judges to enforce judgments entered by other states' courts, such as judgments for monetary damages.[12] Those judges must decide whether to honor that judgment--and, if so, what legal effect the judgment will have. In addition, the Full Faith and Credit Clause requires states to recognize other states' "public Acts," such as statutes.[13] This language has raised questions regarding how state courts must treat other states' laws. Besides the question of which state's laws a court must apply when two statutes conflict, the Court has also considered whether a state court must entertain causes of action based on other states' laws. The Court has interpreted the Clause to require states to open their courts to claims based on other states' laws under various circumstances.[14]

Whereas the Full Faith and Credit Clause's first sentence mandates that "Full Faith and Credit . . . be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State," its second sentence authorizes Congress to "prescribe . . . the Effect" of "such Acts, Records, and Proceedings."[15] The relationship between these two sentences raises interpretive questions. Because the first sentence already requires states to give out-of-state acts and proceedings full faith and credit, the Framers' reasons for authorizing Congress to specify the effect of those acts and proceedings are unclear.[16] Nor is it clear whether the Clause's second sentence empowers Congress to enact legislation allowing states to refuse to give effect to particular categories of acts, records, and proceedings.[17] Congress has seldom invoked its legislative authority under the Clause and thus has rarely tested that power's potential limits.[18] As a result, the scope of Congress's powers under the Clause remains unsettled.[19]

Historical Background on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

Before the Constitution's ratification, English and colonial courts struggled with how to treat judgments from other sovereigns' courts.[20] While some courts held that judgments from other jurisdictions should have conclusive effect in other courts, others held that such judgments were only presumptively binding.[21] The Articles of Confederation attempted to address this uncertainty by providing that "[f]ull faith and credit shall be given in each of these states to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other state."[22] Nevertheless, it remained unclear whether the Articles of Confederation merely required courts to accept other states' records as evidence, or if it instead required courts to afford such records conclusive effect.[23]

When the Framers decided to include a full faith and credit provision in the Constitution, they debated whether and how it should differ from the Articles of Confederation. For instance, whereas the Articles only granted full faith and credit to the "records, acts, and judicial proceedings" of "courts and magistrates,"[24] the Framers decided to extend full faith and credit to legislative acts as well.[25]

The Framers also debated whether to empower Congress to pass legislation governing the authentication, execution, and effect of out-of-state acts.[26] While some Framers advocated giving such acts, records, and proceedings binding effect as an unalterable constitutional command,[27] others supported letting Congress prescribe the effect that acts, records, and proceedings would have in other states.[28] The Framers ultimately chose the latter option.[29] The Framers also debated the scope of Congress's power to pass such laws. Some Framers proposed to authorize Congress to determine the effect of out-of-state judgments only, fearing that allowing Congress to prescribe the effect of out-of-state statutes would usurp states' authority.[30] Others argued that unless Congress could prescribe the effect of other states' nonjudicial acts, the Full Faith and Credit Clause would have no meaningful effect.[31] Over several dissenting votes, the Framers authorized Congress to prescribe the effect of states' legislative acts as well as states' judgments.[32]

The Framers also considered whether to require Congress to legislate regarding the authentication and effect of states' acts, records, and proceedings, or whether to merely allow Congress to pass such laws.[33] The Framers ultimately selected the latter option, though the Convention records do not explicitly specify why the Framers did so.[34]

Finally, the Framers deliberated whether to require states to give full faith and credit to other states' acts, records, and proceedings versus encouraging states to do so.[35] The Framers ultimately selected the former option.[36] The Convention records do not reveal why the Framers made that choice, and scholars have debated whether the Framers intended that choice to have any substantive effect.[37]

The Full Faith and Credit Clause provoked little to no opposition or discussion during the ratification debates.[38] In the Federalist Papers, James Madison described the Clause's grant of congressional authority to legislate regarding out-of-state acts, records, and judicial proceedings' authentication and effect as "an evident and valuable improvement on" the Articles of Confederation's full faith and credit provision.[39] Madison thus maintained that Congress's authority under the Clause would amount to "a very convenient instrument of justice" that would "be particularly beneficial on the borders of contiguous States."[40]

Judicial Proceedings[edit | edit source]

Early Precedent on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

After the Full Faith and Credit Clause's ratification, jurists debated whether states only needed to accept out-of-state judgments as evidence in judicial proceedings, or if they needed to give out-of-state judgments conclusive effect instead.[41] The Supreme Court reached the latter conclusion in Mills v. Duryee, holding that states ordinarily cannot reexamine an out-of-state judgment's merits.[42] The Court reasoned that if "judgments of the state Courts" were "considered prima facie evidence only," the Full Faith and Credit Clause "would be utterly unimportant and illusory," as "[t]he common law would give such judgments precisely the same effect."[43]

The legal basis for the Mills Court's ruling was not self-evident. As another chapter of this treatise explains, the First Congress passed a statute requiring "every court within the United States" to give "faith and credit" to properly authenticated judicial records and proceedings.[44] It is unclear whether the Mills Court meant that the Constitution itself requires state courts to give conclusive effect to out-of-state judgments, or that the full faith and credit statute mandated that result instead.[45] The answer to that question has significant practical consequences: If the Constitution itself requires states to give out-of-state judgments conclusive effect, then Congress may lack the power to modify that rule legislatively.[46] Although Mills contains language supporting either interpretation,[47] the Court apparently construed Mills as an interpretation of the full faith and credit statute from 1813 to 1887.[48]

The early Court nonetheless recognized limited circumstances in which states could disregard out-of-state judgments. In M'Elmoyle v. Cohen, the Court held that a state need not enforce another state's judgment if the first state's statute of limitations has expired.[49] In D'Arcy v. Ketchum, the Court ruled that if a state court renders a judgment against a defendant whom the plaintiff did not properly serve with process, other states need not give that judgment full faith and credit.[50] And in Thompson v. Whitman, the Court held that a state need not honor an out-of-state judgment from a court that lacked jurisdiction to issue it.[51]

Modern Doctrine on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

The Supreme Court reinterpreted the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Chicago & Alton Railroad v. Wiggins Ferry Co., in which the Court indicated that the Clause itself, not just the statute Congress passed to implement the Clause, compelled its holding in Mills requiring states to give out-of-state judgments conclusive effect.[52] Cases following Chicago & Alton Railroad similarly characterized the Clause itself as imposing this requirement, often without mentioning the full faith and credit statute.[53] The Court did not explain why it reconceptualized Mills's holding as a constitutional command rather than a legislative mandate.[54]

Thus, under the Court's current interpretation of the Clause, courts ordinarily must give an out-of-state judgment the same effect it would have in the state that issued it.[55] A court may not disregard an out-of-state judgment merely "because it disagrees with the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits"; the Clause "precludes any inquiry into the merits of the cause of action, the logic or consistency of the decision, or the validity of the legal principles on which the judgment is based."[56] Nor may state courts decline to enforce other states' judgments for public policy reasons.[57]

Still, the modern Court recognizes limited circumstances in which a state may refuse to enforce an out-of-state judgment.[58] For example, a state need not honor a judgment if the rendering court lacked jurisdiction to enter it.[59] A court's power to scrutinize another court's jurisdiction is limited, however.[60] The court must ordinarily presume that the issuing court had jurisdiction unless the judicial record or other evidence reveals a jurisdictional defect.[61] If the parties in the first action litigated whether the rendering court had jurisdiction, and the first court answered that question affirmatively, the second court must accept that conclusion.[62]

Because the Full Faith and Credit Clause ordinarily requires states to give out-of-state judgments the same effect as the states that issued them,[63] whether a judgment has conclusive effect depends on whether the issuing court would regard the judgment as "final." While some states hold that a judgment is final for full faith and credit purposes even when it is pending on appeal, other states hold that a judgment is not final until the appellate process has concluded.[64]

State Public Acts and Records[edit | edit source]

Early Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

While the Supreme Court considered the Full Faith and Credit Clause's applicability to public acts several times during the early twentieth century,[65] its opinion in Bradford Electric Light Co. v. Clapper proved especially significant.[66] In Clapper, a Vermont resident who worked for a Vermont company died while working in New Hampshire.[67] His widow sued his employer in a New Hampshire court under New Hampshire's employers' liability statute.[68] The employer argued that the Full Faith and Credit Clause required the New Hampshire court to apply Vermont's worker's compensation law.[69] The Supreme Court explained that the Clause leaves "room for some play of conflicting policies," and "does not require the enforcement of every right conferred by a statute of another state."[70] The Court thus indicated that courts should balance each state's interests when determining which of two competing state statutes to apply.[71] Because Vermont had stronger interests in the dispute than New Hampshire, the Court ruled that Vermont law applied.[72]

The Supreme Court refined Clapper's balancing approach in Alaska Packers Ass'n v. Industrial Accident Commission of California.[73] In that case, a California company executed an employment contract in California with a nonresident alien from Mexico.[74] The contract provided that the company would transport the worker to Alaska to perform seasonal work, and then return him to California to be paid.[75] The parties agreed in their contract to be bound by Alaska's worker's compensation law in the event the worker was injured.[76] After the worker was injured in Alaska, California's Industrial Accident Commission awarded him compensation under California's worker's compensation statute.[77] The employer argued that, by applying California law, the Commission had denied Alaska law full faith and credit.[78] Noting that requiring courts to apply other states' statutes whenever they conflict with the home state's laws would produce the "absurd result" that no state could apply its own laws in its own courts, the Alaska Packers Court rejected the employer's argument.[79] Although the Court reaffirmed Clapper's holding that courts should balance states' competing interests when deciding which of two states' laws to apply, it added a new presumption in favor of states applying their own laws.[80] Reasoning that California had a strong interest in providing a remedy for injured workers within its borders,[81] the Court let California apply its own laws to the dispute.[82]

That same year, the Court considered whether the Clause required states to entertain causes of action based on other states' laws. In Broderick v. Rosner, New York's Superintendent of Banks sued various stockholders in New Jersey under New York's shareholder liability statute.[83] The New Jersey courts ruled that the Superintendent could not maintain a lawsuit in New Jersey based on another state's shareholder liability laws.[84] The Supreme Court held that the Full Faith and Credit Clause required the New Jersey courts to entertain the suit.[85] The Court reasoned that permitting states to deny jurisdiction to hear cases based on other states' laws would allow states to "escape [their] constitutional obligations" to give other states' public acts full faith and credit.[86]

The Court again considered the Clause's application to out-of-state statutes in John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. v. Yates.[87] In Yates, a man bought a life insurance contract in New York, where he resided with his wife.[88] After he died, his widow moved to Georgia and sued to enforce the insurance policy in a Georgia court.[89] The Georgia courts refused to apply a New York law that gave the insurance company a meritorious defense to the widow's claim.[90] The Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia courts needed to give the New York law full faith and credit.[91] Notably, the Court did not mention or apply Alaska Packers' holding that courts must balance states' competing interests when deciding whether to apply another state's statute.[92] Instead, the Court reasoned that the case presented "no occurrence, nothing done, to which the law of Georgia could apply" because "[t]he contract of insurance was made, and the death of the insured occurred in," New York.[93]

Modern Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

The Court reinterpreted the Full Faith and Credit Clause in Pacific Employers Insurance Co. v. Industrial Accident Commission.[94] In that case, a Massachusetts resident was injured while working for a Massachusetts company in California.[95] The California Industrial Accident Commission awarded the employee compensation under California's worker's compensation law.[96] The employer's insurer challenged the award, claiming that California violated the Clause by applying its own law instead of Massachusetts'.[97] The Pacific Employers Court opined that "the very nature of the federal union of states, to which are reserved some of the attributes of sovereignty, precludes resort to the full faith and credit clause as the means for compelling 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."[98] Quoting Alaska Packers, the Court explained that rigidly requiring states to apply other states' statutes in the event of a conflict would create "the absurd result" that a state's laws would apply in other states' courts, but not its own courts.[99] However, unlike in Clapper and Alaska Packers, the Court did not balance the states' competing interests to determine which law applied.[100] Instead, the Court declared that the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not "enable one state to legislate for the other or to project its laws across state lines so as to preclude the other from prescribing for itself the legal consequences of acts within it."[101] The Court thus upheld the California award.[102]

Since Pacific Employers, the Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that courts should no longer balance states' interests when evaluating whether to apply another state's laws.[103] The Court has stated that it abandoned the interest-balancing approach because there are no clear standards for assessing which state's interest is weightier in a particular case.[104] Thus, subject to the exceptions discussed below, "a State need not 'substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.'"[105] For instance, the Court ruled in Sun Oil Co. v. Wortman that a state may apply its own statute of limitations to claims governed by another state's laws, because states are "competent to legislate" procedural rules to govern suits in their own courts.[106]

Nonetheless, the Court has recognized limits on a state's discretion to apply its own law. For example, in Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt (Franchise Tax Board II), a Nevada court awarded damages against a California agency that exceeded the damages Nevada would award in a similar suit against its own agencies.[107] The Court explained that the Full Faith and Credit Clause forbids states from applying "a special rule of law that evinces a 'policy of hostility'" towards other states.[108] Because the Nevada court did not "appl[y] the principles of Nevada law ordinarily applicable to suits against Nevada's own agencies," but instead "applied a special rule of law applicable only in lawsuits against its sister States, such as California," the Supreme Court held that the Nevada court's decision "reflect[ed] a constitutionally impermissible 'policy of hostility'" toward other states and thus violated the Clause.[109] While the Court suggested that policy considerations might "justify the application of a special rule of Nevada law that discriminate[d] against its sister States" in a different case, Nevada had not offered "sufficient policy considerations" in Franchise Tax Board II.[110]

Nor may states close their courts to claims based on other states' laws. For instance, in Hughes v. Fetter, a Wisconsin resident died in an automobile collision with another Wisconsin resident that occurred in Illinois.[111] The decedent's administrator--who was also a Wisconsin resident--sued the other driver and his insurer in a Wisconsin state court, asserting claims based on Illinois' wrongful death statute.[112] The Wisconsin court ruled that Wisconsin's wrongful death statute--which only provided a cause of action for deaths occurring in Wisconsin--established a public policy barring Wisconsin courts from hearing lawsuits based on other states' wrongful death laws.[113] Building on its earlier decision in Broderick v. Rosner,[114] the Supreme Court reversed, holding that Wisconsin violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause by refusing to hear the administrator's claim.[115] The Court emphasized that Wisconsin had not merely opted to apply its own wrongful death statute to the plaintiff's claims, which likely would be permissible.[116] Rather, Wisconsin had wholly "close[d] the doors of its courts to the cause of action created by the Illinois wrongful death act."[117] By doing so, Wisconsin contravened "the strong unifying principle embodied in the Full Faith and Credit Clause looking toward maximum enforcement in each state of the obligations or rights created or recognized by the statutes of sister states."[118]

Congressional Enforcement[edit | edit source]

Generally Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

Congress first invoked the Clause in 1790 to pass legislation establishing methods for authenticating other states' acts, records, and proceedings.[119] The 1790 Act provided that if a litigant duly authenticated a judicial record or proceeding, then "every court within the United States" would have to grant that record or proceeding the same "faith and credit" as it would "have by law or usage in the courts of the state from whence the said records" were taken.[120] By applying this command to "every court within the United States," Congress required federal courts to give state judgments full faith and credit, even though the Full Faith and Credit Clause only applies to states.[121] The 1790 Act, however, only purported to grant "faith and credit" to "records and judicial proceedings;" it did not list legislative acts among the legal documents entitled to full faith and credit.[122]

Congress amended the 1790 Act in 1804.[123] The 1804 Act added provisions governing the authentication and effect of "records and exemplifications of office books, which are or may be kept in any public office of any state, not appertaining to a court."[124] Additionally, whereas the 1790 Act only applied to state acts, records, and proceedings, the 1804 Act expanded the statute to also apply to U.S. territories' acts, records, and proceedings.[125] However, like the 1790 Act, the 1804 Act did not explicitly require states to give faith and credit to other states' legislative acts.[126]

The full faith and credit statute remained essentially unchanged until 1948, when Congress enacted the current Full Faith and Credit Act.[127] Like its predecessors, the Full Faith and Credit Act prescribes methods by which one may authenticate an act, record, or proceeding of a state, territory, or possession.[128] But unlike its predecessors, the Full Faith and Credit Act requires state and territorial courts to give "full faith and credit" not only to other jurisdictions' judicial records and proceedings, but also to legislative acts.[129] The Act's legislative history suggests that Congress did not intend that change to alter the Supreme Court's prevailing rule that states generally may apply their own laws in their own courts.[130] Read literally, however, the Act's text suggests that courts must give other states' laws conclusive effect, which would modify that rule substantially.[131] The Supreme Court has not adopted that literal interpretation of the Act, however.[132]

Congress has not amended the Full Faith and Credit Act since 1948.[133] Thus, under current law, "all courts" in the United States--including federal courts--must "treat a state court judgment with the same respect that it would receive in the courts of the rendering state."[134] Thus, the Act ordinarily precludes parties from relitigating issues that other courts have adjudicated.[135]

Specifically Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause[edit | edit source]

Congress has also passed full faith and credit statutes governing specific categories of acts, records, and proceedings.[136] For example, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) extends full faith and credit to child custody determinations.[137] Section 40221(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 requires states to give certain out-of-state protection orders full faith and credit.[138] And the Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act governs the enforcement of out-of-state child support orders.[139]

Notably, each of these statutes requires states to give full faith and credit to particular acts, records, or proceedings. Congress has rarely enacted legislation purporting to allow states to not honor out-of-state acts or judgments.[140] For instance, Section 2(a) of the Defense of Marriage Act provided that "no State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe" would "be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."[141] Scholars debated whether the Full Faith and Credit Clause authorized Congress to allow states to disregard out-of-state marriages in this fashion.[142] The Supreme Court mooted this debate when it held in Obergefell v. Hodges "that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character."[143] Because the Obergefell Court based its ruling on the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court left questions regarding Congress's power under the Full Faith and Credit Clause unanswered.[144] Thus, the boundaries of Congress's authority to prescribe the effect of state acts, records, and proceedings under the Clause remain unsettled.[145]

  1. See Introduction: Federalism and the Constitution. See also, e.g., Underwriters Nat'l Assurance Co. v. N.C. Life & Accident & Health Ins. Guar. Ass'n, 455 U.S. 691, 703-04 (1982) ("Ours is a union of States, each having its own judicial system capable of adjudicating the rights and responsibilities of the parties brought before it.").
  2. See, e.g., Underwriters Nat'l Assurance, 455 U.S. at 704 ("[T]here is always a risk that two or more States will exercise their power over the same case or controversy, with the uncertainty, confusion, and delay that necessarily accompany relitigation of the same issue.").
  3. See, e.g., V.L. v. E.L., 577 U.S. 404, 407 (2016) (per curiam) (explaining that the Full Faith and Credit Clause "alter[s] the status of the several states as independent foreign sovereignties, each free to ignore obligations created under the laws or by the judicial proceedings of the others, and to make them integral parts of a single nation") (quoting Milwaukee Cnty. v. M.E. White Co., 296 U.S. 268, 277 (1935)).
  4. Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause. See also, e.g., Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, No. 14-1175, slip op. at 4 (U.S. Apr. 19, 2016) ("A statute is a 'public Act' within the meaning of the Full Faith and Credit Clause.").
  5. Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  6. See generally Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  7. See, e.g., Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 494 (2003) ("[O]ur precedent differentiates the credit owed to laws (legislative measures and common law) and to judgments.") (quoting Baker v. Gen. Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 232 (1998)).
  8. See, e.g., id. ("Whereas the full faith and credit command 'is exacting' with respect to '[a] final judgment . . . rendered by a court with adjudicatory authority over the subject matter and persons governed by the judgment,' 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.'") (internal citations omitted; alterations in original). Compare Art. IV, Sec. 1: Early Precedent on Full Faith and Credit Clause and Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on Full Faith and Credit Clause, with Art. IV, Sec. 1: Early Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause and Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  9. Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  10. See generally Art. IV, Sec. 1: Generally Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause to Art. IV, Sec. 1: Specifically Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  11. See generally Art. IV, Sec. 1: Generally Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause to Art. IV, Sec. 1: Specifically Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  12. See, e.g., 18B Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Edward H. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure § 4467 (5th ed. 2019) (describing "enforcement of money judgments" as "[t]he most familiar application" of full faith and credit principles).
  13. Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause. See also Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, No. 14-1175, slip op. at 4 (U.S. Apr. 19, 2016) ("A statute is a 'public Act' within the meaning of the Full Faith and Credit Clause.").
  14. See Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  15. Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  16. See, e.g., Jeffrey M. Schmitt, A Historical Reassessment of Full Faith and Credit, 20 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 485, 485 (2013) ("The Constitution commands that 'Full Faith and Credit shall be given' to state acts, records, and judgments. Although this clause appears to create a self-executing constitutional directive, the very next sentence provides that Congress 'may' prescribe the manner in which state acts and judgments 'shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.' Paradoxically, the Full Faith and Credit Clause thus arguably seems to give Congress the power to nullify the command that full faith and credit be given. Any plausible interpretation of the Clause must reconcile this apparent conflict.") (footnotes omitted).
  17. See, e.g., Charles M. Yablon, Madison's Full Faith and Credit Clause: A Historical Analysis, 33 Cardozo L. Rev. 125, 126 (2011) ("The apparent inconsistency in the language of the Full Faith and Credit Clause becomes a concrete legal issue . . . if Congress chooses to pass a law that appears to violate the mandate of the first sentence of the Clause.").
  18. See Larry Kramer, Same-Sex Marriage, Conflict of Laws, and the Unconstitutional Public Policy Exception, 106 Yale L.J. 1965, 2005 (1997) (describing Congress's power under the Clause's second sentence as "untested and practically unexercised").
  19. See, e.g., Jeffrey M. Schmitt, A Historical Reassessment of Full Faith and Credit, 20 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 485, 485 (2013) ("[T]he Court has not yet ruled on the second portion of the Clause--that is, it has not addressed the contours of Congress's full faith and credit power.").
  20. See, e.g., Thompson v. Whitman, 85 U.S. (8 Wall.) 457, 465 (1873) (describing "the uncertainty and confusion that prevailed in England and this country as to the credit and effect which should be given to foreign judgments, some courts holding that they should be [c]onclusive of the matters adjudged, and others that they should be regarded as only prima facie binding"); M'Elmoyle v. Cohen, 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 312, 325 (1839) ("[W]e need not doubt what the framers of the Constitution intended to accomplish by [the Full Faith and Credit Clause], if we reflect how unsettled the doctrine was upon the effect of foreign judgments, or the effect, rei judicatae, throughout Europe, in England, and in these States, when our first confederation was formed.").
  21. Thompson, 85 U.S. (8 Wall.) at 465.
  22. Articles of Confederation, art. IV, § 3.
  23. See, e.g., Stephen E. Sachs, Full Faith and Credit in the Early Congress, 95 Va. L. Rev. 1201, 1224-25 (2009) ("The divergence between 'authentication' and 'effect' interpretations of the [Articles of] Confederation's [Full Faith and Credit] Clause soon appeared in contemporary state court decisions."); Ralph U. Whitten, The Original Understanding of the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Defense of Marriage Act, 32 Creighton L. Rev. 255, 282-88 (1998) (analyzing the "five reported decisions interpreting the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Articles of Confederation" and concluding that "[t]he debate in the cases interpreting the Articles of Confederation Clause concerned whether the language of the Clause should be given an evidentiary meaning or should be understood as elevating state judgments to the status of domestic judgments in other states"). See also The Federalist No. 42 (James Madison) (describing the Articles of Confederation's full faith and credit provision as "extremely indeterminate"); Charles M. Yablon, Madison's Full Faith and Credit Clause: A Historical Analysis, 33 Cardozo L. Rev. 125, 140 (2011) (maintaining that "the faith and credit clause in the Articles of Confederation had no clear and determinate meaning").
  24. Articles of Confederation, art. IV, § 3 (emphasis added).
  25. Compare 2 The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, at 188 (Max Farrand ed., 1911) [hereinafter Farrand's Records] (Committee of Detail draft proposing that "[f]ull faith shall be given in each State to the acts of the Legislatures, and to the records and judicial proceedings of the Courts and Magistrates of every other State") (emphasis added), with id. at 447 (reflecting that Hugh Williamson "moved to substitute in place of" the Committee of Detail's full faith and credit provision "the words of the Articles of Confederation on the same subject" because "[h]e did (not) understand precisely the meaning of the article"). See also id. (noting that James Wilson and William Samuel Johnson "supposed the meaning" of the Committee of Detail's provision "to be that Judgments in one State should be the ground of actions in other States, [and] that acts of the Legislatures should be included, for the sake of Acts of insolvency"). See also Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause ("Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.") (emphasis added).
  26. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 448.
  27. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 448 ("Mr. Randolph said there was no instance of one nation executing judgments of the Courts of another nation. He moved the following proposition. 'Whenever the Act of any State, whether Legislative Executive or Judiciary shall be attested & exemplified under the seal thereof, such attestation and exemplification, shall be deemed in other States as full proof of the existence of that act--and its operation shall be binding in every other State, in all cases to which it may relate, and which are within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the State, wherein the said act was done.'").
  28. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 448 (noting that James Madison "wished the [federal] Legislature might be authorized to provide for the execution of Judgments in other States, under such regulations as might be expedient"); 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 448 (Gouverneur Morris's proposal to require Congress to "determine the proof and effect" of out-of-state "acts, records, and proceedings").
  29. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 601; Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause ("[T]he Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.").
  30. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 485 (September 1, 1787 draft providing that "the Legislature shall by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, Records, & proceedings shall be proved, and the effect which Judgments obtained in one State, shall have in another") (emphasis added); 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 488-89 ("Mr. Randolph considered it as strengthening the general objection agst. the plan, that its definition of the powers of the Government was so loose as to give it opportunities of usurping all the State powers. He was for not going farther than the Report, which enables the Legislature to provide for the effect of Judgments.").
  31. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 488 ("Mr. Wilson remarked, that if the Legislature were not allowed to declare the effect the provision would amount to nothing more than what now takes place among all Independent Nations.").
  32. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 488 ("Mr. Govr. Morris moved to amend the Report concerning the respect to be paid to Acts Records &c of one State, in other States (see Sepr. 1.) by striking out 'judgments obtained in one State shall have in another' and to insert the word 'thereof' after the word 'effect[.]'"); 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 489 ("On the amendment as moved by Mr[.] Govr. Morris[:] Mas. ay. Ct ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Md. no. Va no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. no. [Ayes--6; noes--3.]"). See also 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 488 ("Docr. Johnson thought the amendment as worded would authorize the Genl. Legislature to declare the effect of Legislative acts of one State, in another State.").
  33. Compare 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 485 ("[T]he Legislature shall by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, Records, & proceedings shall be proved . . .") (emphasis added), with 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 489 (James Madison's motion to replace "shall" with "may.").
  34. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 489 ("On motion of Mr. Madison . . . 'shall' between 'Legislature' & 'by general laws' [was] struck out, and 'may' inserted. . . ."); Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause ("[T]he Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.") (emphasis added). But see David E. Engdahl, The Classic Rule of Faith and Credit, 118 Yale L.J. 1584, 1626-27 (2009) (suggesting that James Madison proposed this change to address Edmund Randolph's concern that the Full Faith and Credit Clause gave Congress too much power).
  35. Compare 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 485 (draft providing that "Full faith and credit ought to be given in each State to the public acts, records, and Judicial proceedings of every other State. . . .") (emphasis added), with 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 489 (James Madison's motion to replace "ought to" with "shall").
  36. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 489 ("On motion of Mr. Madison, 'ought to' was struck out, and 'shall' inserted. . . ."); Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause ("Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.") (emphasis added).
  37. See 2 Farrand's Records, supra note here, at 489.
  38. See, e.g., James D. Sumner, Jr., The Full-Faith-and-Credit Clause--Its History and Purpose, 34 Or. L. Rev. 224, 235 (1955) ("Little attention was given the full-faith-and-credit provision before and during ratification . . . It is interesting to note that not a single debate arose on this provision of the Constitution in the ratifying conventions of the various states."); Max Radin, The Authenticated Full Faith and Credit Clause: Its History, 39 Ill. L. Rev. 1, 9 (1944) ("There is almost no reference to [the Full Faith and Credit Clause] in the debates in the various states on adopting the Constitution.").
  39. The Federalist No. 42 (James Madison).
  40. Id.
  41. See Stephen E. Sachs, Full Faith and Credit in the Early Congress, 95 Va. L. Rev. 1201, 1232 (2009).
  42. 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 481, 484 (1813) ("Congress ha[s] therefore declared the effect of the record by declaring what faith and credit shall be given to it."); id. ("[I]t is beyond all doubt that the judgment of the Supreme Court of New York was conclusive upon the parties in that state. It must, therefore, be conclusive here also."). See also Christmas v. Russell, 72 U.S. (5 Wall.) 290, 302-03 & n.14 (1866) (interpreting Mills as holding that a judicial record, "when duly authenticated, shall have in every other court of the United States the same faith and credit as it has in the State court from whence it was taken," and that "it is not competent for any other State to authorize its courts to open the merits and review the cause").
  43. 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) at 485. See also Hampton v. M'Connel, 16 U.S. (3 Wheat.) 234, 235 (1818) (explaining that Mills held "that the judgment of a state court should have the same credit, validity and effect, in every other court of the United States, which it had in the state where it was pronounced").
  44. See Act of May 26, 1790, ch. 11, 1 Stat. 122. See also Art. IV, Sec. 1: Generally Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  45. See Jeffrey M. Schmitt, A Historical Reassessment of Full Faith and Credit, 20 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 485, 521 (2013) ("While Mills holds that conclusive effect must be given to state judgments, it is unclear whether this holding was derived from the 1790 Act, the Constitution, or both.") (footnotes omitted).
  46. See David E. Engdahl, The Classic Rule of Faith and Credit, 118 Yale L.J. 1584, 1590 (2009) (arguing that the Supreme Court's later decision to cast Mills's holding "as constitutional rather than statutory in origin entirely changed the perceived allocation of power between the legislative and judicial branches"). See also Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on Full Faith and Credit Clause and Art. IV, Sec. 1: Specifically Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause.
  47. Compare 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) at 484 ("The act declares that the record duly authenticated shall have such faith and credit as it has in the state Court from whence it is taken . . . Congress ha[s] therefore declared the effect of the record by declaring what faith and credit shall be given to it.") (first and second emphases added), and id. at 485 ("[T]he [C]onstitution contemplated a power in [C]ongress to give a conclusive effect to such judgments. And we can perceive no rational interpretation of the [A]ct of [C]ongress, unless it declares a judgment conclusive when a Court of the particular state where it is rendered would pronounce the same decision.") (emphases added), with id. ("Were the construction contended for by the Plaintiff in error to prevail, . . . this clause in the constitution would be utterly unimportant and illusory.") (emphasis added), and Schmitt, supra note here, at 512 n.155 ("[I]f Justice Story were referring only to the 1790 Act [in Mills], he would have said that such a construction would render the Act, rather than the Constitution, illusory.").
  48. See, e.g., D'Arcy v. Ketchum, 52 U.S. (11 How.) 165, 175-76 (1850) (suggesting that Mills involved the "construction of the act of 1790") (emphasis added); Christmas, 72 U.S. (5 Wall.) at 302 (stating that Mills involved "the construction of th[e] act of Congress") (emphasis added); Thompson v. Whitman, 85 U.S. (18 Wall.) 457, 462 (1873) ("The court in [Mills] held that the act gave to the judgments of each State the same conclusive effect, as records, in all the States, as they had at home . . .") (emphasis added). But see Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on Full Faith and Credit Clause (explaining how the Court's interpretation of Mills shifted in 1887).
  49. See 38 U.S. (13 Pet.) 312, 328 (1839) ("[T]he statute of limitations of Georgia can be pleaded to an action in that state, founded upon a judgment rendered in the state of South Carolina.").
  50. 52 U.S. at 165-68, 172-76. See also Lafayette Ins. Co. v. French, 59 U.S. (18 How.) 404, 406 (1855) ("[W]henever an action is brought in one State on a judgment recovered in another, it is not enough to show it to be valid in the State where it was rendered; it must also appear that the defendant was either personally within the jurisdiction of the State, or had legal notice of the suit . . .").
  51. 85 U.S. (18 Wall.) at 469 (holding that "the jurisdiction of the court by which a judgment is rendered in any State may be questioned in a collateral proceeding in another State, notwithstanding the" Full Faith and Credit Clause).
  52. See 119 U.S. 615, 622 (1887) ("Without doubt the constitutional requirement (article 4, § 1) that 'full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state,' implies that the public acts of every state shall be given the same effect by the courts of another state that they have by law and usage at home. This is clearly the logical result of the principles announced as early as 1813, in Mills v. Duryee, . . . and steadily adhered to ever since.") (emphasis added).
  53. See, e.g., Harris v. Balk, 198 U.S. 215, 221 (1905) ("The state court of North Carolina has refused to give any effect in this action to the Maryland judgment; and the Federal question is whether it did not thereby refuse the full faith and credit to such judgment which is required by the Federal Constitution. If the Maryland court had jurisdiction to award it, the judgment is valid and entitled to the same full faith and credit in North Carolina that it has in Maryland as a valid domestic judgment.") (emphasis added); Clarke v. Clarke, 178 U.S. 186, 195 (1900) (discussing "the constitutional requirement that full faith and credit must be given in one state to the judgments and decrees of the courts of another state") (emphasis added). See also Ann Woolhandler & Michael G. Collins, Jurisdictional Discrimination and Full Faith and Credit, 63 Emory L.J. 1023, 1034 (2014) ("It was only in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that the Court began to indicate that the Constitution on its own might require the enforcement of sister-state judgments.").
  54. See Woolhandler & Collins, supra note here, at 1034 ("The Court provided no explanation for its move . . ."). See also Chi. & A. R., 119 U.S. at 622; Clarke, 178 U.S. at 195; Harris, 198 U.S. at 221.
  55. See, e.g., Thompson v. Thompson, 484 U.S. 174, 180 (1988) (holding that the Clause requires states "to accord the same force to judgments as would be accorded by the courts of the State in which the judgment was entered"); V.L. v. E.L., 577 U.S. 404, 407 (2016) (per curiam) ("With respect to judgments, 'the full faith and credit obligation is exacting.' . . . 'A final judgment in one State, if rendered by a court with adjudicatory authority over the subject matter and persons governed by the judgment, qualifies for recognition throughout the land.'") (quoting Baker v. Gen. Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 233 (1998)); Underwriters Nat'l Assurance Co. v. N.C. Life & Accident & Health Ins. Guar. Ass'n, 455 U.S. 691, 704 (1982) ("[T]he judgment of a state court should have the same credit, validity, and effect, in every other court of the United States, which it had in the state where it was pronounced.") (citation omitted).
  56. V.L., 577 U.S. at 407 (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457, 462 (1940)).
  57. See, e.g., Baker, 522 U.S. at 233 ("[O]ur decisions support no roving 'public policy exception' to the full faith and credit due judgments.") (emphasis omitted); Estin v. Estin, 334 U.S. 541, 546 (1948) (explaining that the Full Faith and Credit Clause "order[s] submission by one State even to hostile policies reflected in the judgment of another State").
  58. See, e.g., Nelson v. George, 399 U.S. 224, 229 (1970) ("[T]he Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require that sister States enforce a foreign penal judgment . . ."); Milwaukee Cnty. v. M.E. White Co., 296 U.S. 268, 276 (1935) (suggesting that courts need not honor a judgment "procured by fraud").
  59. See, e.g., V.L., 577 U.S. at 407 ("A State is not required, however, to afford full faith and credit to a judgment rendered by a court that 'did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter or the relevant parties.'") (quoting Underwriters Nat'l Assurance, 455 U.S. at 705); Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U.S. 797, 805 (1985) ("[A] judgment issued without proper personal jurisdiction over an absent party is not entitled to full faith and credit elsewhere . . .").
  60. See, e.g., V.L., 577 U.S. at 407 ("That jurisdictional inquiry, however, is a limited one.").
  61. Id. ("[I]f the judgment on its face appears to be a 'record of a court of general jurisdiction, such jurisdiction over the cause and the parties is to be presumed unless disproved by extrinsic evidence, or by the record itself.'") (quoting Milliken, 311 U.S. at 462).
  62. See Underwriters Nat'l Assurance, 455 U.S. at 706 ("[A] judgment is entitled to full faith and credit--even as to questions of jurisdiction--when the second court's inquiry discloses that those questions have been fully and fairly litigated and finally decided in the court which rendered the original judgment.") (quoting Durfee v. Duke, 375 U.S. 106, 111 (1963)).
  63. See supra note here and accompanying text.
  64. Compare, e.g., Brinker v. Superior Ct., 1 Cal. Rptr. 2d 358, 360 (Cal. Ct. App. 1991) ("Under New Jersey law, a judgment is 'final' for res judicata purposes, even though it is pending on appeal. Accordingly, the New Jersey judgment . . . was entitled to full faith and credit.") (internal citations omitted), with, e.g., Andre v. Morrow, 680 P.2d 1355, 1362 (Idaho 1984) ("The second main element for recognition under principles of full faith and credit is a final judgment. Under the law of California, 'a judgment does not become final so long as the action in which it is rendered is pending . . . and an action is deemed pending until it is finally determined on appeal or until the time for an appeal has passed.'") (ellipses in original) (quoting Pac. Gas & Elec. Co. v. Nakano, 87 P.2d 700, 702 (Cal. 1939)).
  65. See, e.g., Supreme Council of the Royal Arcanum v. Green, 237 U.S. 531, 544 (1915) (concluding that a New York court violated the Full Faith and Credit Clause by failing to give Massachusetts law "controlling effect"); N.Y. Life Ins. Co. v. Head, 234 U.S. 149, 161 (1914) (asserting that a "foundation[al]" principle of the Full Faith and Credit Clause is that one state may not enact statutes that "operate beyond the jurisdiction of that State" to "destroy freedom of contract" in another state); Converse v. Hamilton, 224 U.S. 243, 261 (1912) (holding that "the laws of Minnesota . . . were not accorded that faith and credit to which they were entitled under the Constitution and laws of the United States"); Olmsted v. Olmsted, 216 U.S. 386, 395 (1910) (concluding that the Full Faith and Credit Clause did not "requir[e] the courts of the state of New York to give force and effect to the statute of the state of Michigan, so as to control the devolution of title to lands in New York").
  66. See 286 U.S. 145 (1932), overruled in part by Crider v. Zurich Ins. Co., 380 U.S. 39 (1965).
  67. Id. at 151.
  68. Id. at 150.
  69. See id. at 151, 159.
  70. See id. at 160.
  71. See id. at 159-62. See also Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 495 (2003) (explaining that Clapper held that courts should "appraise[ ] and balance[ ] state interests when invoking the Full Faith and Credit Clause to resolve conflicts between overlapping laws of coordinate States").
  72. See 286 U.S. at 161-63 ("[T]he mere fact that the Vermont legislation does not conform to that of New Hampshire does not establish that it would be obnoxious to the latter's public policy to give effect to the Vermont statute in cases involving only the rights of residents of that state incident to the relation of employer and employee created there. . . . The interest of New Hampshire was only casual. Leon Clapper was not a resident there. He was not continuously employed there. So far as it appears, he had no dependent there. It is difficult to see how the state's interest would be subserved, under such circumstances, by burdening its courts with this litigation. . . . [T]he rights as between the company and Leon Clapper or his representative are to be determined according to the Vermont act.").
  73. 294 U.S. 532 (1935).
  74. Id. at 538, 542.
  75. Id. at 538.
  76. Id.
  77. See id. at 537-39.
  78. Id. at 539. Alaska was a territory rather than a state at this time, but the court assumed--and the parties conceded--that the federal full faith and credit statute made full faith and credit principles equally applicable to territorial laws. See id. at 546. See also Art. IV, Sec. 1: Generally Applicable Federal Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause (discussing this statute).
  79. See 294 U.S. at 547 ("A rigid and literal enforcement of the full faith and credit clause, without regard to the statute of the forum, would lead to the absurd result that, wherever the conflict arises, the statute of each state must be enforced in the courts of the other, but cannot be in its own. Unless by force of that clause a greater effect is thus to be given to a state statute abroad than the clause permits it to have at home, it is unavoidable that this Court determine for itself the extent to which the statute of one state may qualify or deny rights asserted under the statute of another.").
  80. See id. at 547-48 ("[T]he conflict is to be resolved, not by giving automatic effect to the full faith and credit clause, compelling the courts of each state to subordinate its own statutes to those of the other, but by appraising the governmental interests of each jurisdiction, and turning the scale of decision according to their weight. . . . Prima facie every state is entitled to enforce in its own courts its own statutes, lawfully enacted. One who challenges that right, because of the force given to a conflicting statute of another state by the full faith and credit clause, assumes the burden of showing, upon some rational basis, that of the conflicting interests involved those of the foreign state are superior to those of the forum."). See also J. Stephen Clark, Conflicts Originalism: The "Original Content" of the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Compulsory Choice of Marriage Law, 118 W. Va. L. Rev. 547, 553 (2015) (opining that Alaska Packers "weakened [Clapper's] balancing approach by adding a strong presumption that a forum state's choice to disregard sibling law and apply its own law is constitutional"); Crider v. Zurich Ins. Co., 380 U.S. 39, 40 (1965) (describing Alaska Packers as "mark[ing] a break with the Clapper philosophy").
  81. See 294 U.S. at 542-43 ("The probability is slight that injured workmen, once returned to California, would be able to retrace their steps to Alaska, and there successfully prosecute their claims for compensation. Without a remedy in California, they would be remediless, and there was a danger that they might become public charges, both matters of grave public concern to the state. California, therefore, had a legitimate public interest in . . . providing a remedy available to [the injured worker] in California.").
  82. See id. at 549-50 ("[California's] interest is sufficient to justify its legislation and is greater than that of Alaska, of which the employee was never a resident and to which he may never return. Nor should the fact that the employment was wholly to be performed in Alaska, although temporary in character, lead to any different result.").
  83. 294 U.S. 629, 637-38 (1935).
  84. See id. at 638-39.
  85. Id. at 647.
  86. See id. at 642-43 ("The power of a state to determine the limits of the jurisdiction of its courts and the character of controversies which shall be heard therein is subject to the limitations imposed by the Federal Constitution. . . . A 'State cannot escape its constitutional obligations (under the full faith and credit clause) by the simple device of denying jurisdiction in such cases to Courts otherwise competent.'") (quoting Kenney v. Supreme Lodge of the World, 252 U.S. 411, 415 (1920)); id. at 643 (holding that a state "may not . . . deny the enforcement of claims otherwise within the protection of the full faith and credit clause, when its courts have general jurisdiction of the subject-matter and the parties").
  87. 299 U.S. 178 (1936).
  88. Id. at 179.
  89. Id.
  90. See id. at 179-82.
  91. Id. at 183.
  92. See id. at 179-83.
  93. See id. at 182. See also Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hague, 449 U.S. 302, 310-11 (1981) (plurality opinion) (interpreting Yates to "stand for the proposition that if a State has only an insignificant contact with the parties and the occurrence or transaction, application of its law is unconstitutional," and that "a postoccurrence change of residence to the forum State--standing alone--was insufficient to justify application of forum law").
  94. 306 U.S. 493 (1939).
  95. Id. at 497-98.
  96. Id.
  97. Id. at 497.
  98. Id. at 501.
  99. Id. ("A rigid and literal enforcement of the full faith and credit clause, without regard to the statute of the forum, would lead to the absurd result that, wherever the conflict arises, the statute of each state must be enforced in the courts of the other, but cannot be in its own.") (quoting Alaska Packers Ass'n v. Indus. Accident Comm'n, 294 U.S. 532, 547 (1935)). See also id. at 501-02 ("[I]n cases like the present[, a rigid interpretation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause] would create an impasse which would often leave the employee remediless. Full faith and credit would deny to California the right to apply its own remedy, and its administrative machinery may well not be adapted to giving the remedy afforded by Massachusetts. Similarly, the full faith and credit demanded for the California Act would deny to Massachusetts the right to apply its own remedy, and its Department of Industrial Accidents may well be without statutory authority to afford the remedy provided by the California statute.").
  100. See id. at 497-505. See also Crider v. Zurich Ins. Co., 380 U.S. 39 (1965) (describing Pacific Employers as "mark[ing] a break with the Clapper philosophy"); Carroll v. Lanza, 349 U.S. 408, 412 (1955) (stating that Pacific Employers "departed . . . from the Clapper decision"); J. Stephen Clark, Conflicts Originalism: The "Original Content" of the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Compulsory Choice of Marriage Law, 118 W. Va. L. Rev. 547, 553 (2015) (observing that "in Pacific Employers . . . the Court abandoned the balancing method altogether").
  101. 306 U.S. at 504-05.
  102. See id. at 497, 505.
  103. See, e.g., Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 496 (2003) [hereinafter Franchise Tax Bd. I] (explaining that the Court has "abandoned the balancing-of-interests approach to conflicts of law under the Full Faith and Credit Clause"); Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, No. 14-1175, slip op. at 7-8 (U.S. Apr. 19, 2016) [hereinafter Franchise Tax Bd. II] (similar).
  104. See, e.g., Franchise Tax Bd. I, 538 U.S. at 498 ("[T]he question of which sovereign interest should be deemed more weighty is not one that can be easily answered."); id. at 496 ("As Justice Robert H. Jackson . . . aptly observed, 'it [is] difficult to point to any field in which the Court has more completely demonstrated or more candidly confessed the lack of guiding standards of a legal character than in trying to determine what choice of law is required by the Constitution.'") (quoting Justice Robert H. Jackson, Full Faith and Credit--The Lawyer's Clause of the Constitution, 45 Colum. L. Rev. 1, 16 (1945)); Franchise Tax Bd. II, slip op. at 8 (conceding that the interest-balancing approach "led to results that seemed to differ depending, for example, upon whether the case involved commercial law, a shareholders' action, insurance claims, or workman's compensation statutes").
  105. Franchise Tax Bd. I, 538 U.S. at 496 (quoting Pac. Emp'rs Ins., 306 U.S. at 501). See also, e.g., Pink v. A.A.A. Highway Express, Inc., 314 U.S. 201, 210 (1941) (holding that the Full Faith and Credit Clause "is not an inexorable and unqualified command," but rather "leaves some scope for state control within its borders of affairs which are peculiarly its own"); Nevada v. Hall, 440 U.S. 410, 422 (1979) ("[T]he Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a State to apply another State's law in violation of its own legitimate public policy."), overruled on other grounds by Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, No. 17-1299, slip op. at 1-18 (U.S. May 13, 2019).
  106. See 486 U.S. 717, 722 (1988).
  107. Franchise Tax Bd. II, slip op. at 3-4.
  108. Id. at 4 (quoting Franchise Tax Bd. I, 538 U.S. at 499).
  109. Id. at 6-7.
  110. See id. at 7 (quoting Carroll, 349 U.S. at 413).
  111. 341 U.S. 609, 610, 613 (1951).
  112. See id.
  113. See id. at 610 & n.2.
  114. 294 U.S. 629 (1935). See also supra Art. IV, Sec. 1: Early Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause (discussing Broderick).
  115. See 341 U.S. at 613-14.
  116. See id. at 612 n.10 ("The present case is not one where Wisconsin, having entertained appellant's lawsuit, chose to apply its own instead of Illinois' statute to measure the substantive rights involved. This distinguishes the present case from those where we have said that 'Prima facie every state is entitled to enforce in its own courts its own statutes, lawfully enacted.'") (quoting Alaska Packers Ass'n v. Indus. Accident Comm'n, 294 U.S. 532, 547 (1935)).
  117. Id. at 611.
  118. Id. at 612. See also Carroll, 349 U.S. at 413 (explaining that Hughes "held that Wisconsin could not refuse to entertain a wrongful death action under an Illinois statute for an injury occurring in Illinois, since [the Court] found no sufficient policy considerations to warrant such refusal"); Wells v. Simonds Abrasive Co., 345 U.S. 514, 518 (1953) (stating that "[t]he crucial factor" in Hughes "was that the forum laid an uneven hand on causes of action arising within and without the forum state"); Howlett ex rel. Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356, 381 (1990) (citing Hughes for the proposition "that a court of otherwise competent jurisdiction may not avoid its parallel obligation under the Full Faith and Credit Clause to entertain another State's cause of action by invocation of the term 'jurisdiction'").
  119. See Act of May 26, 1790, ch. 11, 1 Stat. 122 ("[T]he acts of the legislatures of the several states shall be authenticated by having the seal of their respective states affixed thereto . . ."); id. ("[T]he records and judicial proceedings of the courts of any state, shall be proved or admitted in any other court within the United States, by the attestation of the clerk, and the seal of the court annexed, if there be a seal, together with a certificate of the judge, chief justice, or presiding magistrate, as the case may be, that the said attestation is in due form."). See also San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 545 U.S. 323, 336 (2005) ("In 1790, Congress responded to the Constitution's invitation by enacting the first version of the full faith and credit statute.").
  120. Act of May 26, 1790, ch. 11, 1 Stat. 122.
  121. Compare id. (emphasis added), with Art. IV, Section 1 Full Faith and Credit Clause (providing that "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State") (emphasis added). See also Univ. of Tenn. v. Elliott, 478 U.S. 788, 799 (1986) ("The Full Faith and Credit Clause is of course not binding on federal courts . . ."); Kremer v. Chem. Constr. Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 462-63 (1982) (explaining that the 1790 Act "directed that all United States courts afford the same full faith and credit to state court judgments that would apply in the State's own courts").
  122. See Act of May 26, 1790, ch. 11, 1 Stat. 122 (emphasis added).
  123. See Act of Mar. 27, 1804, ch. 56, 2 Stat. 298.
  124. See id.
  125. Compare Act of May 26, 1790, ch. 11, 1 Stat. 122 ("[T]he acts of the legislatures of the several states shall be authenticated . . .") (emphasis added), and id. ("[T]he records and judicial proceedings of the courts of any state, shall be proved or admitted . . .") (emphasis added), with Act of Mar. 27, 1804, ch. 56, § 2, 2 Stat. 299 ("[A]ll the provisions of this act, and the act to which this is a supplement, shall apply as well to the public acts, records, office books, judicial proceedings, courts and offices of the respective territories of the United States, and countries subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, as to the public acts, records, office books, judicial proceedings, courts and offices of the several states.") (emphasis added). See also Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Ry. v. Sowers, 213 U.S. 55, 64 (1909) (explaining that while the 1790 Act "did not include the territories," the 1804 Act "extend[ed] the provisions of the former statute to the public acts, records, judicial proceedings, etc., of the territories").
  126. See Act of Mar. 27, 1804, ch. 56, 2 Stat. 298. See also David E. Engdahl, The Classic Rule of Faith and Credit, 118 Yale L.J. 1584, 1633 (2009) (stating that the 1804 Act contained "no mention of any effect that 'public acts' must be given").
  127. Act of June 25, 1948, ch. 646, § 1738, 62 Stat. 947 (codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1738). See also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Epstein, 516 U.S. 367, 373 (1996) (referring to the 1948 Act as the "Full Faith and Credit Act"). But see Kurt H. Nadelmann, Full Faith and Credit to Judgments and Public Acts, 56 Mich. L. Rev. 33, 81 (1957) (noting that Congress made minor, non-substantive changes to the statute in 1875 and 1926).
  128. See 28 U.S.C. § 1738 ("The Acts of the legislature of any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States, or copies thereof, shall be authenticated by affixing the seal of such State, Territory, or Possession thereto."); id. ("The records and judicial proceedings of any court of any such State, Territory or Possession, or copies thereof, shall be proved or admitted in other courts within the United States and its Territories and Possessions by the attestation of the clerk and seal of the court annexed, if a seal exists, together with a certificate of a judge of the court that the said attestation is in proper form.").
  129. See id. ("Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings . . . shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States . . .") (emphasis added). See also Ralph U. Whitten, Full Faith and Credit for Dummies, 38 Creighton L. Rev. 465, 471 (2005) ("In the 1948 revision of the Judicial Code, the wording of the first implementing statute was amended to include state statutes . . .").
  130. See H.R. Rep. No. 80-308, at A150 (1947) (stating that the revisers changed the statutory language merely to "follow[ ] the language of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution"). See also Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause (analyzing how the modern Court treats out-of-state public acts).
  131. See Willis L.M. Reese, Full Faith and Credit to Statutes: The Defense of Public Policy, 19 U. Chi. L. Rev. 339, 343 (1952) ("As part of the 1948 revision to the Judicial Code, the implementing statute was amended so as to provide that both statutes and judgments alike should be accorded the 'same full faith and credit' throughout the country 'as they have . . . in the courts of such State . . . from which they are taken.' What, if anything, was intended to be accomplished by this amendment is by no means clear, since, so far as it appears, it was enacted by Congress without discussion and the Revisers' Notes state simply that it 'follows the language' of the full faith and credit clause itself. Taken literally, however, the amendment would seem to constitute a clear mandate that the Supreme Court should henceforth interject itself more forcibly into the field of choice of law."); Ralph U. Whitten, The Constitutional Limitations on State Choice of Law: Full Faith and Credit, 12 Mem. St. U. L. Rev. 1, 60-61 (1981) (surmising that the drafters of the 1948 amendment may not have appreciated or intended the consequences of affording full faith and credit to other states' legislative acts).
  132. See, e.g., Franchise Tax Bd. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 494 (2003) (reaffirming "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'") (quoting Sun Oil Co. v. Wortman, 486 U.S. 717, 722 (1988)). See generally Art. IV, Sec. 1: Modern Doctrine on State Law on Full Faith and Credit Clause. See also David E. Engdahl, The Classic Rule of Faith and Credit, 118 Yale L.J. 1584, 1620 (2009)(opining that the Supreme Court "has declined to take the 1948 Code's nominal prescription to replicate the effect of sister-state legislative acts seriously").
  133. Compare Act of June 25, 1948, ch. 646, § 1738, 62 Stat. 947, with 28 U.S.C. § 1738.
  134. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Epstein, 516 U.S. 367, 373 (1996). See also Kremer v. Chem. Constr. Corp., 456 U.S. 461, 466 (1982) ("Section 1738 requires federal courts to give the same preclusive effect to state court judgments that those judgments would be given in the courts of the State from which the judgments emerged."); Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96 (1980) (same).
  135. See San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 545 U.S. 323, 336 (2005) (explaining that the Full Faith and Credit Act implements "[t]he general rule . . . that parties should not be permitted to relitigate issues that have been resolved by courts of competent jurisdiction").
  136. See, e.g., 22 U.S.C. § 9003(g) ("Full faith and credit shall be accorded by the courts of the States and the courts of the United States to the judgment of any other such court ordering or denying the return of a child, pursuant to the [Hague] Convention, in an action brought under [the International Child Abduction Remedies Act]."); 25 U.S.C. § 1911(d) ("The United States, every State, every territory or possession of the United States, and every Indian tribe shall give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of any Indian tribe applicable to Indian child custody proceedings to the same extent that such entities give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of any other entity.").
  137. Pub. L. No. 96-611, §§ 6-10, 94 Stat. 3566 (1980) (codified as amended at 28 U.S.C. § 1738A). See also Thompson v. Thompson, 484 U.S. 174, 180 (1988) ("At the time Congress passed the PKPA, custody orders held a peculiar status under the full faith and credit doctrine . . . The anomaly traces to the fact that custody orders characteristically are subject to modification as required by the best interests of the child. As a consequence, some courts doubted whether custody orders were sufficiently 'final' to trigger full faith and credit requirements, and this Court had declined expressly to settle the question. Even if custody orders were subject to full faith and credit requirements, the Full Faith and Credit Clause obliges States only to accord the same force to judgments as would be accorded by the courts of the State in which the judgment was entered. Because courts entering custody orders generally retain the power to modify them, courts in other States were no less entitled to change the terms of custody according to their own views of the child's best interest.") (internal citations omitted).
  138. Pub. L. No. 103-322, § 40221(a), 108 Stat. 1796, 1926 (1994) (codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. § 2265).
  139. Pub. L. No. 103-383, 108 Stat. 4063 (1994) (codified as amended at 28 U.S.C. § 1738B).
  140. See, e.g., Charles M. Yablon, Madison's Full Faith and Credit Clause: A Historical Analysis, 33 Cardozo L. Rev. 125, 135-36 (2011) (observing that "[t]he republic had been in existence for over 200 years before Congress" passed legislation purporting to "abrogate[ ] the full faith and credit mandate").
  141. See Pub. L. No. 104-199, § 2(a), 110 Stat. 2419 (1996) (codified at 28 U.S.C. § 1738C).
  142. Compare, e.g., Ralph U. Whitten, Original Understanding, 32 Creighton L. Rev. 255, 391 (1998) (arguing that Congress has "broad power to create statutes like DOMA under the Effects Clause"), with, e.g., 142 Cong. Rec. S5932 (daily ed. June 6, 1996) (letter from Professor Laurence H. Tribe to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy) (arguing that DOMA § 2(a) was "plainly unconstitutional" because "the congressional power to 'prescribe . . . the effect' of sister-state acts, records, and proceedings, within the context of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, includes no congressional power to prescribe that some acts, records and proceedings that would otherwise be entitled to full faith and credit . . . shall instead . . . be entitled to no faith or credit at all") (first ellipses in original).
  143. 576 U.S. 644, 681 (2015). See generally Fourteenth Amend., Sec. 1: Overview of Fundamental Rights (analyzing Obergefell).
  144. See Symeon C. Symeonides, Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2015: Twenty-Ninth Annual Survey, 64 Am. J. Comp. L. 221, 294 (2016).
  145. See Jeffrey M. Schmitt, A Historical Reassessment of Full Faith and Credit, 20 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 485, 485 (2013) ("[T]he Court has not yet ruled on the second portion of the Clause--that is, it has not addressed the contours of Congress's full faith and credit power."); Mark D. Rosen, Congress's Primary Role in Determining What Full Faith and Credit Requires: An Additional Argument, 41 Cal. W. Int'l L.J. 7, 11 (2010) ("As to precedent regarding congressional power to reduce the credit that . . . must be given to another state's laws or judgments, all we have are equivocal and somewhat contradictory statements by less than a majority of the Court."). Compare Thomas v. Wash. Gas Light Co., 448 U.S. 261, 272 n.18 (1980) (plurality opinion) ("[T]here is at least some question whether Congress may cut back on the measure of faith and credit required by a decision of this Court."), with Yarborough v. Yarborough, 290 U.S. 202, 215 n.2 (1933) (Stone, J., dissenting) (arguing that "[t]he mandatory force of the full faith and credit clause as defined by this Court may be, in some degree not yet fully defined, . . . contracted by Congress.").