President Constitution Association

Constitution Class Instructor
Wednesday 4:00 pm: Constitution Association Weekly Meeting

Wednesday 6:00 pm: Constitution Class, Temecula

Both will be held today at the Riverside County Republican Party Headquarters, 28120 Jefferson Ave., Temecula, CA

Constitution Class Handout:  
Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
Lesson 09
Concerning the States
Faith and Credit
Article IV, Section 1 begins with The Full Faith
and Credit
Clause.  The clause reads,
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
In simple, modern day language, under the Full Faith
and Credit Clause judgments rendered in one State are acknowledged in others;
when a U.S. citizen resolves an issue within one of the States that resolution
must be recognized by all other States.
The Founding Fathers originally intended, with the
Full Faith and Credit Clause, to protect the self-government autonomy of the
States, while also promoting the union of the sovereign States as well.  To do this, the Founding Fathers needed to
make sure that judicial rulings in one State would be respected by all States,
because otherwise there would be a substantial opportunity for abuse.  Doing so affirmed the autonomy of the
individual States, while also ensuring that the states remained unified.
Without the Full Faith and Credit Clause, something as
simple as a marriage would not be recognized outside the State where the
proceeding took place.  If the married
couple moved to another state, it would be necessary to marry all over again,
otherwise they would still be considered unmarried.  However, thanks to the Full Faith and Credit
Clause, the State that serves as the new home of the transplanted married
couple recognizes the marriage contract agreed upon in the State of origin.
The Full Faith and Credit Clause also protects against
abusive litigation.  If someone in one
State sues someone and the court delivers a valid judgment in favor of the
defendant, the person who filed the suit cannot file the same suit in another
State against the same person.  Under the
Full Faith and Credit Clause, the outcome of the suit in the first State is
recognized and considered to be the final judgment.  Likewise, someone who is ruled against in
litigation in a State cannot flee to another State to evade punishment, because
the ruling in the first State’s court is still valid in the new State.
As a result of the Full Faith and Credit Clause,
professionals like doctors and lawyers only need to go to school once.  As they move to new States, they can apply
for reciprocity in certification so that they can practice in their new
location.  State privileges like drivers
licenses also benefit from the Full Faith and Credit Clause, because when
people move to different States, they can renew their driving licenses in the
new State without having to go through drivers’ education a second time, as
long as the standards for licensure are similar between the two States.
and Immunities
Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1 gives the people of
each state all the same privileges and immunities uniformly in each state.  In other words, if a Texan moved to
California, the Texan must be treated by California in no different manner than
the State treats Californians.  A State
could not pass a law keeping Texans out of their state, but letting others
in.  This violates the Constitution.  A State cannot play favoritism in such a
manner for any reason.  All persons must
be treated uniformly in the eyes of the law. 
This is the clause the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause sought
to broaden, in order to ensure that the former slaves would also be afforded
the same protection, privileges, and immunities.
Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 provides that “A
person charged in any state with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall
flee from justice, and be found in another state, shall on demand of the
executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up, to be
removed to the state having jurisdiction of the crime.”
Fugitives that flee a State from justice to another
State will be extradited on the demand of executive authority (governor)
of the State from which the person fled from. 
The Constitution, in this clause, demands the extradition of fugitives
who have committed “treason, felony or other crime,” which means that
it includes all acts prohibited by the laws of a State, including misdemeanors
and small, or petty, offenses.
Since the word “shall” is used regarding the
extradition order by the governor of the State, that means the extradition
order will not be questioned.  That also
means the accused cannot defend himself against the charges in the extraditing
State.  The fugitive may only defend
himself against the charges in the State receiving him.
The courts have determined that the accused may
prevent extradition by offering clear evidence that he was not in the State he
allegedly fled from at the time of the crime in the case, Hyatt v. People
ex rel. Corkran (1903).
Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 is obsolete because of
the abolition of slavery, as per the 13th Amendment.  During the era the Constitution was written,
slavery remained in place, and slaves were seen as property by the States in
which slavery was legal.  The
Constitution, as a compromise to assure that southern States ratified the
document, included Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3, as a compromise, which
demanded that escaped slaves be returned to their owners in the south, even if
that slave was in a northern State.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 supported this clause
of the Constitution, hoping to ensure under penalty of law that the slaves were
in fact returned should they turn up in the north.  Northern States were refusing to return
escaped slaves, and the federal government refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave
Act and the Constitution, creating, in the minds of the Southern States, a
constitutional crisis.
Nullification is often blamed for its part in the onset of the
American Civil War.  Those that argue
that nullification was a part of bringing about the War Between the States will
argue that the Southern States were guilty of nullifying perfectly reasonable
federal laws.  In reality, the Southern
States did not nullify any federal law. 
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 1860.
Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 gives Congress the
authority to admit new States.  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. 
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
In California, there has been a number of
recommendations for breaking up the large State, from a 2014 suggestion of
forming six States from the former Golden State, to thirteen counties that
threatened to secede in 2010 as suggested by a local politician.  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
and Federal Property
Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 gives the Federal
Government “power over the territory and property of the United States.”  Territories like Puerto Rico fall under this
clause, treating the territories not as individual sovereign states, but as
territories under the control of the U.S. Government.  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.
Security and Insurrection
Article IV, Section 4 reads, “The United States
shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government
meaning that each State may have its own constitution, as well as a
representative government based on the rule of law.
The second part of Article IV, Section 4 provides that
the United States “shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion;
and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the
Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.
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.  This part of the clause refers
to insurrection, and it is likely the writing of this clause was directly
influenced by the occurrence of Shays’ Rebellion in 1786.
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.S. Constitution, Article IV, the phrase is
defined as requiring all States in the U.S. to recognize and give effect to the
legislation, public records, and judicial decisions of other States in the
United States.  Full Faith and Credit
also means: An unconditional commitment to pay interest and principal in debt,
usually issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or another government entity.
State power to ignore unconstitutional federal law.
Questions for Discussion:
1.  What kind of issues does the Full Faith and
Credit Clause affect in today’s American society?
2.  How does the Full Faith and Credit Clause
protect the autonomy of the State, while protecting their unity?
3.  For what kind of crimes may a person be
extradited for?
4.  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.  How did
this make the Southern States feel, and how did this action contribute to the
secession of the Southern States?
5.  The federal government is tasked with the
duty of protecting the States against invasion. 
How does this affect the issue of illegal immigration?
Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The
Political Genius of
; New York:
Simon & Schuster Paperbacks (2005)
Hyatt v.
People ex rel. Corkran, 188 U.S. 691 (1903) (“We are of opinion
that, as the relator showed…he
was not within the state of Tennessee at the times stated in the indictments
found in the Tennessee court, nor at any time when the acts were, if ever,
committed, he was not a fugitive from justice within the meaning of the Federal
statute upon that subject…”)
Andrews, A Guide for Learning and
Teaching The Declaration of
and The U.S. Constitution – Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical
Learning Methods of the Founders
; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution
Notes Constitutional Convention, Avalon Project, Yale
Philip B.
Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder’s
Constitution –
Four – Article I I, Section 8, Clause 5 to Article VII
Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)
J. DiLorenzo, The Real Lincoln: A New
Look at Abraham
Lincoln, His Agenda, and an
Unnecessary War
Roseville, California: Prima Publishing, a division of Random House (2002)

Douglas V. Gibbs, 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *