Thursday, April 19, 2012

Constitution Class, Temecula: Full Faith and Credit

Tonight at 6:00 pm in Temecula the Constitution Class led by Douglas V. Gibbs wraps up Article Three, and Begins Article IV. A new handout will be available. Join us at Faith Armory (next to Birth Choice) for the meeting.


The Full Faith and Credit Clause is a clause in the Constitution which states that: “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.” Put in simple 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 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 divorce would not be recognized outside the State where the proceeding took place. If one of the members of the divorced couple moved to another state, it would be necessary to file all over again, otherwise that person would still be considered married. However, thanks to the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the State that serves as the new home of the transplanted divorcee recognizes the divorce filed and approved 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, this person cannot file the same suit in another State. 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. . .

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