Interstate Cooperation: Compacts and Administrative Agreements

By Joseph F. Zimmerman | Go to book overview
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Chapter 2


The drafters of the U.S. Constitution fully recognized the need for inclusion of provisions establishing a framework for multifaceted interactions between states in the new governance system they were crafting. Experience with the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union revealed certain articles governing state interactions with each other were achieving their goals and these articles were incorporated in the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation, however, did not address two major problems. Interstate disputes over boundary lines, fishing rights, and other issues were left to states to negotiate. Furthermore, Congress under the Articles was not authorized to regulate commerce among the several states and was powerless to strike down state erected mercantilistic barriers to the free flow of commerce between sister states.

The U.S. Constitution incorporates seven interstate principles—full faith and credit, legal equality of each state, privileges and immunities, internal free trade, interstate compacts (see Chapter 3), interstate rendition, and interstate suits. Although the constitution does not specify directly that each state is legally equal, the United States Supreme Court has interpreted the constitution as establishing a federal system composed of states equal to each other in law.


The legislative acts of an independent nation, its court decisions, and its official records have legal standing only within its national boundaries unless other nations recognize the legal documents of a given nation on the basis of comity or reciprocity. The latter, often incorporated in a treaty, is


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