Limits on States: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution

By James M. McGoldrick Jr. | Go to book overview

7
Interstate Compacts

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep
Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with
another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or
in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay
.
Article I, Section 10, Clause 3


INTRODUCTION

Only the Compact Clause of Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, will be examined. The other provisions of Clause 3 have never raised any issues. The Compact Clause provides the authorization for compacts between states and supplies the one and only restriction on their creation. It states that “no State shall, without the Consent of Congress,… enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State.” The Compact Clause has been praised as a way of promoting effective solutions to local problems through cooperation of the various states.1 The requirement of congressional consent found within the clause, however, has been the most litigated and contested aspect of interstate compacts; and the Supreme Court has rendered a number of decisions on such issues as the purpose of congressional consent, which compacts must receive consent, how consent is given, and, of course, when consent must be given.

The Framers of the Constitution clearly perceived “compacts” and “agreements,” which were allowed with the consent of Congress under the Compact Clause, as different from “treaties,” which were prohibited altogether. It was suggested that “treaties” referred to ongoing alliances of national importance, usually political and military alliances, while “compacts” and “agreements” referred to agreements concerning local and temporary issues that are accomplished “not by successive acts” but are instead “no sooner executed than they are completed and perfected.”2 Though this distinction most likely affected the drafting of Ar-

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Limits on States: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • 1 - History and Introduction to Article I, Section 10 1
  • 2 - The Contract Clause 5
  • 3 - Bills of Attainder 55
  • 4 - Ex Post Facto Laws 65
  • 5 - The Nonretroactive Provisions of Article I, Section 10 81
  • 6 - The Import-Export Clause 89
  • 7 - Interstate Compacts 101
  • 8 - Concluding Comments on Article I, Section 10 111
  • Bibliographical Essay 115
  • Table of Cases 125
  • Index 131
  • About the Author 135
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