Formal and Informal Interstate Cooperation
A federal system has several potential advantages and disadvantages. 1 One of the latter -- lack of national uniformity in laws, court decisions, and administrative actions -- is viewed by supporters of strong states as an advantage allowing each state to tailor policies to its unique conditions, experiment with new programs, and prevent undue concentration of political power in national government. Nevertheless, lack of uniform statutes creates problems for mobile individuals and for business firms operating on a multistate basis.
Chapter 4 explores the conflicts of laws between states, the Full Faith and Credit Provision of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, constitutional authorization for Congress to prescribe the method by which statutes of each state "shall be proved and the effect thereof," and the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in adjudicating cases involving conflicts in state laws. A literal interpretation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV would mandate that laws enacted by a state legislature conflicting with laws of other states be discarded by the state's courts in favor of statutes enacted by the legislatures of sister states in cases raising the issue of full faith and credit.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939 ruled that the Full Faith and Credit Clause could not be utilized to mandate a state to replace its statutes with the statutes of other states and added in a 1951 decision that the major purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause is to facilitate enforcement of judgments rendered in a sister state and not to give effect to the statutes enacted in other states. 2 In consequence, multistate business firms and individuals can be affected adversely by conflicts in the laws of the various states. As explained in Chapter 4, a person legally divorced in one state who remarries lawfully in a second state can be charged by the latter state with bigamy.
The disharmony in the statutes of the various states generally created few problems during the time period when state governments engaged in a very limited number of regulatory activities and provided few services, citizens seldom traveled out