Federal circles are divided on another family law issue under Full Faith and Credit: to what extent and in what way should a state be compelled to recognize an adoption acquired by a couple in another state? See Thomas M. Joraanstad, Half Faith and Credit?: The Fifth Circuit Upholds Louisiana`s Refuse to Issuing a Revised Birth Certificate, 19 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 421 (2013). Since adoptions are concluded by court decisions, one view is that any adoption should be recognized by all other States for all purposes, even if it is contrary to the public policy of the “host” State (because, for example, it is an unmarried couple). This is the best view given the importance of security and stability in the parent-child relationship. But an aberrant decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Adar v. Smith (2011) noted that Louisiana was not required to issue a new birth certificate recognizing two unmarried men as the parents of a Louisiana-born child they adopted in New York. The Court of Appeals held that Full Faith and Credit Command binds state courts, but not non-judicial actors such as administrative officials who oversee a state`s birth certificates. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the parents` request for review.
Ordinary laws and statutes, however, are another story. Because the U.S. is a highly mobile and connected society, scenarios often arise in which an event — such as an auto insurance claim — could reasonably be governed by the law of more than one state. The Supreme Court has always held that, as a general rule, each State has the right to make its own laws and that, therefore, a State may apply its own law in its own courts as long as it has sufficient contact with the matter under consideration. A State is generally not obliged to bow to the ideas of other States in matters of public order. Article IV, Section 1, should do two things: help states identify other states` public records and let Congress determine the legal force of those documents. Over time, however, these goals slowly fell into oblivion. Ignorant of history, the courts have relentlessly misinterpreted the clause, diminishing the powers of Congress and expanding their own. A similar clause existed in Article IV of the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor of the United States. Constitution: “In each of these States, full confidence and recognition shall be placed in the minutes, acts and trials of the courts and judges of any other State.”  In 1781, a committee of the Continental Congress reported that the “execution” of this clause in the Articles of Confederation required an explanation of two different things: “ the method of illustration of documents, and  the operation of the laws and judicial procedures of the courts of a state as opposed to those of the states in which they are asserted.”  New states may be admitted to this Union by the Congress; but no new State may be formed or established in the jurisdiction of another State; nor may a State be formed by the union of two or more States or parts of States without the consent of the legislatures of those States and of Congress.
These general policy statements do not always translate well into detail. States will take note of each other`s public records, but they are not always expected to give these documents exactly the same impact they have at home. (A state`s fishing license does not give you the right to fish elsewhere.) A person accused of treason, felony or any other crime in one State and who flees justice and is present in another State shall, at the request of the executive authority of the State from which he fled, be extradited and expelled to the State responsible for the crime. The purpose of the full faith and credit clause, the Supreme Court said in Allstate Insurance Co. v. The Hague (1981), was to “transform the various states of independent sovereignty into one united nation”. Grand Justice Robert Jackson, who has made himself a sort of scholar of the clause, argued: “If there is a choice under the full faith and credit clause, it should be made. that best meets the needs of an expanding national society for a modern administrative system.
A safer justice. Robert H. Jackson, Full Faith and Credit: The Lawyer`s Clause of the Constitution, 45 Colum. 1 (1945). A Pennsylvania court stated in 1786 that this provision of the Articles of Confederation did not require that “executions in one state may be given on the basis of judgments rendered in another state,” but was “primarily intended to compel each state to obtain the records of another as full evidence of such acts and trials.”  This is what the Constitution did. The first sentence of Article IV, which “must be given with faith and appreciation,” largely reproduced the rule of articles – which James Madison in The Federalist No. 42 considered “of little importance among any interpretation that will support it.” This has led States to recognize each other`s documents (now including legal acts) without saying how they would be authenticated or what legal effect they would have. Instead, the next sentence of the clause gave these powers to Congress.