Article IV

Sections 1 and 2 of Article IV provide that there are three obligations which each state has to every other state (or to citizens of other states). First, each state must give “full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” Note: This means that each state must recognize and enforce such things as wills, divorces, marriages, etc. legally made in other states.

Second, each state must extend the same “privileges and immunities” to citizens of other states that the state extends to its own citizens.

NOTE: As a general rule, a state must treat citizens of other states who happen to be in that state the same way the state treats its own citizens. There are only a few exceptions to this general rule. For example, a state cannot deny citizens of other states the right to hunt and fish in the state, but it can charge out of state citizens more for a hunting or fishing license.

Third, a person charged in any state with a crime who flees and is found in another state, “shall on demand of the executive authority of the state from which he fled, be delivered up …”

NOTE: This is referred to as “extradition.” Most of the time, when a governor of one state requests that the governor of another state to which a fugitive from justice has fled extradite the accused person back to the state from which the fugitive fled, it will be done.

Section 2 also provided that “no person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

NOTE: Those present at the 1787 Constitutional Convention understood that this so-called “fugitive slave clause” referred to slaves who had escaped from their owners. This portion of Section 2 was rendered inoperative when the Thirteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution.

Section 3 of Article IV gives Congress full control over the admission of new states into the union. The only limitation on Congress’ power is that a new state cannot be formed within the jurisdiction of an already existing state nor can a state be created by joining two or more existing states or parts of such without consent of Congress and the state legislatures involved.

NOTE: Congress can lay down one or more conditions which a territory seeking admission to the union as a state must meet before Congress will grant the admission.

Section 4 addresses the obligations the national government has to the states. The first such obligation provides that the national government must “guarantee every state a republican form of government.”

NOTE: This is called “the guarantee clause.” Its meaning has never been interpreted by the U. S. judiciary, and in fact, in the 1849 case Luther v Borden the Supreme Court declared that enforcement of the clause was “a political question” for Congress to decide and not a justiciable issue for the judiciary.

The second such obligation is that the national government shall protect the states against “invasion” and from “domestic violence” when requested by a state legislature or by a governor.

NOTE: If a state is invaded, the nation is invaded, and national government intervention would occur. Furthermore, if there is “domestic violence” in a state, the President may act even if he is not requested to do so by the state’s governor or legislature, particularly if a U. S. law or court decision is involved.