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the adverse party. It is hardly conceivable, that so much solicitude should have been exhibited to introduce, as between confederated States, much less between States united under the same national government, a clause merely affirmative of an established rule of law, and not denied to the humblest or most distant foreign nation. It was hardly supposable, that the States would deal less favorably with each other on such a subject, where they could not but have a common interest, than with foreigners. A motive of a higher kind must naturally have directed them to the provision. It must have been, "to form a more perfect union,” and to give to each State a higher security and confidence in the others, by attributing a superior sanctity and conclusiveness to the public acts and judicial proceedings of all. There could be no reasonable objection to such a course. On the other hand, there were many reasons in its favor. The States were united in an indissoluble bond with each other. The commercial and other intercourse with each other would be constant, and infinitely diversified. Credit would be everywhere given and received; and rights and property would belong to citizens of every State in many other States than that in which they resided. Under such circumstances, it could scarcely consist with the peace of society, or with the interest and security of individuals, with the public or with private good, that questions and titles, once deliberately tried and decided in one State, should be open to litigation again and again, as often as either of the parties, or their privies, should choose to remove from one jurisdiction to another. It would occasion infinite injustice, after such trial and decision, again to open and reexamine all the merits of the case. It might be done at a distance from the original place of the transaction; after the removal or death of witnesses, or the loss of other testimony; after a long lapse of time, and under circumstances wholly unfavorable to a just understanding of the case.

§ 1310. If it should be said, that the judgment might be unjust upon the merits, or erroneous in point of law, the proper answer is, that if true, that would furnish no ground for interference; for the evils of a new trial would be greater than it would cure. Every such judgment ought to be presumed to be correct, and founded in justice. And what security is there, that the new judgment, upon the reëxamination, would be more just, or more conformable to law, than the first? What State has a right to proclaim, that the

judgments of its own courts are better founded in law or in justice, than those of any other State? The evils of introducing a general system of reëxamination of the judicial proceedings of other States, whose connections are so intimate, and whose rights are so interwoven with our own, would far outweigh any supposable benefits from an imagined superior justice in a few cases.1 Motives of this sort, founded upon an enlarged confidence, and reciprocal duties, might well be presumed to have entered into the minds of the framers of the confederation, and the Constitution. They intended to give, not only faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of each of the States, such as belonged to those of all foreign nations and tribunals; but to give to them full faith and credit; that is, to attribute to them positive and absolute verity, so that they cannot be contradicted, or the truth of them be denied, any more than in the State where they originated.2

1 Green v. Sarmiento, 1 Peters's Cir. R. 74, 78 to 80; Hitchcock v. Aicken, 1 Caines's R. 462.

2 Green v. Sarmiento, 1 Peters's Cir. R. 74, 80, 81; Bissell v. Briggs, 9 Mass. R. 462, 467; Commonwealth v. Green, 17 Mass. R. 515, 544, 545. [It was undoubtedly the purpose of this provision of the Constitution to give to the judicial proceedings of each State the same faith and credit in every other State to which they were entitled in the State in which they took place. Hampton v. McConnell, 3 Wheat. 234; Mayhew v. Thatcher, 6 Wheat. 129; and consequently no defence could be made to a judgment in another State which would be precluded by the law of the State in which it was rendered. Armstrong v. Carson, 2 Dall. 300; Jacquette v. Hugunon, 2 McLean, 129; Christmas v. Russell, 5 Wall. 290; Green v. Van Buskirk, 7 Wall. 139; Cheever v. Wilson, 9 Wall. 108. But it gives them no greater credit; and consequently the defences which were available in the State where it was rendered, are available elsewhere. Mills v. Duryee, 7 Cranch, 484; Hampton v. McConnel, 3 Wheat. 234; Warren Manuf. Co. v. Etna Ins. Co., 2 Paine, 502; Bank of the State v. Dalton, 9 How. 525. If the record of a judgment shows that it was rendered without the court having jurisdiction of the party, or if the fact can be shown without contradicting any of the recitals of the record, it will be treated as void in every other State notwithstanding this constitutional provision. Lincoln v. Tower, 2 McLean, 473; Westerwelt v. Lewis, Id. 511; Thurber v. Blackbourne, 1 N. H. 242; Hall v. Williams, 6 Pick. 232; Gleason v. Dodd, 4 Met. 333; Commonwealth v. Blood, 97 Mass. 538; Folger v. Ins. Co., 99 Mass. 267; Aldrich v. Kinney, 4 Conn. 380; Wood v. Watkinson, 17 Conn. 500; Kilburn v. Woodworth, 5 Johns. 37; Starbuck v. Murray, 5 Wend. 148; Bradshaw v. Heath, 13 Wend. 407; Kerr v. Kerr, 41 N. Y. 272; Bimeler v. Dawson, 4 Scam. 536; Warren v. McCarthy, 25 Ill. 95; Rape v. Heaton, 9 Wis. 328; Norwood v. Cobb, 24 Texas, 551; McLaurine v. Monroe, 30 Mo. 462. See Gruner v. United States, 11 How. 163; Harris v. Hardeman, 14 How. 334.

And some courts have admitted evidence in contradiction of the recitals of the

record, for the purpose of showing a want of jurisdiction. Starbuck v. Murray,. 5 Wend. 148; Shumway v. Stillman, 6 Wend. 447; Hall v. Williams, 6 Pick. 238; Aldrich v. Kinney, 4 Conn. 380; Gleason v. Dodd, 4 Met. 333; Norwood v. Cobb, 24 Texas,

§ 1311. The next clause of the section is, "And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof." It is obvious, that this clause, so far as it authorizes Congress to prescribe the mode of authentication, is wholly beside the purpose of the preceding. Whatever may be the faith and credit due to the public acts, records, and proceedings of other States, whether prima facie evidence only, or conclusive evidence; still the mode of establishing them in proof is of very great importance, and upon which a diversity of rules exists in different countries. The object of the present provision is to introduce uniformity in the rules of proof (which could alone be done by Congress). It is certainly a great improvement upon the parallel article of the confederation. That left it wholly to the States themselves to require any proof of public acts, records, and proceedings, which they might from time to time deem advisable; and where no rule was prescribed, the subject was open to the decision of the judicial tribunals, according to their own views of the local usage and jurisprudence. Many embarrassments must necessarily have grown out of such a state of things. The provision, therefore, comes recommended by every consideration of wisdom and convenience, of public peace and private security.

§ 1312. But the clause does not stop here. The words added

551. Others hold that it is precluded. Field v. Gibbs, 1 Pet. C. C. 156; Green v. Sarmiento, Id. 76; Lincoln v. Tower, 2 McLean, 473; Westerwelt v. Lewis, Id. 511; Todd v. Crumb, 5 McLean, 172; Pearce v. Olney, 20 Conn. 544; Hoxie v. Wright, 2 Vt. 263; Newcomb v. Peck, 17 Vt. 302; Willcox v. Cassick, 2 Mich. 165; Bimeler v. Dawson, 4 Scam. 536; Welch v. Sykes, 3 Gil. 197; Roberts v. Caldwell, 5 Dana, 512. In the recent case of Cheever v. Wilson, 9 Wall. 108, this point was brought to the attention of the court, but not passed upon. The case arose in the District of Columbia, and involved the validity of a decree of divorce which had been granted in Indiana on the application of the wife. The husband had appeared in the case, but it was insisted that the wife had only a colorable and fraudulent residence in the State, and consequently the Indiana court had no jurisdiction. The court say, p. 123 : That she did reside in the county where the petition was filed is expressly found by the decree. Whether this finding is conclusive or only primâ facie sufficient, is a point on which the authorities are not in harmony. We do not deem it necessary to express any opinion upon the point. The testimony is clearly sufficient until overcome by adverse testimony. None adequate to that result is found in the record. Giving to what there is the fullest effect it only raises a suspicion that the animus manendi may have been wanting."

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The conclusiveness of a judgment, however, does not preclude other States legislating on the subject of the remedy that may be had upon such judgment when it is sought to be enforced therein. McElmoyle v. Cohen, 13 Pet. 312.]

are," and the effect thereof." Upon the proper interpretation of these words some diversity of opinion has been judicially expressed. Some learned judges have thought, that the word "thereof" had reference to the proof, or authentication; so as to read," and to prescribe the effect of such proof, or authentication." Others have thought, that it referred to the antecedent words, "acts, records, and proceedings;" so as to read, "and to prescribe the effect of such acts, records, and proceedings." Those, who were of opinion, that the preceding section of the clause made judgments in one State conclusive in all others, naturally adopted the former opinion; for otherwise the power to declare the effect would be wholly senseless; or Congress could possess the power to repeal or vary the full faith and credit given by that section. Those, who were of opinion, that such judgments were not conclusive, but only primâ facie evidence, as naturally embraced the other opinion; and supposed, that until Congress should, by law, declare what the effect of such judgment should be, they remained only primâ facie evidence.

§ 1313. The former seems now to be considered the sounder interpretation. But it is not, practically speaking, of much importance, which interpretation prevails; since each admits the competency of Congress to declare the effect of judgments, when duly authenticated; so always, that full faith and credit are given to them; and Congress by their legislation have already carried into operation the objects of the clause. The act of 26th of May, 1790, ch. 39 (ch. 11), after providing for the mode of authenticating the acts, records, and judicial proceedings of the States, has declared," and the said records and judicial proceedings, authenticated as aforesaid, shall have such faith and credit given to them in every court within the United States, as they have by law or usage in the courts of the State from whence the said records are or shall be taken." It has been settled upon solemn argument, that this enactment does declare the effect of the records, as evidence, when duly authenticated. It gives them the same faith and credit as they have in the State court from which they are taken. If in

1 See Bissell v. Briggs, 9 Mass. R. 462, 467; Hitchcock v. Aicken, 1 Caines's R. 460; Green v. Sarmiento, 1 Peters's Cir. R. 74; Field v. Gibbs, Id. 155; Commonwealth v. Green, 17 Mass. R. 515, 544, 545.

2 By the act of 27th March, 1804, ch. 56, the provisions of the act of 1790 are enlarged, so as to cover some omissions, such as State office books, the records of territorial courts, &c.

such court they have the faith and credit of the highest nature, that is to say, of record evidence, they must have the same faith and credit in every other court. So, that Congress have declared the effect of the records, by declaring, what degree of faith and credit shall be given to them. If a judgment is conclusive in the State, where it is pronounced, it is equally conclusive everywhere. If reëxaminable there, it is open to the same inquiries in every other State. It is, therefore, put upon the same footing as a domestic judgment. But this does not prevent an inquiry into the jurisdiction of the court, in which the original judgment was given to pronounce it; or the right of the State itself to exercise authority over the persons, or the subject-matter. The Constitution did not mean to confer a new power or jurisdiction; but simply to regulate the effect of the acknowledged jurisdiction over persons and things within the territory.2

1 Mills v. Duryee, 7 Cranch, R. 481; Hamden v. M'Connell, 3 Wheat. R. 234; 1 Kent's Comm. Lect. 12, p. 243, 244; Sergeant on Const. ch. 31 [ch. 33].

2 Bissell v. Briggs, 9 Mass. R. 462, 467; Shumway v. Stillman, 4 Cowen's R. 292; Borden v. Fitch, 15 Johns. R. 121; [1 Story on Confl. of Laws, § 609; McElmoyle v. Cohen, 13 Pet. 312; Wood v. Watkinson, 17 Conn. 500; D'Arcy v. Ketchum, 11 Howard, 165; E. H. B].

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