<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The states are also constrained by the Constitution. Article I, Section 10, prohibits the states from entering into treaties with other countries, coining money, and levying taxes on imports and exports. Like the federal government, the states cannot violate personal freedoms by suspending the writ of habeas corpus, passing bills of attainder, or enacting ex post facto laws. Furthermore, the Fourteenth Amendment , ratified in 1868, prohibits the states from denying citizens the rights to which they are entitled by the Constitution, due process of law, or the equal protection of the laws. Lastly, three civil rights amendments—the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Sixth—prevent both the states and the federal government from abridging citizens’ right to vote based on race, sex, and age. This topic remains controversial because states have not always ensured equal protection.

The supremacy clause in Article VI of the Constitution regulates relationships between the federal and state governments by declaring that the Constitution and federal law are the supreme law of the land. This means that if a state law clashes with a federal law found to be within the national government’s constitutional authority, the federal law prevails. The intent of the supremacy clause is not to subordinate the states to the federal government; rather, it affirms that one body of laws binds the country. In fact, all national and state government officials are bound by oath to uphold the Constitution regardless of the offices they hold. Yet enforcement is not always that simple. In the case of marijuana use, which the federal government defines to be illegal, twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have nevertheless established medical marijuana laws, others have decriminalized its recreational use, and four states have completely legalized it. The federal government could act in this area if it wanted to. For example, in addition to the legalization issue, there is the question of how to treat the money from marijuana sales, which the national government designates as drug money and regulates under laws regarding its deposit in banks.

Various constitutional provisions govern state-to-state relations. Article IV , Section 1, referred to as the full faith and credit clause    or the comity clause , requires the states to accept court decisions, public acts, and contracts of other states. Thus, an adoption certificate or driver’s license issued in one state is valid in any other state. The movement for marriage equality has put the full faith and credit clause to the test in recent decades. In light of Baehr v. Lewin , a 1993 ruling in which the Hawaii Supreme Court asserted that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, a number of states became worried that they would be required to recognize those marriage certificates.

Baehr v. Lewin . 1993. 74 Haw. 530.
To address this concern, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. The law declared that “No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need recognize a marriage between persons of the same sex, even if the marriage was concluded or recognized in another state.” The law also barred federal benefits for same-sex partners.

Questions & Answers

In which areas do you think peoples rights and liberties are at risk of government intrusion?
camille Reply
whenever......new government
Marjan Reply
clearly,who was meant to be in charge of this new government?
Marjan
What is and who is required to file a foreign agent registration statement form
David Reply
Anything on the Mayflower Compact
deborah Reply
What do you really mean by the final draft of articles
Eliza Reply
According to pluralist theory of government
Rachel Reply
Pluralist theory stating what?
Kalu
Meaning
Eliza
What is government mean?
Benedict Reply
compare and contrast a federalist system of govt to a confederate system
Jewles Reply
how does one separate from State or government
Joni Reply
I do Not understand well, so if the abachis want. To seperate, acording to this declaration every one shoud Support them
Ich Reply
what is liberty
Luna Reply
You feel free and you decide and do and achieve the right for you
Ich
was the Bill of rights a necessary addtion to the constitution?
noor Reply
So, if I'm clear a member of the Congress CANNOT live in the state they represent?
Jeremy Reply
what is government
Seth Reply
why is today's government so corrupt?
Julius Reply

Get the best American government course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'American government' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask