State Records; Privilege of Citizens; Fugitives; Admission of New States; Power over Territory; Guaranty of Republican Government.
Sec.1. “Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved and the effect thereof.” Art. 4, sec. 1. Without this provision, a person against whom a judgment has been obtained, might remove with his property into another state, where the property could not be taken on execution without a new trial and judgment; which, at so great a distance from the residence of the creditor and his witnesses, would be very difficult and expensive, and perhaps impossible. Now, the proceedings of the court in which a judgment is obtained, if sent to the place where the debtor resides, have the same effect as in the state in which such proceedings were taken.
Sec.2. There are several other cases which this provision is intended to meet. But, as is seen, the effect of these acts, records, and judicial proceedings, and the manner of proving them are to be prescribed by congress. In pursuance of the power here granted, congress has enacted, that a certificate under seal of the clerk of a court of record, transmitted to any state of the union, shall there be deemed evidence of the facts therein stated. But if the thing certified is a judicial proceeding, such sealed certificate must be accompanied by the certificate of the presiding judge or justice, that the attestation of the clerk is in due form. Acts of a state legislature, to be entitled to credit in another state, must have the seal of the state affixed to them.
Sec.3. The next section of this article provides, that “the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the immunities and privileges of citizens in the several states.” This means that the citizens of any state going into other states, shall not, by the laws of those states, be deprived of any of the privileges of citizens; but shall be entitled to the privileges which are enjoyed by persons of the same description in the states to which they remove. Without such a provision, any state might deny to citizens coming into it from other states, the right to buy and hold real estate, or to become voters, or to enjoy equal privileges in trade or business. A state may, however, prescribe a certain term of residence therein as a qualification for voting at elections.
Sec.4. The next clause of this section provides for apprehending “a person charged with crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another state.” The governor of the state from which such person has fled, sends a requisition to the governor of the state in which he is found, demanding his delivery to the proper officers, to be conveyed back for trial. Without such authority to apprehend criminals, they might escape justice by taking shelter in another state.