Domestic Violence Across State Lines: The Full Faith and Credit Clause, Congressional Power, and Interstate Enforcement of Protection Orders
89 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2005 Last revised: 15 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2004
As part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), Congress enacted a provision that requires each state to grant full faith and credit to domestic violence protection orders from sister states. Despite this requirement, more than fifteen states have not complied. This Article explores whether states are in fact required to grant full faith and credit to such orders. It examines both the scope of the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, as well as the extent of Congress' authority to require full faith and credit recognition, even if it were not constitutionally mandated.
The Article is highly relevant to the full faith and credit issues regarding same-sex marriage, and the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. It reviews the Full Faith and Credit Clause case law, and analyzes the legislative histories of all modern congressional legislation in the area. It argues that while Congress does not have plenary power to expand or dilute the mandates of the Clause, it does have authority to act in the absence of clear guidance from the Court on the scope of those mandates. It concludes both that the Constitution requires that protection orders be granted full faith and credit, and that the VAWA provision is within the scope of Congress' authority under the Clause.
Keywords: domestic violence, full faith and credit, protection from abuse orders, Violence Against Women Act
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