What are some things that states cannot do under the Constitution?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

There are many things that the state governments may not do under the Constitution.  The Constitution was written in part to limit the power of the state governments and give the federal government more power than it had previously had.  Among the things that the states cannot do are:

  • Regulate commerce between them and other states.
  • Enter into any treaties or alliances with other countries.
  • Coin money of their own.
  • Grant titles of nobility.
  • Pass any law that infringes on the liberty of people to make contracts.

There are many more things that are forbidden to the states.  Many of them are found in Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution.

thetall's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #3)

As mentioned, there are many other things that state governments may not do under the constitution. The constitution seeks to ensure there is harmony within its applicable territory. This balance can only be attained by regulating state governments which exercise some level of power within their respective territories. Additional things that the state governments cannot do include:

  • Issuing bills of credit as was the case in Missouri when it issued bills of credit to pay taxes which was later ruled as unconstitutional. Bills of credit are issued with the intention of working as money.
  • Passing of ex-post facto laws with the intention of increasing the punishment of a crime over and above the existing law established to deal with that particular crime during proceedings or sentencing.
  • Letter of Marque issued to mercenaries by a government to carry out acts of retaliation against another nation on its behalf.
  • State governments are not at liberty to keep war ships and troops without congress consent and may not engage in war unless invaded.

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