Interstate Compact (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A voluntary arrangement between two or more states that is designed to solve their common problems and that becomes part of the laws of each state.
Interstate compacts in the United States were first used by the American colonies to settle boundary disputes. After the American Revolution, states continued to use interstate compacts to meet their various needs. Although these compacts were necessary for peaceful interaction between the states, they posed a threat to the future of the United States: if states were allowed to form powerful coalitions, they might be tempted to break away from the rest of the country and fracture the Union.
Under Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, of the U.S. Constitution, "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State." This clause, the Interstate Compact Clause, was adopted with no debate. Moreover, it received only cursory discussion in subsequent papers written by the Constitution's Framers, so its purpose and scope were not developed.
Most courts followed the lead of Justice JOSEPH STORY (1779845), of the Supreme Court, an influential legal commentator of the nineteenth century. According to Story, the clause was meant to protect the supremacy of the federal government. With this general principle as guidance, courts interpreted the clause to give Congress the...
(The entire section is 1045 words.)
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