Article IV, Section 1, of the United States Constitution which requires the states to given effect (i.e., full faith and credit) to the laws, public records, and judicial decisions of other states.  Thus, for instance, a judgment entered in one state is generally enforceable in every other state and may generally be attacked in another state only on grounds that would have been permitted in the state where the judgment was entered.

Reference Desk

Baker v. General Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222 (1998).

The Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause provides:

“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. IV, § 1.Pursuant to that Clause, Congress has prescribed:

“Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State, Territory or Possession from which they are taken.” 28 U. S. C. § 1738.The animating purpose of the full faith and credit command, as this Court explained inMilwaukee County v. M. E. White Co., 296 U. S. 268 (1935),

“was to alter the status of the several states as independent foreign sovereignties, each free to ignore obligations created under the laws or by the judicial proceedings of the others, and to make them integral parts of a single nation throughout which a remedy upon a just obligation might be demanded as of right, irrespective of the state of its origin.” Id., at 277.See also Estin v. Estin, 334 U. S. 541, 546 (1948) (the Full Faith and Credit Clause”substituted a command for the earlier principles of comity and thus basically altered the status of the States as independent sovereigns”).

Our precedent differentiates the credit owed to laws (legislative measures and common law) and to judgments. “In numerous cases this Court has held that credit must be given to the judgment of another state although the forum would not be required to entertain the suit on which the judgment was founded.” Milwaukee County, 296 U. S., at 277. The Full Faith and Credit Clause does not compel “a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.” Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. Industrial Accident Comm’n, 306 U. S. 493, 501 (1939); see Phillips 233*233Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, 472 U. S. 797, 818-819 (1985). Regarding judgments, however, the full faith and credit obligation is exacting. A final judgment in one State, if rendered by a court with adjudicatory authority over the subject matter and persons governed by the judgment, qualifies for recognition throughout the land. For claim and issue preclusion (res judicata) purposes, in other words, the judgment of the rendering State gains nationwide force. See, e. g., Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v.Epstein, 516 U. S. 367, 373 (1996); Kremer v. Chemical Constr. Corp., 456 U. S. 461, 485 (1982); see also Reese & Johnson, The Scope of Full Faith and Credit to Judgments, 49 Colum. L. Rev. 153 (1949).

A court may be guided by the forum State’s “public policy” in determining the lawapplicable to a controversy. See Nevada v. Hall, 440 U. S. 410, 421-424 (1979).  But our decisions support no roving “public policy exception” to the full faith and credit due judgments. See Estin, 334 U. S., at 546 (Full Faith and Credit Clause”ordered submission . . . even to hostile policies reflected in the judgment of another State, because the practical operation of the federal system, which the Constitution designed, demanded it.”); Fauntleroy v. Lum, 210 U. S. 230, 237 (1908) (judgment of Missouri court 234*234 entitled to full faith and credit in Mississippi even if Missouri judgment rested on a misapprehension of Mississippi law). In assuming the existence of a ubiquitous “public policy exception” permitting one State to resist recognition of another State’s judgment, the District Court in the Bakers’ wrongful-death action, see supra, at 230, misread our precedent. “The full faith and credit clause is one of the provisions incorporated into the Constitution by its framers for the purpose of transforming an aggregation of independent, sovereign States into a nation.” Sherrer v. Sherrer, 334 U. S. 343, 355 (1948). We are “aware of [no] considerations of local policy or law which could rightly be deemed to impair the force and effect which the full faith and credit clause and the Act of Congress require to be given to [a money] judgment outside the state of its rendition.” Magnolia Petroleum Co. v. Hunt, 320 U. S. 430, 438 (1943).

The Court has never placed equity decrees outside the full faith and credit domain. Equity decrees for the payment of money have long been considered equivalent to judgments at law entitled to nationwide recognition. See, e. g., Barber v. Barber, 323 U. S. 77 (1944) (unconditional adjudication of petitioner’s right to recover a sum of money is entitled to full faith and credit); see also A. Ehrenzweig, Conflict of Laws § 51, p. 182 (rev. ed. 1962) (describing as “indefensible” the old doctrine that an equity decree, because it does not “merge” the claim into the judgment, does not qualify for recognition). We see no reason why the preclusive effects of an adjudication on parties and those “in privity” with them, i. e., claim preclusion and issue preclusion (res judicata and collateral estoppel), should differ depending solely upon the type of relief sought in a civil action. Cf. Barber, 323 235*235 U. S., at 87 (Jackson, J., concurring) (Full Faith and Credit Clause and its implementing statute speak not of “judgments” but of “`judicial proceedings’ without limitation”); Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 2 (providing for “one form of action to be known as `civil action,’ ” in lieu of discretely labeled actions at law and suits in equity).

Full faith and credit, however, does not mean that States must adopt the practices of other States regarding the time, manner, and mechanisms for enforcing judgments. Enforcement measures do not travel with the sister state judgment as preclusive effects do; such measures remain subject to the evenhanded control of forum law. See McElmoyle ex rel. Bailey v. Cohen, 13 Pet. 312, 325 (1839) (judgment may be enforced only as “laws [of enforcing forum] may permit”); see also Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 99 (1969) (“The local law of the forum determines the methods by which a judgment of another state is enforced.”).

Orders commanding action or inaction have been denied enforcement in a sister State when they purported to accomplish an official act within the exclusive province of that other State or interfered with litigation over which the ordering State had no authority. Thus, a sister State’s decree concerning land ownership in another State has been held ineffective to transfer title, see Fall v. Eastin, 215 U. S. 1 (1909),although such a decree may indeed preclusively adjudicate the rights and obligations running between the parties to the foreign litigation, see, e. g., Robertson v. Howard,229 U. S. 254, 261 (1913) (“[I]t may not be doubted that a  court of equity in one State in a proper case could compel a defendant before it to convey property situated in another State.”). And antisuit injunctions regarding litigation elsewhere, even if compatible with due process as a direction constraining parties to the decree, seeCole v. Cunningham, 133 U. S. 107 (1890), in fact have not controlled the second court’s actions regarding litigation in that court. See, e. g., James v. Grand Trunk Western R. Co., 14 Ill. 2d 356, 372, 152 N. E. 2d 858, 867 (1958); see also E. Scoles & P. Hay, Conflict of Laws § 24.21, p. 981 (2d ed. 1992) (observing that antisuit injunction “does not address, and thus has no preclusive effect on, the merits of the litigation [in the second forum]”). Sanctions for violations of an injunction, in any event, are generally administered by the court that issued the injunction. See, e. g.,Stiller v. Hardman, 324 F. 2d 626, 628 (CA2 1963) (nonrendition forum enforces monetary relief portion of a judgment but leaves enforcement of injunctive portion to rendition forum).