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Application of Full Faith and Credit Clause to Equitable Decrees for the Conveyance of Foreign Land, 34 Yale Law Journal 591 (1925)


The Constitution of the United States provides: "Full faith and credit shall be given in such 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 approved, and the effect thereof." In pursuance of the power vested in it, Congress has prescribed the mode of authentication and the effects of such acts, records and proceedings as follows : "and the said records and judicial proceedings so authenticated shall have such faith and credit given to them in· every court within the United States as they have by law or usage in the courts of the state from which they are taken." It is a settled rule that the full faith and credit clause applies only to substantive rights and that it has· no application to matters of procedure. Hence, if 'it can be shown that equitable decrees do not establish obligations, that is, right-duty relations, but are merely methods for the enforcement of existing legal relations,· it follows of course that they are not within the purview of the full-faith and credit clause. The first issue relates therefore to the nature and effect of equitable decrees in general.

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