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Supreme Court, Equity conflict, Enforcement measures, Full Faith and Credit Clause, State courts, Law and equity


As this Article relates, the current problem with interstate en­forcement of injunctions and other equitable decrees is illustrated by the Court's confusion in Baker. The Court reached the correct result in the case before it, but the basic problems of "equity con­flict" remain unresolved. Both the Court's opinion and the two con­currences were unsatisfactory because the Court failed to address the key underlying issue of whether or to what extent courts may rely on state law to enjoin extraterritorial conduct. Had the Court focused on this issue, I argue, it could have based its decision upon a more appealing rationale. This confusion is likely to intensify in numerous other contexts. For example, the recently enacted De­fense of Marriage Act, addressing same-sex marriage issues, amends the Full Faith and Credit Act to legislate an exception to the consti­tutional language according full faith and credit to "public Acts" and "judicial Proceedings" of other states. Although this Article does not address in detail the same-sex marriage debate, the larger themes identified in this Article have significance there as well. The debate illustrates that what I term "the equity conflict" in­volves a wide range of non-trivial issues. The danger is that the Full Faith and Credit Clause will become an instrument through which states can export legislative power to the detriment of other states' interests.

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Virginia Law Review