ArtI.S10.C1.2.2.1 Limits on Issuing Legal Tender

Article I, Section 10, Clause 1:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

Relying on this clause, which applies only to the states and not to the Federal Government1, the Supreme Court has held that, where the marshal of a state court received state bank notes in payment and discharge of an execution, the creditor was entitled to demand payment in gold or silver.2 Because, however, there is nothing in the Constitution prohibiting a bank depositor from consenting when he draws a check that payment may be made by draft, a state law providing that checks drawn on local banks should, at the option of the bank, be payable in exchange drafts, was held valid.3

Footnotes

  1.  Jump to essay-1Juilliard v. Greenman, 110 U.S. 421, 446 (1884).
  2.  Jump to essay-2Gwin v. Breedlove, 43 U.S. (2 How.) 29, 38 (1844). See also Griffin v. Thompson, 43 U.S. (2 How.) 244 (1844).
  3.  Jump to essay-3Farmers & Merchants Bank v. Federal Reserve Bank, 262 U.S. 649, 659 (1923).