ArtIV.S2.C1.1.5 Discrimination in Private Rights

Article IV, Section 2, Clause 1:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

Not only has judicial construction of the comity clause excluded certain privileges of a public nature from its protection, but the courts also have established the proposition that the purely private and personal rights to which the clause admittedly extends are not in all cases beyond the reach of state legislation which differentiates citizens and noncitizens. Broadly speaking, these rights are held subject to the reasonable exercise by a state of its police power, and the Court has recognized that there are cases in which discrimination against nonresidents may be reasonably resorted to by a state in aid of its own public health, safety and welfare. To that end a state may reserve the right to sell insurance to persons who have resided within the state for a prescribed period of time. 1 It may require a nonresident who does business within the state 2 or who uses the highways of the state 3 to consent, expressly or by implication, to service of process on an agent within the state. Without violating this section, a state may limit the dower rights of a nonresident to lands of which the husband died seized while giving a resident dower in all lands held during the marriage, 4 or may leave the rights of nonresident married persons in respect of property within the state to be governed by the laws of their domicile, rather than by the laws it promulgates for its own residents. 5 But a state may not give a preference to resident creditors in the administration of the property of an insolvent foreign corporation. 6 An act of the Confederate Government, enforced by a state, to sequester a debt owed by one of its residents to a citizen of another state was held to be a flagrant violation of this clause. 7

Footnotes

  1.  La Tourette v. McMaster, 248 U.S. 465 (1919).
  2.  Doherty & Co. v. Goodman, 294 U.S. 623 (1935).
  3.  Hess v. Pawloski, 274 U.S. 352, 356 (1927).
  4.  Ferry v. Spokane, P. & S. Ry., 258 U.S. 314 (1922), followed in Ferry v. Corbett, 258 U.S. 609 (1922).
  5.  Conner v. Elliott, 59 U.S. (18 How.) 591, 593 (1856).
  6.  Blake v. McClung, 172 U.S. 239, 248 (1898).
  7.  Williams v. Bruffy, 96 U.S. 176, 184 (1878).