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Territorial Limitations on State Authority.

In the United States it is settled that, the legislative authority of every State must spend its force within the territorial limits of the State.note This doctrine finds practical application as a matter of constitutional law, in the rule, first, that State laws have no authority on the high seas beyond State lines, because that is the point of contact with other nations, and all international questions belong to the national government; and, secondly, that the State cannot provide for the punishment as crimes of acts committed beyond the State boundary, because such acts, if offences at all, must be offences against the State in whose limits they were committed. On the other hand, persons who have recourse to the tribunals of the State must take the law of the State as they find it; and though the courts of the States generally, in determining the application of law, defer to Private International Law, they do not do so as a matter of Constitutional Law, save in the limited class of cases under Art. iv., sections 1 and 2, and Private International Law is in general part of the laws of the State upon which State legislation may operate.

It has been seen already,note that the Parliaments of British Colonies are local and territorial legislatures, and that certain limitations of power are deduced therefrom. The most important of these limitations remain, and are neither greater nor less in the States of the Commonwealth than they were in the Colonies which preceded them.

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