Consent of Congress

The Constitution makes no provision with regard to the time when the consent of Congress shall be given or the mode or form by which it shall be signified.2283 While the consent will usually precede the compact or agreement, it may be given subsequently where the agreement relates to a matter which could not be well considered until its nature is fully developed.2284 The required consent is not necessarily an expressed consent; it may be inferred from circumstances.2285 It is sufficiently indicated, when not necessary to be made in advance, by the approval of proceedings taken under it.2286 The consent of Congress may be granted conditionally “upon terms appropriate to the subject and transgressing no constitutional limitations.”2287 Congress does not, by giving its consent to a compact, relinquish or restrict its own powers, as for example, its power to regulate interstate commerce.2288


Green v. Biddle, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 1, 85 (1823). [Back to text]
Virginia v. Tennessee, 148 U.S. 503 (1893). [Back to text]
Virginia v. West Virginia, 78 U.S. (11 Wall.) 39 (1871). [Back to text]
Wharton v. Wise, 153 U.S. 155, 173 (1894). [Back to text]
James v. Dravo Contracting Co., 302 U.S. 134 (1937). See also Arizona v. California, 292 U.S. 341, 345 (1934). When it approved the New York-New Jersey Waterfront Compact, 67 Stat. 541, Congress, for the first time, expressly gave its consent to the subsequent adoption of implementing legislation by the participating states. DeVeau v. Braisted, 363 U.S. 144, 145 (1960). [Back to text]
Pennsylvania v. Wheeling & Belmont Bridge Co., 59 U.S. (18 How.) 421, 433 (1856). [Back to text]