Compacts are agreements between two or more states that bind them to the compacts’ provisions, just as a contract binds two or more parties in a business agreement. As such, compacts are subject to the substantive principles of contract law and are protected by the constitutional prohibition against laws that impair the obligations of contracts (United States Constitution, Article I, Section 10).
Compacting states are bound to observe the terms of their agreements, even if those terms are inconsistent with other state laws. Compacts between states are somewhat similar to treaties between nations. Compacts have the force and effect of statutory law (whether enacted by statute or not) and they take precedence over conflicting state laws, regardless of when those laws are enacted.
However, unlike treaties, compacts are not dependent solely upon the good will of the parties. Once enacted, compacts may not be unilaterally renounced by a member state, except as provided by the compacts themselves. Moreover, Congress and the courts can compel compliance with the terms of interstate compacts. This is why compacts are considered an effective means of ensuring interstate cooperation.
The membership listed in the following compacts pertains only to appointments made by the Governor from the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Information accurate as of December 2023