Some constitutional mandates wax and wane in importance, depending on the changing passions of the times. Few provisions of the U.S. Constitution have fluctuated more in importance than the Contract Clause. Article I, section 10, provides in part: “No state shall . . . pass any . . . Law impairing the Obligation of Contract.” Since 1787, judges, public officials, business leaders, and citizens have debated the meaning of these apparently simple words in the context of a changing American society and economy.
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