Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Definition

A Supreme Court case that adopted an expansive view of the scope of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by holding that Congress had the power to regulate interstate commerce. The case involved the right of competing ferry services to operate in New York state waters after the New York state legislature had granted a monopoly. The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John Marshall, held that federal law preempted the New York-granted monopoly; thus, the state legislature’s granting of exclusive steamboat usage rights to one company was an impermissible restriction on interstate commerce. The Supreme Court refined the definition of “commerce” to include all phases of business (including navigation) and not just business traffic. Additionally, the Supreme Court held that Congress could regulate intrastate commerce if it had an impact on commercial activities in other states: “Commerce among the States, cannot stop at the external boundary line of each State, but may be introduced into the interior.”

For a full text of Gibbons v. Ogden, see: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0022_0001_ZO.html

 

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