Gibbons V Ogden

600 Words3 Pages
The case of Gibbons vs. Ogden began to develop in 1807 when the rights to navigation not just between Albany and New York City, but of all New York waters were sold to Aaron Ogden. The federal government granted a license to another steamboat manager, Thomas Gibbons, entitling him to run ships in the Hudson River, which was supposedly Ogden’s. Ogden obtained a court order from a New York State Court forbidding Gibbons from operating his ferry in New York waters, on the basis that navigation was not a distinct form of commerce and therefore, was to be regulated by the state. Gibbons argued that according to the Constitution, Congress has the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states”, therefore his federally granted license was still valid despite the ruling of the state court. Ogden claimed that this was true only for goods, not navigation. Gibbons then sued Ogden for entry into the state and the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. John Marshall ruled in favor of Gibbons, determining that it was within the federal government’s power to control navigation and that the regulation of “commerce” included laws of navigation. Conduction of interstate commerce was a power reserved to Congress, Marshall ruled. I believe that Marshall granted this case cert. because there was a potential loophole in the Constitution regarding powers granted to the state and to Congress that both Gibbons and Ogden tried to play in their favor. Marshall saw this, and gave his interpretation of it, asserting that essentially, the federal government gets the benefit of the doubt. At the time, although it may have seemed like a not-so-important case, it was very revolutionary. John Marshall’s Supreme Court’s ruling provided a broader interpretation of the power mandated to Congress: “If, as has always been understood, the sovereignty of Congress,
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