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Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court

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Classifying Arguments in the Case

Directions

The following is a list of arguments in the Gibbons v. Ogden court case. Read through each argument and decide whether it supports Gibbons' side in favor of Congress's regulation of commerce (G), Ogden's side in favor of New York's regulation of commerce (O), both sides (BOTH), or neither side (N).

  1. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution states:

    • "The Congress shall have the Power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. . . ."

    • The license issued to Gibbons by Congress gave him permission to be "employed in carrying on the coasting trade." The boats operated by Gibbons were used to transport passengers, not goods, so Congress should not be able to regulate that movement.

  2. The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

    • "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

  3. There are many areas in which the national government and state governments have concurrent power (shared power). For instance, both levels of government can levy taxes.

  4. In the case of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that when state and federal laws conflict, the federal law is supreme.

  5. Under the U.S. Constitution, states are able to pass inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a state.

  6. Under the Articles of Confederation, states were free to pass laws regarding interstate as well as intrastate commerce. This resulted in some laws that inhibited the free flow of commerce in the United States as a whole. For instance, some states levied import duties on goods coming from other states.

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