Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) Vote: 6-0 Pg. 128 9 Wheat, (22 U.S.) 1; 6 L. ED 23 (1824)
The Facts of the case are these: Aaron Ogden held an exclusive right to navigate steamboats in New York waters. He held a monopoly which was granted by the state of New York through legislation. Gibbons held a “coasting license” from the Federal Government. When Gibbons began operating a steamboat ferry service between New York and New Jersey; Ogden obtained an injunction in the New York Court System.
The Issues of the case are these: 1. Does the New York State Legislature have the right to give exclusive navigation rights to someone traveling in the waters between two states? 2. Does the Federal Government have the right to permit someone to travel by the waterways between two states? 3. Is Ogden’s injunction valid?
The Decision of the court was unanimous in a 6 to 0 decision. Does the New York State Legislature have the right to give exclusive navigation rights’ to someone traveling in the waters between two states? No, the power to regulate commerce is with the U.S. Congress alone. Does the Federal Government have the right to permit someone to travel by waterways between two states? Yes, Congress has the power to regulate Commerce between the states. Is Ogden’s injunction valid? No, for New York State has no jurisdiction over the U.S. Congress.
Justice Marshal delivered the Opinion of the Court: The Court found that New York didn’t have the authority to regulate Commerce “among the states” in this case New York & New Jersey. The Court also found that Congress does have the right to regulate Commerce “among the states” due to the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The Court further invalidated Ogden’s injunction based on Jurisdiction, it was Congress’s authority not New York’s.
Though the Court has a unanimous decision, Justice Johnson concurred, he felt that even if the Federal licensing act didn’t exist, the case would be the same because of the Constitutional authority granted to Congress. He felt the states should be removed from Commerce completely.
This case put the Federal Congress in control and in charge of interstate commerce. It expanded the Commerce Clause and voided a right New York felt it had, to control its own commerce. This case yet again cemented the fact that the Federal Congress is superior to the States Congress’s.