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Gibbons vs. Ogden
March 2, 1824
United States Supreme Court,22 U.S. 1, 9 Wheat. 1 1 (1824)

Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton was given the right to navigate steamboats on New York State waters. Robert R. Livingston assigned Ogden the right to navigate the waters between New York City and various ports in New Jersey.

Ogden brought upon this lawsuit to keep Gibbons from operating steamboats on the waters of New York due to his exclusive privileges. Ogden was granted the injunction by the court and Gibbons appealed, stating that his steamships were licensed under the Act of Congress. It was entitled “An act for enrolling and licensing ships and vessels to be employed in the coasting trade and fisheries, and for also regulating the same”. Gibbons asserted that the Act of Congress superseded the privilege granted by the state of New York to Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton.

The Chancellor acknowledged the injunction, stating that the New York law granting the exclusive privilege was not repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and that the grants were legitimate. Gibbons appealed and the decision was affirmed by the Court for the Trial of Impeachments and Correction of Errors which happens to be the highest Court of law and equity in the state of New York.


1. Does a state have the power to grant an exclusive right to the use of state waterways not in agreement with federal law?
2. Does a state have the right to pass laws which can affect interstate commerce parallel with that of Congress?
3. Do states have the power to regulate those phases of interstate commerce which can be prearranged by only a single authority?
In the case of Gibbons vs. Ogden the court decided the Interstate of Commerce Clause of Article I gave congressional command over commerce should lengthen to the regulation of all…...