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Constitutional Law Keyed to Maggs
Cooley v. Board of Wardens
Citation:53 U.S. (12 How.) 299 (1851)
Aaron B. Cooley was the consignee of two vessels, both of which sailed from the Port of Philadelphia without engaging the services of a local pilot. One of the vessels was engaged in coastal trade, sailing from Philadelphia to New York. The Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia brought an action of debt Cooley to recover the frees for both vessels as provided under the state law of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania law required that every ship entering or leaving the port of Philadelphia engage a local pilot or suffer monetary penalties. The petitioner did not engage a pilot as required by the state law, but claimed that he was exempt because the state law violated various constitutional provisions including Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.
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