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Constitutional Law Keyed to Farber
Gibbons v. Ogden
Citation:22 U.S. (9 Wheat.) 1 (1824)
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In 1903, the New York legislature granted Robert Livingston and Robert Fulton an exclusive license to operate steamships in New York waters. Livingston and Fulton assigned Aaron Ogden the right to operate a ferry between New York City and Elizabethtown Point, New Jersey. Thomas Gibbons, a competing ferry operator, technically violated the New York license, because he entered New York waters. But Gibbons’ ferries were licensed as “vessels in the coasting trade” pursuant to a 1793 federal statute. Ogden obtained an injunction in New York state courts, prohibiting Gibbons from operating his vessels in New York waters. Gibbons appealed, claiming the judgment was inconsistent with the Commerce Clause.
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