Cooley v. Board of Wardens of Port of Philadelphia
COOLEY V. BOARD OF WARDENS OF PORT OF PHILADELPHIA
COOLEY V. BOARD OF WARDENS OF PORT OF PHILADELPHIA, 12 Howard 299 (1852). In the case of Gibbons v. Ogden (9 Wheaton 1 ), Chief Justice John Marshall intimated that the commerce clause of the Constitution gave Congress exclusive power over inter-state and foreign commerce. But subsequent Courts fell into confusion over the question. In the Cooley case, Associate Justice Benjamin R. Curtis resolved much of the uncertainty by distinguishing interstate commerce, which demanded uniform congressional regulation, from local concerns (such as control of pilotage in various ports), where states remained free to act during the silence of Congress. The Cooley case conclusively established the Supreme Court as arbiter of federal and state conflict over commerce.