• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court’s decision signaled a retreat from the strong nationalistic position the Court took in an 1824 case.

A Delaware statute allowed the Blackbird Creek Marsh Company to dam a minor navigable stream to drain a swamp. In Gibbons v. Ogden[case]Gibbons v. Ogden[Gibbons v. Ogden] (1824), the Supreme Court took a strong nationalistic stand defending the federal power to regulate commerce. Gibbons would have allowed the Court to invalidate the Delaware statute, but the Court chose to uphold the statute on the grounds that the federal government had not exercised its power. This brief observation was developed into a theory that the federal government could lose its dominance in interstate commerce if it allowed its power to lie dormant under what came to be called the doctrine of the dormant commerce power. This weakened the already somewhat elusive commerce power of Congress. Chief Justice John MarshallMarshall, John;Willson v. Blackbird Creek Marsh Co.[Willson v. Blackbird Creek Marsh Co.] wrote the unanimous decision at a time when there were only six members because of the death of Robert Trimble.Commerce clause;Willson v. Blackbird Creek Marsh Co.[Willson v. Blackbird Creek Marsh Co.]

Commerce, regulation of


Gibbons v. Ogden

McCray v. United States

McCulloch v. Maryland

Categories: History