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Commerce Clause Also Applies To Transport Of Goods


In its first major commerce clause case, Gibbons v. Ogden, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the commerce clause is intended to apply not only to the exchange of goods, but also to their transport, referring to the combined acts as “intercourse.” New York granted Aaron Ogden the exclusive right to operate steamships in the waters between New York and New Jersey, but his claim is challenged by competing steamship operator Thomas Gibbons. The Court finds in Gibbons’ favor, ruling that interstate waters are the jurisdiction of Congress under the commerce clause, and that states may not enact legislation that conflicts with federal law.