Cooley v. Board of Wardens

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Cooley v. Board of Wardens
Argued February 9–11, 1852
Decided March 2, 1852
Full case nameAaron B. Cooley, Plaintiff in Error v. The Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia, to the use of the Society for the Relief of Distressed Pilots, their Widows and Children, Defendants
Citations53 U.S. 299 (more)
12 How. 299; 13 L. Ed. 996
The Commerce Clause extends to laws related to pilotage. State laws related to commerce powers can be valid if Congress is silent on the matter.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Roger B. Taney
Associate Justices
John McLean · James M. Wayne
John Catron · John McKinley
Peter V. Daniel · Samuel Nelson
Robert C. Grier · Benjamin R. Curtis
Case opinions
MajorityCurtis, joined by Taney, Catron, Nelson, Grier
DissentMcLean, joined by Wayne
McKinley took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
Laws applied
Commerce Clause

Cooley v. Board of Wardens, 53 U.S. (12 How.) 299 (1852), was a US Supreme Court case that held that a Pennsylvania law requiring all ships entering or leaving Philadelphia to hire a local pilot did not violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.[1] Those who did not comply with the law had been required to pay a fee. Benjamin R. Curtis wrote for the majority, "It is the opinion of a majority of the court that the mere grant to Congress of the power to regulate commerce, did not deprive the States of power to regulate pilots, and that although Congress had legislated on this subject, its legislation manifests an intention, with a single exception, not to regulate this subject, but to leave its regulation to the several states."

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