Decisions of the Supreme Court

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Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

In 1798, the state of New York agreed to grant steamboat developers Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston an exclusive right to operate steamboats on New York waterways.

Ten years later, Aaron Ogden bought a license from Fulton and Livingston to operate as a part of their monopoly, he thought that this license guaranteed that he would not face competition from other steamboat operators.


Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Thomas Gibbons began operating a competing steamboat with a federal license. Ogden sued on the grounds that Gibbons did not have a state license.

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Ogden argued that Gibbons’s federal license was invalid because the federal government did not have the power to regulate interstate waterways. New York State courts agreed with Ogden, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not.

Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

The Supreme Court reached a unanimous decision in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden. the opinion stated that both state and federal government have the authority to regulate commerce but that federal authority takes precedence over state authority.

Gonzales v. Raich (2005)

In 1996 California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, legalizing marijuana for medical use. California's law conflicted with the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which banned possession of marijuana.

Gonzales v. Raich (2005)

the DEA seized doctor prescribed Marijuana from Patient's homes. a group of medical marijuana users sued the DEA and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in federal district court.

Gonzales v. Raich (2005)

The medical marijuana users argued the Controlled Substances Act exceeded Congress' commerce clause power. The district court ruled against the group.

Gonzales v. Raich (2005)

The court ruled that the commerce clause along with the federal CSA could allow the federal government to preempt state laws legalizing the use of medical marijuana. The ruling was 6-3.

Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)

The Keating-Owen Child Labor Act is an act passed by Congress under the Commerce Clause. It states interstate shipment of goods produced by child labor was illegal.

Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)

Roland Dagenhart worked at a textile mill with his two sons who were younger than fourteen. With the new Child Labor Act, Dagenhart's two sons would not be allowed to work.

Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)

Dagenhart, sued and argued that the law exceeded congressional Commerce Clause authority. The Supreme Court agreed with Dagenhart.

Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)

The Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not have the power to regulate the manufacture of a good simply because the good might be shipped in interstate commerce. The Supreme court ruled the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act unconstitutional.