Smith v. Maryland

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United States Supreme Court

59 U.S. 71

Smith  v.  Maryland

THIS case was brought up by writ of error from the circuit court of the second judicial circuit of the State of Maryland, in and for Anne Arundel county.

The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

It was argued by Mr. Latrobe, for the plaintiff in error, and Mr. Campbell, for the State of Maryland.

Mr. Latrobe contended that all the laws of Maryland, namely: 1833, ch. 254; 1837, ch. 310; 1846, ch. 38; 1849, ch. 217, and a law passed in 1854, should be taken in connection as forming a body of legislation in pari materia. 12 How. 299.

These laws were said to be unconstitutional on these grounds, namely:--

1. Because they are repugnant to the 8th section of the first article of the constitution of the United States, which grants to congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.

2. Because they are repugnant to the 2d section of the third article, which declares that the judicial powers of the United States shall extend to cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

3. Because the said laws contain (with the exception of the law of 1854) no provision for an oath or affirmation as to probable cause before issuing a warrant, nor was such oath or affirmation, in fact, made, or any warrant issued prior to the seizure.

4. Because the said laws are repugnant to the second section of article fourth, which declares that the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.

Mr. Campbell made the following points:--

1. That the soil of the Chesapeake Bay is vested in the State of Maryland as the successor of the lord proprietary, and that the object and effect of the laws assailed is to protect the oysters while fixed in such soil, and for which it alone has title to them before they become articles of commerce; and that the protection thus extended does not obstruct the free use of the waters of Mayland for commerce or navigation. Browne and Kennedy, 5 Harris & Johnson, 195; Casey and Inloes, 1 Gill, 512; Corfield and Coryell, 4 Wash. C. C. R. 371; Bennett and Boggs, Baldwin, 72; Martin and waddell, 16 Pet. 367; 3 Kent's Commentaries, 439.

2. That the offences punished by the laws in question are not within the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of the United States. Corfield and Coryell, (above cited;) United States v. Bevans, 3 Wheat. 386; 2 Brown's Civ. and Adm. Law, Appendix, 420.

Mr. Justice CURTIS delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).