« ForrigeFortsett »
exercise of its powers, from any restraining or controlling action of the local governments.
(7.) The state governments have no jurisdiction in places ceded to the United States.
The state governments may likewise lose all jurisdiction Places, cadad over places purchased by Congress, by the consent of the legislature of the state, for the erection of forts, dock yards, light houses, hospitals, military academies, and other needful buildings. The question which has arisen on this subject, was as to the effect of a proviso or reservation, usually annexed to the consent of the state, that all civil and criminal process, issued under the authority of the state, might be executed on the lands so ceded, in like manner as if the cession had not been made. This point was much discussed in the Circuit Court of the United States in Rhode Island, in the case of the United States v. Cornell. It was held, that a purchase of lands within the jurisdiction of a state, with the consent of the state, for the national purposes contemplated by the constitution, did, ipso facto, by the very terms of the constitution, fall within the exclusive legislation of Congress, and that the state jurisdiction was completely ousted. What, then, is the true intent and effect of the saving clause annexed to the cessions ? It does not imply the reservation of any concurrent jurisdiction or legislation, or that the state retained a right to punish for acts done within the ceded lands. The whole apparent object of the proviso was to prevent the ceded lands from becoming a sanctuary for fugitives from justice, for acts done within the acknowledged jurisdiction of the state ; and such permission to execute process is not incompatible with exclusive sovereignty and jurisdiction. The acceptance of a cession, with this reservation, amounts to an agreement of the new sovereign, to permit the free exercise of such pro
a Const. art. 1. sec. 8.
cess, as being quoad hoc his own process. This construction has been frequently declared by the courts of the United States, and it comports entirely with the intention of the parties, and upon any other construction the cession would be nugatory and void. Judge Story doubted whether Congress were even at liberty, by the terms of the constitution, to purchase lands, with the consent of a state, under any qualification of that consent, which would deprive them of exclusive legislation over the place. The courts of the United States have sole and exclusive jurisdiction over an offence committed within a ceded place, notwithstanding the ordinary reservation of the right to execute civil and criminal process of the state. That was no reservation of any sovereignty or jurisdiction.
Congress, in exercising powers of exclusive legislation over a ceded place or district, unite the powers of general, with those of local legislation. The power of local legislation carries with it, as an incident, the right to make that power effectual. Congress exercises that particular local power, like all its other powers, in its high character as the legislature of the Union, and its general power may come in aid of these local powers. It is, therefore, competent for Congress to try and punish an offender for an offence committed within one of those local districts, in a place not within such jurisdiction; or to provide for the pursuit and arrest of a criminal escaping from one of those districts, after committing a felony there; or to punish a person for concealing, out of the district, a felony committed within it. All these incidental powers are necessary to the complete execution of the principal power, and the Supreme Court, in Cohens v. Virginia, held, that they were vested in Congress.
It follows as a consequence, from this doctrine of the federal courts, that state courts cannot take cognizance of any
a 6 Wheaton, 426-429.
offences committed within such ceded districts; and, on the other hand, that the inhabitants of such places cannot exercise any civil or political privileges under the laws of the state, because they are not bound by those laws. This has been so decided in the state courts. But if, in any case, the United States have not actually purchased, and the state has not, in point of fact, ceded the place or territory to the United States, its jurisdiction remains, notwithstanding the place may have been occupied, ever since its surrender by Great Britain, by the troops of the United States, as a fort or garrison. The Supreme Court of New-York accordingly held, in the case of The People v. Godfrey, that they had jurisdiction of a murder committed by one soldier upon another within Niagara fort. Nor would the purchase of the land by the United States be alone sufficient to vest them with the jurisdiction, or to oust that of the state, without being accompanied or followed with the consent of the legislature of the state. This was so decided in the case of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Young.
(8.) The construction of the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states.
I proceed next to examine the judicial decisions under Power to the power given to Congress to "regulate commerce with cominerco. foreign nations, and among the several states;" and it will be perceived, that the questions arising under this power have been of the utmost consequence to the interests of the Union, and the residuary claims and sovereignty of the states.
The first question that arose upon this part of the constitution was, respecting the power of Congress to interruptor destroy the commerce of the United States, by laying a general embargo, without any limitation as to time. By the act
a Commonwealth v. Clary, 8 Mass. Rep. 72. Same v. Young, 1 Hall's Journal of Jurisprudence, 53.
b 17 Johnson, 225.
of Congress of 220 December, 1807, an embargo was laid on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbours of the United States, and a prohibition of exportation from the United States, either by land or water, of any goods, wares, or merchandise, of foreign or domestic growth or manufacture. There were several supplementary acts auxiliary to this principal one, and intended more effectually to enforce it, under certain specific exceptions. In the case of The United States v. The Brigantine William, in the District Court of Massachusetts, in September, 1806, it was objected, that the act was unconstitutional, for that Congress had no right, under the power to regulate commerce, thus to annihilate it, by interdicting it entirely with foreign nations. But the court decided, that the embargo act was within the constitutional provision. The power of Congress was sovereign relative to commercial intercourse, qualified by the limitations and restrictions expressed in the constitution ; and by the treaty-making power of the president and senate, Congress had a right to control or abridge commerce for the advancement of great national purposes. Non-intercourse and embargo laws are within the range of legislative discretion; and if Congress have the power, for purposes of safety, or preparation, or counteraction, to suspend commercial intercourse with foreign nations, they are not limited as to the duration, more than as to the manner and extent of the
A still graver question was presented for the consideration of the federal judiciary, in the case of Gibbons v. Ogden, decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in February term, 1824. That decision went to declare, that several acts of the legislature of New York, granting to Livingston and Fulton the exclusive navigation of the waters of the state in vessels propelled by steam, were anconstitutional and void acts, and repugnant to the power given to
a 2 Fall's Law Journal, 255.
b 9 Wheaton, 1.
Congress to regulate commerce, so far as those acts went to prohibit vessels licensed under the laws of Congress for carrying on the coasting trade, from navigating the waters of New-York.
It had been decided in the Court of Errors of New York, in 1812,4 that five several statutes of the state, passed between the years 1798 and 1811, inclusive, and granting and securing to the claimants the sole and exclusive right of using and navigating boats by steam in the waters of the state, for a term of years, were constitutional and valid acts. According to the doctrine of the court in that case, the internal commerce of the state by land and water remained entirely and exclusively within the scope of its original sovereignty. It was considered to be very difficult to draw an exact line between those regulations which relate to external, and those which relate to internal commerce, for every regulation of the one will, directly or indirectly, affect the other. But it was supposed that there could be no doubt that the acts of the state which were then under consideration, were not within any constitutional prohibition, for not one of the restrictions upon state power, contained in the 9th and 10th sections of the 1st article of the constitution, appeared to apply to the case; nor was there any existing regulation of Congress on the subject of commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, which was deemed to interfere with the grant. It was declared to be a very inadmissible proposition, that a state was devested of a capacity to grant an exclusive privilege of navigating a steam boat within its own waters, merely because Congress, in the plenary exercise of its power to regulate commerce, might make some future regulation inconsistent with the exercise of that privilege. The grant was taken, undoubtedly, subject to such future commercial regulations as Congress might lawfully prescribe; and to what extent they might lawfully
a Livingston v. Van Ingen, 9 Johnson's Rep. 507. VOL. I.