Federal Centralization: A Study and Criticism of the Expanding Scope of Congressional Legislation

By Walter Thompson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII
REGULATION OF TRANSPORTATION

THE extent to which the federal government has assumed control over the means and instrumentalities of transportation has differed materially with respect to transportation by water and transportation by land. With reference to transportation by land there has been an attempt to draw a line of demarcation between interstate and intrastate commerce. Such a line, if it exists at all with regard to transportation by water, is vague and indefinite. To use the language of Professor Goodnow: "In a word, there is no distinction between intrastate and interstate navigation. All navigation is subject to the regulation of Congress."1

Constitutional reasons may be found for a greater assumption of power by the federal government with regard to transportation by water than by land. Art. I, Sec. 8, clause 10 of the Constitution gives Congress power "to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas," and Art. III, Sec. 2 provides that the judicial power of the United States "shall extend . . . to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction." Obviously, the former clause merely gives Congress power to define and punish certain crimes. It is questionable whether the latter clause has added much to the power of Congress to regulate transportation by water.

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1
Frank J. Goodnow, Social Reform and the Constitution ( N. Y., 1911), p. 46.

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