The Vessel Abby Dodge v. United States, No. 41

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWhite
Citation56 L.Ed. 390,55 L.Ed. 390,223 U.S. 166,32 S.Ct. 310
PartiesTHE VESSEL 'ABBY DODGE,' A. Kalimeris, Claimant, Appt., v. UNITED STATES
Decision Date19 February 1912
Docket NumberNo. 41

223 U.S. 166
32 S.Ct. 310
55 L.Ed. 390
56 L.Ed. 390
THE VESSEL 'ABBY DODGE,' A. Kalimeris, Claimant, Appt.,

v.

UNITED STATES.

No. 41.
Argued November 6 and 7, 1911.
Decided February 19, 1912.

Page 167

Mr. Edward R. Gunby for appellant.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 167-169 intentionally omitted]

Page 169

Solicitor General Lehmann and Mr. Charles E. McNabb, Assistant Attorney, for appellee.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 169-172 intentionally omitted.]

Page 172

Mr. Chief Justice White delivered the opinion of the court:

By libel of the vessel Abby Dodge, either her forfeiture or the enforcement of a money penalty was sought because of an alleged violation of the act of June 20, 1906, 34 Stat. at L. 313, chap. 3442, U. S. Comp. Stat. Supp. 1909, p. 1087, entitled, 'An Act to Regulate the Landing, Delivery, Cure, and Sale of Sponges.' The specific violation alleged was 'that there was at the port of Tarpon Springs, within the southern district of Florida, on the 28th day of September, A. D. 1908, landed from the said vessel, Abby Dodge, 1,229 bunches of sponges, taken by means of diving and apparatus from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida, . . . at a time other than between October 1st and May 1st of any year, and at a time subsequent to May 1st, A. D. 1907.'

The owner of the vessel appeared and filed exceptions which, although urged in various forms, were all, as stated by counsel, 'directed to and based upon the alleged unconstitutionality of the said act of June 20, 1906.' The exceptions were overruled, and, the claimant declining further to plead, a decree was entered assessing a fine of $100 against the vessel. This appeal was then taken.

For the purposes of the questions upon which this case turns, we need only consider the 1st section of the act of June 20, 1906, which is as follows:

'That from and after May first, anno Domini nineteen hundred and seven, it shall be unlawful to land, deliver, cure, or offer for sale at any port or place in the United States, any sponges taken by means of diving or diving

Page 173

apparatus from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico or Straits of Florida: Provided, That sponges taken or gathered by such process between October first and May first of each year in a greater depth of water than fifty feet shall not be subject to the provisions of this act: And provided further, That no sponges taken from said waters shall be landed, delivered, cured, or offered for sale at any port or place in the United States of a smaller size than four inches in diameter.'

Broadly, the act, it is insisted, is repugnant to the Constitution because, in one aspect, it deals with a matter exclusively within the authority of the states, and in another because, irrespective of the question of state authority, the statute regulates a subject not within the national grasp, and hence not embraced within the legislative power of Congress. The first proceeds upon the assumption that the act regulates the taking or gathering of sponges attached to the land under water, within the territorial limits of the state of Florida, and it may be of other states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, prohibits internal commerce in sponges so taken or gathered, and is therefore plainly an unauthorized exercise of power by Congress. The second is based on the theory that, even if the act be construed as concerned only with sponges taken or gathered from land under water outside of the jurisdiction of any state, then its provisions are in excess of the power of Congress, because, under such hypothesis, the act can only apply to sponges taken from the bed of the ocean, which the national government has no power to deal with.

We briefly consider the two propositions. If the premise upon which the first rests be correct, that is to say, the assumption that the act, when rightly construed, applies to sponges taken or gathered from land under water within the territorial limits of the state of Florida or other states, the repugnancy of the act to the Constitution would plainly be established by the decisions of this court. In

Page 174

McCready v. Virginia, 94 U. S. 391, 24 L. ed. 248, the question for decision was whether the state of Virginia had such exclusive authority over the planting and gathering of oysters upon the soil in tide waters within the territorial limits of the state as not only to give the state the power to control that subject, but to confer the right to exclude the citizens of...

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72 practice notes
  • United States v. States of Louisiana, Texas Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, No. 10
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 31, 1960
    ...404, 23 S.Ct. 606, 608, 47 L.Ed. 865; State of Louisiana v. Mississippi, 202 U.S. 1, 52, 26 S.Ct. 408, 422, 50 L.Ed. 913; The Abby Dodge, 223 U.S. 166, 174, 32 S.Ct. 310, 312, 56 L.Ed. 390; Borax Consolidated Ltd., v. Los Angeles, 296 U.S. 10, 15—16, 56 S.Ct. 23, 25—26, 80 L.Ed. 9. See also......
  • State v. Casey, No. 195.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • November 10, 1931
    ...394, 67 L. Ed. 785, 24 A. L. R. 1238; St. Louis S. W. Ry. v. Arkansas, 235 U. S. 350, 35 S. Ct. 99, 59 L. Ed. 265; Abby Hodge v. U. S., 223 U. S. 166, 32 S. Ct. 310, 56 L. Ed. 390; United States, ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. Del. & Hud. Co., 213 U. S. 366, 29 S. Ct. 527, 53 L. Ed. 836; Bridgeport ......
  • Wilmina Shipping AS v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., Civil Action No. 11-2184 (ABJ)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • March 27, 2013
    ...Reply at 18, citing B-West Imports, Inc. v. United States, 880 F. Supp. 853, 863 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1995); Abby Dodge v. United States, 223 U.S. 166, 176 (1912); Buttfield v. Stranahan, 192 U.S. 470, 493 (1904); Arjay Assocs., Inc. v. Bush, 891 F.2d 894, 896 (Fed. Cir. 1989); Ganadera Indus. ......
  • LOCAL 36 OF INTERNAT'L FISHERMEN, ETC. v. United States, No. 11638.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 29, 1949
    ...v. Sorrentino, D.C., 78 F.Supp. 425, 428. 14 Manaka v. Monterey Sardine Industries, Inc., D.C., 41 F.Supp. 531, 533; The Abby Dodge, 223 U.S. 166, 176, 32 S.Ct. 310, 56 L.Ed. 390; Lord v. Steamship Company, 102 U.S. 541, 544, 21 L.Ed. 15 The amount of the industry control by a group through......
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72 cases
  • United States v. States of Louisiana, Texas Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, No. 10
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 31, 1960
    ...404, 23 S.Ct. 606, 608, 47 L.Ed. 865; State of Louisiana v. Mississippi, 202 U.S. 1, 52, 26 S.Ct. 408, 422, 50 L.Ed. 913; The Abby Dodge, 223 U.S. 166, 174, 32 S.Ct. 310, 312, 56 L.Ed. 390; Borax Consolidated Ltd., v. Los Angeles, 296 U.S. 10, 15—16, 56 S.Ct. 23, 25—26, 80 L.Ed. 9. See also......
  • State v. Casey, No. 195.
    • United States
    • North Carolina United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • November 10, 1931
    ...394, 67 L. Ed. 785, 24 A. L. R. 1238; St. Louis S. W. Ry. v. Arkansas, 235 U. S. 350, 35 S. Ct. 99, 59 L. Ed. 265; Abby Hodge v. U. S., 223 U. S. 166, 32 S. Ct. 310, 56 L. Ed. 390; United States, ex rel. Atty. Gen. v. Del. & Hud. Co., 213 U. S. 366, 29 S. Ct. 527, 53 L. Ed. 836; Bridgeport ......
  • Wilmina Shipping AS v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., Civil Action No. 11-2184 (ABJ)
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • March 27, 2013
    ...Reply at 18, citing B-West Imports, Inc. v. United States, 880 F. Supp. 853, 863 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1995); Abby Dodge v. United States, 223 U.S. 166, 176 (1912); Buttfield v. Stranahan, 192 U.S. 470, 493 (1904); Arjay Assocs., Inc. v. Bush, 891 F.2d 894, 896 (Fed. Cir. 1989); Ganadera Indus. ......
  • LOCAL 36 OF INTERNAT'L FISHERMEN, ETC. v. United States, No. 11638.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • November 29, 1949
    ...v. Sorrentino, D.C., 78 F.Supp. 425, 428. 14 Manaka v. Monterey Sardine Industries, Inc., D.C., 41 F.Supp. 531, 533; The Abby Dodge, 223 U.S. 166, 176, 32 S.Ct. 310, 56 L.Ed. 390; Lord v. Steamship Company, 102 U.S. 541, 544, 21 L.Ed. 15 The amount of the industry control by a group through......
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