Monday, July 11, 2016

Hulsebosch on Navigability and the Transformation of the Common Law

Daniel J. Hulsebosch, New York University School of Law, has posted a very nice article from his backlist, Writs to Rights: 'Navigability' and the Transformation of the Common Law in the Nineteenth Century, which originally appeared in the Cardozo Law Review 23 (2002).:
This Article argues that nationalist jurists in the early nineteenth century attempted to replace the dominant procedural conception of the common law with a substantive one. Their purpose was to ameliorate the effects of legal federalism. They hoped that the creation of a national body of private law in treatises and judicial reports would encourage legal uniformity among the states. The re-orientation of waterway law around the keyword “navigability” offers one example. As this example demonstrates, the project of forging a national jurisprudence was not entirely successful. But it did, indirectly, generate a way for the Supreme Court to extend its admiralty jurisdiction beyond tidewater and onto the nation’s navigable fresh waters, thereby subjecting many commercial cases to a uniform and notionally transnational body of maritime law.