Jackson v The Magnolia case brief summary
Supreme Court, 1858
The steamboat Wetumpka crashed against the Magnolia on the Alabama River.
Issue – Question of jurisdiction
- The admiralty law of England: was the admiralty law of the US at the period of the adoption of the Constitution. The locality of the admiralty jurisdiction in England was within the ebb and flow of the tide. But it most be obtained a standard as to that jurisdiction in the US far more uniform and rational than that furnished by the tides.
- It is now affirmed, that the jurisdiction and powers of the admiralty extend to all waters that are navigable within or without the territory of a state.
- Navigable waters: practicable waters, navigable in a certain sense.
- Internal water course, whether in its natural condition, or as improved under the authority and with the resources of the states, or a canal, or a mill-pond, some of which are known to cover many acres of land (and this court can convert rivers without tides into seas) which would not by this doctrine be brought with the the grasp of the admiralty.
- Adimiralty jurisdiction is for navigable waters only. This concept is not extended to inland waters.
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