The Date of Corfield v. Coryell

Here’s an interesting tidbit that came up recently in conversation. The year given in the cite that everyone uses for Corfield v. Coryell is 1823. If you read the report on the case, though, you learn that the opinion came out in 1825. This must be true because Justice Washington discussed Gibbons v. Ogden, which came out in 1824. Why, then, does the cite say 1823?

I’m not 100% sure, but I think that the case was held over because Gibbons was pending in the Supreme Court. Corfield raised the question of whether the Commerce Clause vested exclusively in Congress, and thus could not be resolved until after Gibbons. What the precise citation convention was in a circuit court then that resulted in the 1823 date, though, is not yet clear.

You may also like...