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OLSEN V. SMITH, 195 U. S. 332 (1904)

U.S. Supreme Court

Olsen v. Smith, 195 U.S. 332 (1904)

Olsen v. Smith

No. 42

Argued November 3, 1904

Decided November 28, 1904

195 U.S. 332


State laws regulating pilotage, although regulations of commerce, fall

within that class of powers which may be exercised by the states until Congress has seen fit to act upon the subject. Whether illegal provisions in a pilotage statute granting discriminatory exemptions to vessels of that state can be eliminated without destroying the other provisions of the statute is a state and not a federal question.

Page 195 U. S. 333

For the purpose of determining the validity of state statutes in their federal aspect, this Court accepts the interpretation given to the statute by the state court, and tests their validity accordingly.

The effect of Rev.Stat. §§ 4237, 4444, is not to interfere with or abrogate state laws regulating pilotage, but to withdraw coastwise steam vessels from the pilotage charges imposed by such state laws.

A state pilotage law subjecting all vessels, domestic and foreign, engaged in foreign trade to pilotage regulations, but which exempts pursuant to law coastwise steam vessels of the United States, is not in conflict with provisions in the treaty between the United States and Great Britain to the effect that British vessels shall not be subject to any higher or other charges than vessels of the United States.

Pilotage regulations being under the control of the state, a state pilotage law, otherwise unobjectionable, is not violative of the Fourteenth Amendment because it prevents an unlicensed person from rendering services as a pilot or because it creates a monopoly in favor of the pilots who are licensed under the act.

Page 195 U. S. 338

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