Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Preference to Ports

                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I.9.6:  "No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another…."  This provision in the U.S. Constitution gives assurance to every port in the United States that regulations will be administered fairly and equitably among the ports of the nation and not use them to gain political advantage.

                    According to W. Cleon Skousen, it was Maryland that insisted that this provision be included in the Constitution.  Maryland "feared that congressional legislation might give preference to the Virginia ports of the Chesapeake Bay rather than their own.
                    "It will be recalled that the Founders were attempting to remove the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation which allowed the various states to discriminate against one another by the imposition of taxes on exports.  In the present provision the states were attempting to prevent the federal government from interfering with the normal flow of commerce by preferring one port over another" (The Making of American - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 483).

                    "Like the Uniformity Clause, with which it was initially joined at the Constitutional Convention, and the Export Taxation Clause, the Port Preference Clause was meant to interfere with the natural tendency of legislatures to become instruments through which powerful commercial interests injure their politically weaker rivals….
                    "… More recently, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in a concurrence that a natural reading of the constitutional language `prohibits Congress from using its commerce power to channel commerce through certain favored ports.'  United States v. Lopez (1995) (Thomas, J., concurring).  As the case law stands, however, Congress is on its honor to comply with the spirit of the clause by refraining from politically motivated favoritism that distorts the natural economic competition among American ports."
(See Nelson Lund, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 162-163.)

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