David P. Currie


Continuing a study of the first hundred years of constitutional litigation, Professor Currie explores the decisions of the Taney period respecting the Contract and Commerce Clauses. Though early decisions of the Taney Court seemed to portend a departure from the nationalism of its predecessor, the author argues that the impression was largely misleading. In general, for example, the Court under Taney proved rather sympathetic to contract rights. In Commerce Clause cases, after being badly split, the Court was able to agree on a longlasting formula that acknowledged an implicit limitation on state power; and although in the Taney period the Court never clearly struck down a state law on Commerce Clause grounds, it found other ways to protect the interest in unobstructed commerce.

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