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Corfield v. Coryell

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Corfield v. Coryell, 6 Fed. Cas. 546, (E.D. Pa. 1823)

Facts: A N.J. statute forbade anyone not "an actual inhabitant or resident" of the state to gather clams and oysters from the state's waters.

Issue: Is the N.J. statute a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause and did the law regulate interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause?

Holding: No, the N.J. state law was permissible. The privileges that must be preserved are those that are fundamental; the fish within the state's waters were the common property of the state's citizens and it would be going too far to give equal right to non-residents under the privileges and immunities clause.

Comments: Fundamental privileges include:

  • Protection by the government.
  • Right to acquire and possess property
  • Right to pursue and obtain happiness and safety, subject to police power