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577. Felony, when committed on the high seas, in effect amounts to piracy; and has, to a considerable extent, been so declared by Congress; who, in pursuance of the authority vested in them by the Constitution, have enacted that any person on the high seas, or in any open roadstead or bay, where the sea ebbs and flows, committing the crime of robbery, in and upon any vessel, or its crew or lading, shall be adjudged a pirate.
478. The power to define and punish piracy and felonies on the high seas, is exclusive in its nature; but it has been doubted whether the power to punish other offences against the Law of Nations, ought to be considered as exclusively vested in Congress, on the ground that the Law of Nations forms a part of the Common Law of every State of the Union, and violations of it may be committed on land, as well as at sea. .
579. The jurisdiction of the several States is, however, superseded in regard to those offences against the Law of Nations which are committed at sea; but it does not seem necessarily to follow, that it is also superseded in regard to those which are committed on shore.
580. Offences of the latter description are of various kinds, and the power to define and punish them is with great propriety given to Congress; and so far as they have been defined by the Acts of Congress, they may be said to arise under the Constitution and Laws of the United States, and to be finally, if not exclusively, cognizable under their authority.
581. But there are some such offences which are not enumerated in the Acts of Congress; and if the doctrine be sound, that the criminal jurisdiction of the Union is confined to cases expressly provided for by Congress, either those violations of the Law of Nations of this description, of which the punishment remains unprovided for by Congress, must go unpunished, or the State Courts must entertain jurisdiction of them.
582. The United States being alone responsible to foreign Nations for all that affects their mutual intercourse, it rests with the National Government to declare what shall constitute offences against the Law regulating that intercourse, and to prescribe suitable punishments in case of their commission.
583. But if cases arise for which no provision has been made by Congress, both the National and State Courts, within the spheres of their respective jurisdictions, are thrown upon those general principles which, being enforced by other Nations, those Na. tions have a right to require to be applied and enforced in their favour.
584. The offences falling more immediately under the cognizance of the Law of Nations, are, besides piracy, violations of Safe Conducts, and infringements of the rights of Ambassadors and other foreign Minis. ters.
585. A safe conduct, or passport, contains a pledge of the public faith that it shall be duly respected, the preservation of which is essential to the character of the Government; and Congress, in furtherance of the general sanction of public Law, has provided that persons violating safe conducts shall be subject to fine and imprisonment.
586. The same punishment is provided for persons who infringe the Law of Nations, by offering rio
lence to Ambassadors, or other public Ministers; or by being concerned in prosecuting or arresting them ; and the process whereby their persons, or those of their domestics, may be imprisoned, or their goods seized, is declared void.
587. The policy of these Laws regards such proceedings against foreign Ministers as highly injurious to a free and liberal communication between different Governments, and mischievous in their consequences to any Nation; as they tend to provoke the resentment of the Sovereign whom the Minister represents, and to bring upon the country in which he resides the calamity of war.
590. The remaining Powers comprehended under this head, are the following, viz: 1. “ To regulate Commerce amongst the several
States, and with the Indian tribes.” 2. “ To establish post-offices and post-roads." 3. “ To coin money; to regulate the value
thereof; and to fix the standard of weights
and measures." 4. “ To provide for the punishment of counter
feiting the securities and public coin of the
United States." 5. “ To establish an uniform rule of naturaliza
tion throughout the United States." ' 6. “To establish uniform rules on the subject of
bankruptcies ;" and, 7. "To prescribe, by penal Laws, the manner
in which the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of each State shall be proved, and the effect they shall have in other States."
591. Without the supplemental power to regulate Commerce amongst the States, the primary and indispensable power of regulating foreign Commerce, would have been incomplete and ineffectual.
592. A material object of this power was to secure those States which import and export through other States, from unjust contributions levied on them by the latter; for, had the several States been left at liberty to regulate the trade between each other, ar. ticles of produce and merchandize might have been subjected, during their transit, to duties which would eventually have fallen on the growers or manufacturers of the one, and the consumers of the other.
593. The Power “ to regulate Commerce among the several States," does not extend to that Com
merce which is completely internal; and, comprehensive as are the terms in which it is conferred, it is, nevertheless, restricted to that Commerce which concerns more States than one.
594. For the genius and character of the Government evince that its action is to be applied to all the external concerns of the Nation, and to the internal concerns which affect the States generally; but not to those which are completely within a State, which do not affect other States, and with which it is not necessary to interfere for the purpose of executing any of the general powers of the National Government.
595. The completely internal Commerce of a State is therefore reserved for the State itself; but as the power of Congress, in regulating foreign Commerce, does not stop at the jurisdictional lines of the States, so the power to regulate Commerce amongst the States, is not limited by State boundaries.
596. For, not only do waters communicating with the ocean penetrate into the interior, and pass in their course through the several States; but in many cases there are waters in and upon the boundaries of several of the States, which, though not navigable to the sea, afford means of Commercial intercourse between those States, and furnish occasions to Congress for the exercise of the power in question.
597. This power may be exercised wherever the subject exists; and if the means of Commercial intercourse exist within a State ;-if, for instance, a coasting voyage may commence or terminate within a State, then the power of Congress to regulate Com. merce amongst the States, may be exercised within a State.