Bill of Rights does NOT apply to state and local governments.
See article in The First Amendment Encyclopedia
- Petitioner owns a very valuable wharf located at the Port of Baltimore.
- The value of the wharf is due to its waters being the deepest in the port.
- Construction undertaken by the City of Baltimore has altered the flow of waters in the port.
- The altered flow results in shoaling of the waters beside the wharf.
- The extent of the shoaling is such that the value of the property as a wharf is now negligble.
- Hence this tort.
- Petitioner claims this damage constitues a taking of property without compensation by the City of Baltimore.
- Petitioner claims that the 5th amendment takings clause applies.
- Suit in Baltimore County court a verdict of $4,500 was rendered for the plantiff.
- Court of Appeals reversed.
- The defendant in the Court of Appeals prosecuted a writ of error to this court.
Does the 5th amendment apply to the federal government only or does it apply to other levels of government as well.
If not, then the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction in this matter.
"This court, therefore, has no jurisdiction of the cause, and it is dismissed."
Marshall majority opinion.
- The Constitution, and therefore the Bill of Rights, was ordained and established for the federal government alone.
- The limitations of power therein do not apply to "distinct governments framed by different persons and for different purposes."
- Each state has its own constitution with its own set of powers and limitations.
- The petitioners contention that the tenth section of Article I supports their claim.
- The tenth section of Article I prohibits to the states, explicitly, certain actions. Only these are prohibited by the Constitution.
- Had the Bill of Rights been meant to apply to the states, it would have been explicitly stated as it is stated in the tenth section of Article I.
- The amendments of the Bill of Rights were demanded by state ratifying conventions to further limit the federal government alone.