Uniformity of Maritime Law, History, and Perspective from the U.S. Point of View

This overview of uniformity in maritime law history and perspective from the U.S. point of view reflects the writings and thoughts of historians, constitutional scholars, and Supreme Court Justices, as seen in the early decisions of the Court on this topic as well as substantive commentaries from law professors and practicing attorneys. This overview is intended to explore substantive aspects of the law of uniformity in the United States as articulated in specific elements of the law that have been developed over the years, in an attempt to coordinate and harmonize the somewhat dissonant voices that have appeared in recent years relative to this elusive doctrine. The need for uniformity and harmony, as articulated by the founders of the Maritime Law Association as it celebrates its Centennial year, is discussed and analyzed from the perspective of various authorities as indicated above, including judges, historians, practicing attorneys and law professors, all with a view of attempting to achieve a uniformity concept and theme in the recent cases on Maritime Law, particularly by the Supreme Court and the potential inroads made upon the concept of uniformity in recent decisions. This Article should also assist those confronted with a need to determine historical precedents on the issue of uniformity, particularly in private international law matters and dealings with foreign attorneys and clients in areas that create potential problems for the users of the American legal system on the issue of uniformity and its approach of historical admiralty principles.