The so-called “Tonnage Clause” of Article I, Section 10 says that “No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage.” The Supreme Court actually decided a case about this clause back in 2009, as I wrote about in a post for my former blog. The point of the clause is to make sure that states which border the sea don’t have an economic advantage over inland states. Even among odd clauses, the Tonnage Clause is super odd. Or, as this scholar puts it in a recent article about the Court’s Tonnage Clause decision, it’s “quirky.” (should I have called my book The Quirky Clauses?)
All the more surprising, then, that super humor writer Dave Barry would have invoked the Tonnage Clause in his 2010 year in review column (toward the bottom).