-- Last Updated: Apr-22-13 1:44 AM EST --
I began my thesis with an exhaustive study of Roman law on the subject, then Spanish and French law -- which are called "civil law" countries, in which the laws are mainly codified by legislatures rather than invented and proclaimed by judges. I then moved into a long analysis of supposed English law from the 14th-19th centuries, and finally into and in-depth survey of American federal law and an overview of general categories of state law, explaining the proper interplay of federal and state laws.
My academic conclusion was that navigability has been a confused hodge-podge since Roman times, both in theory and even more so in practical application. I further found that the entire public trust doctrine was based on an incorrect understanding of English legal history by American judges and treatise writers in the 19th century, especially a wildly creative New Jersey judge in a key case.
The article was 105 pages long with 553 footnotes, and it seems to be too old to be archived in full text on the free internet, but here's the table of contents of the legal journal:
I should add that when I was in law school at FSU I clerked for the state agency that owns all non-navigable waters in Florida, and assisted in the litigation of many navigability cases against real estate developers and private land owners. After I graduated, my first job was to work for a law firm representing the developers and private landowners in navigability litigation against the state. Then I got my fellowship for an advanced law degree at Harvard, where I decided to investigate the murky historical sources for modern doctrines. After that, my career went in other directions.
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