[Fourth Branch] The Jones Act: Debating the Lingering Effects of a 100-Year-Old Law

Passed into law in 1920, the Jones Act is a ban on transport between two U.S. ports, unless it’s on a U.S.-built, U.S.-manned, U.S. flagged, and U.S.-owned ship. The Jones Act was designed to protect the United States’ shipbuilding industry and to ensure that U.S. waters and ports are safe and secure. Some argue, however, that in the context of the modern shipping economy, the Jones Act does little to protect national security and, instead, raises prices on U.S. consumers and businesses.

In this Fourth Branch video, James W. Coleman (Dedman School of Law) and George Landrith (Frontiers of Freedom Institute) discuss the Jones Act’s history, debate its impact on American society today, and explore whether the Jones Act should be updated for today’s economic and national security needs.

A Fourth Branch video in association with Motivo Media.

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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speakers.

Differing Views:

RTP Paper: Repeal the Jones Act for American Energy”

“The Jones Act is a tremendous benefit to America”

“Needed: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Jones Act”



James W. Coleman
Associate Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law


George Landrith
President and CEO, Frontiers of Freedom Institute


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