This article will survey pre- and post-unification judicial decisions on the breadth of equitable powers available to courts in admiralty. By so doing, it will attempt to glean an understanding of those areas perceived to be problem areas and assess the continued viability and desirability of the restrictions on admiralty courts. The article first explores the historical origins of the restrictions under the English and early American legal systems." The article proceeds to describe the judicial developments during the 20th century which have helped to perpetuate the distinctions between equity and admiralty under the guise of the "Schoenamsgruber Doctrine." Finally, the article describes positive movements toward the expansion of equitable powers in admiralty by analyzing the variety of equitable remedies now available to those courts and concludes by asserting that the merger under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, if not a mandate to abolish traditional distinctions, does provide persuasive authority for rapid movement in that direction. The restrictions evolved from a misunderstanding of the English law, and it is time that American courts acknowledge and remedy that fact.
George P. Smith II, Equity and Admiralty: A Turbulent Path to Manifest Destiny, 5 NW. J.INT’L L. & BUS. 65 (1983).