Charming Betsy Canon Law and Legal Definition

Charming Betsy canon is a principle of interpretation applied in interpreting national statutes, and general acts of congress. According to this canon, national statutes should be interpreted in such a way that the interpretation does not conflict with international laws. This principle evolved from the case, Murray v. The Schooner Charming Betsy, 6 U.S. 64 (U.S. 1804). In this case the Supreme Court observed that an act of Congress ought never to be construed to violate the law of nations if any other possible construction remains, and consequently can never be construed to violate neutral rights, or to affect neutral commerce.