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NCJ Number: 166693 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Commerce Clause and Federalized Crime: A Tale of Two Thieves
Journal: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  Issue:543  Dated:(January 1996)  Pages:27-38
Author(s): K F Brickey
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the evolving role of the commerce clause of the Constitution is examined, with emphasis on the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in United States v. Lopez.
Abstract: The nature of this issue is demonstrated by the examples of two car thieves. One steals a car and drives it to another city in the State; the other steals a car and drives it to another State. These cases differ markedly from a law enforcement perspective despite their identical natures. They also demonstrate how the advent of modern modes of transportation made crime as much a national as a local concern and caused Congress to rely increasingly on the commerce power to enlarge Federal criminal jurisdiction. The Lopez cases recently tested the outer limits of commerce-based jurisdiction. This case challenged the Gun-Free School Zones Act, which prohibited possession of a firearm in a location that the possessor knew or had reason to know was a school zone. The law did not require that the firearm or its possessor travel in interstate commerce and did not state any other commerce-based jurisdictional requirement. In this case the Supreme Court, for the first time in 60 years, held a law unconstitutional because the regulated activity had an insufficient connection with interstate commerce. The decision may prompt Congress to use principle and restraint in invoking its vast power under the commerce clause instead of defining increasing numbers of offenses as Federal crimes. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Appellate court decisions
Index Term(s): Criminology; Federal Code; Intergovernmental relations; Interstate agreements; Theft offenses; US Supreme Court decisions
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