United States v. Lopez, 514 US 549 (1995) p142
Defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, H.F. Garcia, J., of possessing firearm in school zone in violation of Gun-Free School Zones Act, and he appealed.
The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Garwood, Circuit Judge, 2 F.3d 1342, reversed and remanded with directions, and government petitioned for certiorari review.
Whether the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 is Unconstitutional.
Whether the Act is regulation of an activity that substantially affects interstate commerce.
Test for determining whether activity is within Congress' power to regulate under commerce clause is whether it substantially affects interstate commerce
After granting certiorari, 114 S.Ct. 1536, the United States Supreme Court, Chief Justice Rehnquist, held that Gun-Free School Zones Act, making it federal offense for any individual knowingly to possess firearm at place that individual knows or has reasonable cause to believe is school zone, exceeded Congress' commerce clause authority, since possession of gun in local school zone was not economic activity that substantially affected interstate commerce.
Gun-Free School Zones Act, which makes it federal offense for any individual knowingly to possess firearm in place that individual believes or has reasonable cause to believe is school zone, exceeded Congress' commerce clause authority; Act was criminal statute that by its terms had nothing to do with "commerce" or any sort of economic enterprise, however broadly defined; possession of gun in local school zone was not economic activity that might, through repetition elsewhere, substantially affect any sort of interstate commerce; and statute contained no jurisdictional element to ensure, through case-by-case inquiry, that possession of firearm had any concrete tie to interstate commerce.
Renquist wrote majority opinion.
Justice Kennedy filed concurring opinion in which Justice O'Connor joined.
Justice Thomas filed concurring opinion.
Justices Stevens and Souter filed dissenting opinions.
Justice Breyer filed dissenting opinion, in which Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg joined.
- test is to see if there is a "substantial relationship" between Act and Commerce Clause
Kennedy concurring opinion:
Thomas concurring opinion