United States V Lopez Essay

1799 Words Mar 31st, 2011 8 Pages
Nick Kaplan
Mr. Gowaskie
Const. History of the US
April 22, 2010
United States v. Lopez
United States v. Lopez was a landmark case, being the first United States Supreme Court case, since the New Deal, to set limits on Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause of the United State Constitution. United States v. Lopez dealt with a previous decision made by the Supreme Court called the “Gun-Free Schools Zone Act of 1990,” and whether this act was constitutional. In other words, is Congress given the power by the Constitution to regulate guns in schools under the Commerce Clause? Alfonso Lopez Jr. was a twelfth-grade student at Edison High School in San Antonio, Texas. On March 10, 1992, he carried a concealed .38 caliber revolver and
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The government continued to argue that the presence of firearms within a school would be seen as dangerous, and would therefore result in students’ being scared and disturbed, which would inhibit their learning, which would lead to a weaker national economy since education is obviously an important element of the nation’s economic health. However, the Supreme Court found these arguments to create a dangerous slope. Some questions they are concerned with include: What would prevent the Federal government from regulating any activity that might lead to violent crime, regardless of its connection to interstate commerce? What would prevent them from regulating any activity that might have an effect on a person’s economic productivity?
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. It held that, while Congress had broad lawmaking authority under the Commerce Clause, their power was limited and did not extend far enough as to authorize the regulation of the carrying of handguns. This was true especially because there was no evidence that carrying a handgun affected the economy on a massive scale. Chief Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist, who is considered to be a conservative, delivered the opinion of the Court. He identified three broad categories of activity that Congress could regulate under the Commerce Clause: First, the channels of interstate commerce; secondly, the instrumentalities of interstate commerce and thirdly, activity that

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