United States V Lopez

1805 Words Apr 6th, 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 Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the Constitution in Article 1, Section 8, and Clause 3. The Clause states that the United States Congress shall power, “To regulate Commerce with Foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” The Commerce Clause represents one of the most fundamental powers delegated to Congress. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Lopez and reversed his conviction, holding that, “Section 922, in the full reach of its terms, is invalid as beyond the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause” (Source 1.)
However, Lopez’s trouble did not stop here. Soon after, the Federal government petitioned for the Supreme Court to review the case, and they accepted. Attorneys for the United States contended that the law was an appropriate use of power under the interstate Commerce Clause. The government was obligated to show that Section 922 was a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, and that this section regulated a matter that affected interstate commerce. The government’s case was made up from one principle argument. They argued that the possession of a firearm in an educational environment would most likely lead to violent crimes, which, in turn, would affect the general economic condition in one of two ways: First, because violent crime causes damagers and creates expenses, it would raise insurance costs. These insurance costs would be spread