Thecongress and the commerce clause
TheCongress and the Commerce Clause
Before1824, the congress could not pass certain laws because of theenumerated powers of the constitution. To counter this, the congressused Article 1 Clause 8 Section 3 of the constitution that gives itpower to regulate business with foreign nations, Indian tribes aswell as other states.
InGibbonsv. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824),the court ruled that the congress has extensive powers when it comesto interstate commerce regulation. This was the earliest case on theinterpretation of the commerce clause. The court took a stringentmeasurein UnitedStatesv. Lopez, U.S. 549 (1995).
AlfonsoLopez, a 12th-gradestudent, carried a loaded gun to school. According to the Gun-FreeSchool Zones Act of 1990 (GFSZA),it is unlawful for any person to possess a firearm knowingly in aplace he knew or had reasonable belief that it was a school zone. Hewas charged under the Texas law, but these charges were laterdismissed after the federal agents charged him with violating theact. The matters before the court were whether the Act exceeded theauthority of the congress and instance where congress should regulateactivities under the commerce clause.
Thecourt established that indeed the Act exceeded the authority of thecongress. In the second issue, the court established that:
When it involves channels used in interstate commerce, the congress has the authority.
It can regulate and protect all instruments of interstate commerce
Its authority includes the power to regulate all issues substantially related to commerce.
Therationale that the court used was that custody of a gun in a schoolzone is not in any sense an economic activity that could affect theinterstate commerce if repeated.
Thiscase is vital in the sense that it established the ‘substantialeffect’ test that is used to check the extent of use of thecommerce clause by Congress. It made a distinction between powers ofthe congress and police powers of the state. I agree with thedecision of the court because if it were not so, the congress couldmake laws and justify their applicability based on the clause
Googlescholar. (n.d.). googlescholar.Retrieved September 27, 2014, from http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case=18310045251039502`,q=lopez+case&hl =en&as_std=2006
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