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United States v. Lopez

Significance, Court Of Appeals Ruling, Supreme Court Ruling, Implications, Related Cases, Further Readings


United States


Alfonso Lopez, Jr.

Petitioner's Claim

That it was left to Congress to decide what seriously affects interstate commerce and Congress found the Gun-Free School Zone Act constitutional under the Commerce Clause.

Justices for the Court

Anthony M. Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas

Justices Dissenting

Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David H. Souter, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

26 April 1995


The Court stated that Congress had overstepped the bounds of the Commerce Clause; the act was deemed unconstitutional.

Dissenting Opinion

Justice Breyer sought to explain Congress' rational basis for a connection between gun-related violence in schools and interstate commerce. His opinion held that such violence "significantly undermines the quality of education that is critical to economic prosperity" and that teaching and learning are linked to commerce, which is threatened by the presence of guns in schools.

Additional topics

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