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Commerce Clause

Crimes Involving Commerce

Congress may punish any conduct that interferes with, obstructs, or prevents interstate and foreign commerce, whether it occurs within one state or involves a number of states. The MANN ACT—which outlaws the transportation any woman or girl in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of prostitution, debauchery, or other immoral acts—is a constitutional exercise of the power of Congress to regulate commerce (18 U.S.C.A. §§ 2421–2424 [1910]). The counterfeiting of notes of foreign corporations and bills of lading is a crime against interstate commerce. Under federal statutes, the knowing use of a common carrier for the transportation of obscene matter in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of its sale or distribution is illegal. This prohibition applies to the importation of obscene matter even though it is for the importer's private, personal use and possession and not for commercial purposes.

The Anti-Racketeering Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 1951 [2000]) makes RACKETEERING by ROBBERY or personal violence that interferes with interstate commerce a federal offense. The provisions of the CONSUMER CREDIT PROTECTION ACT (15 U.S.C.A. § 1601 et seq. [2000]) prohibiting EXTORTION have been upheld, as extortion is deemed to impose an undue burden on interstate commerce. Anyone who transports stolen goods of the value of $5,000 or more in interstate or foreign commerce is subject to criminal prosecution pursuant to the National Stolen Property Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 2311 et seq. [2000]).

Additional topics

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