Federalism

I looked at the case through both lenses and concluded that the Guns Free School Act is Constitutional but it was not argued in the most effective, or “smart” way. An argument I would use is that students do not have the same law boundaries as adults. One example of this is freedom of speech in schools. I do on the other hand understand how the Commerce Clause may allow the federal government to abuse power. The majority finds that if the Gun-Free School Zone statute has a constitutional basis, it must be in the third area of power. Court sets down new example in declaring that such activities must “substantially affect” interstate commerce and not just “affect” it. I find that the statute has nothing to do with commerce. There is also no requirement in the statute that the offense punished has some relationship to commerce. Even if there was that requirement, it would have to be proven in each case beyond a reasonable doubt that there was sufficient connection between the offense and the regulation of interstate commerce. I disagree with the government’s argument that firearms in schools are actually substantially related to interstate commerce. Because, if guns in schools are related, then pretty much anything can be related, including stuff like marriage, divorce, child custody, and “direct regulation of education”. I figure that the Framers couldn’t have possibly meant for the Commerce Clause power to be so broad.

In summation, because there was a federal law concerning something that was completely unrelated to the federal government. It established the first limit on the commerce clause in the history of the court. The justices felt there was no way that regulating guns near schools was something in the purview of the federal government and could find no link to interstate commerce and gun laws around schools. The case may change and show how the Court allows something to be considered constitutional through the lens of federalism. Instead of looking mainly to the Tenth Amendment to find constitutional boundaries for the state’s, conservative justices may now identify commerce-power limitations. The Lopez case goes to emphasize how Congress tries to influence its powers and “silently” over power the states when it comes to policy making.

 

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