Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


David S. Gehrig


The Fifth Circuit, in United States v. Lopez, struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act as unconstitutional based on a new procedural requirement: prior to enacting a statute under the Commerce Clause, Congress must make findings which link the regulated activity to interstate commerce. The Supreme Court has granted certiorari to Lopez apparently in an effort to reconcile a split among the circuits regarding the constitutionality of the Act, and will issue its opinion in early 1995. While the constitutionality of the Act hinges on the necessity of legislative findings, it also raises Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment issues.

This Note argues that the Supreme Court should uphold the Act as constitutional. Congress has never been required to make legislative findings in order to legislate, and such a requirement would serve no useful purpose. The relevant Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment precedent also support the Act. In addition, the rising tide of gun violence in schools is a national problem which requires a federal remedy like the Gun-Free School Zones Act.