attention to the defendant's state of mind at the precise moment he demanded or took control over the car "by force and violence or by intimidation." If the defendant has the proscribed state of mind at that moment, the statute's scienter element is satisfied. Petitioner's read-ing—that the defendant must possess a specific and unconditional intent to kill or harm in order to complete the prescribed offense—would improperly transform the mens rea element from a modifier into an additional actus reus component of the carjacking statute; it would alter the statute into one that focuses on attempting to harm or kill a person in the course of the robbery of a motor vehicle. Given that § 2119 does not mention either conditional or unconditional intent separately—and thus does not expressly exclude either—its text is most naturally read to encompass the mens rea of both species of intent, and not to limit its reach to crimes involving the additional actus reus of an attempt to kill or harm. Two considerations strongly support the Court's conclusion. First, petitioner's interpretation would exclude from the coverage of the statute most of the conduct that Congress obviously intended to prohibit. Second, it is reasonable to presume that Congress was familiar with the leading cases and the scholarly writing recognizing that the specific intent to commit a wrongful act may be conditional. The Court's interpretation does not, as petitioner suggests, render superfluous the statute's "by force and violence or by intimidation" element. While an empty threat, or intimidating bluff, would be sufficient to satisfy that element, such conduct, standing on its own, is not enough to satisfy § 2119's specific intent element. Pp. 6-12.
126 F. 3d 82, affirmed.
Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., post, p. 12, and Thomas, J., post, p. 22, filed dissenting opinions.
Kevin J. Keating, by appointment of the Court, 525 U. S. 806, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were David G. Secular and Robert C. Nissen.
Deputy Solicitor General Underwood argued the cause for the United States. With her on the brief were Solicitor General Waxman, Assistant Attorney General Robinson,Page: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Next
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