Evans v. United States, 504 U.S. 255, 9 (1992)

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Cite as: 504 U. S. 255 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

marily with distinguishing between "legitimate" labor activity and labor "racketeering," so as to prohibit the latter while permitting the former. See 91 Cong. Rec. 11899-11922 (1945).

Many of those who supported the amendment argued that its purpose was to end the robbery and extortion that some union members had engaged in, to the detriment of all labor and the American citizenry. They urged that the amendment was not, as their opponents charged, an antilabor measure, but rather, it was a necessary measure in the wake of this Court's decision in United States v. Teamsters.11 In

their view, the Supreme Court had mistakenly exempted labor from laws prohibiting robbery and extortion, whereas Congress had intended to extend such laws to all American citizens. See, e. g., 91 Cong. Rec. 11910 (1945) (remarks of Rep. Springer) ("To my mind this is a bill that protects the honest laboring people in our country. There is nothing contained in this bill that relates to labor. This measure, if passed, will relate to every American citizen"); id., at 11912 (remarks of Rep. Jennings) ("The bill is one to protect the right of citizens of this country to market their products without any interference from lawless bandits").

Although the present statutory text is much broader 12

than the common-law definition of extortion because it encompasses conduct by a private individual as well as conduct

11 In fact, the House Report sets out the text of United States v. Team-sters in full, to make clear that the amendment to the Anti-Racketeering Act was in direct response to the Supreme Court decision. See H. R. Rep. No. 238, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 1-10 (1945).

12 This Court recognized the broad scope of the Hobbs Act in Stirone v. United States, 361 U. S. 212, 215 (1960): "That Act speaks in broad language, manifesting a purpose to use all the constitutional power Congress has to punish interference with interstate commerce by extortion, robbery or physical violence. The Act outlaws such interference 'in any way or degree.' "


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