United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, 8 (2000)

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Cite as: 529 U. S. 598 (2000)

Opinion of the Court

treatment of women sufficiently indicated that his crime was motivated by gender animus.2 Nevertheless, the court by a divided vote affirmed the District Court's conclusion that Congress lacked constitutional authority to enact 13981's civil remedy. Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., 169 F. 3d 820 (CA4 1999). Because the Court of Appeals invalidated a federal statute on constitutional grounds, we granted certiorari. 527 U. S. 1068 (1999).

Section 13981 was part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 40302, 108 Stat. 1941-1942. It states that "[a]ll persons within the United States shall have the right to be free from crimes of violence motivated by gender." 42 U. S. C. 13981(b). To enforce that right, subsection (c) declares:

"A person (including a person who acts under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State) who commits a crime of violence motivated by gender and thus deprives another of the right declared in subsection (b) of this section shall be liable to the party injured, in an action for the recovery of compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and such other relief as a court may deem appropriate."

Section 13981 defines a "crim[e] of violence motivated by gender" as "a crime of violence committed because of gender or on the basis of gender, and due, at least in part, to an

2 The en banc Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's conclusion that Brzonkala failed to state a claim alleging disparate treatment under Title IX, but vacated the District Court's dismissal of her hostile environment claim and remanded with instructions for the District Court to hold the claim in abeyance pending this Court's decision in Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Ed., 526 U. S. 629 (1999). Brzonkala v. Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ., 169 F. 3d 820, 827, n. 2 (CA4 1999). Our grant of certiorari did not encompass Brzonkala's Title IX claims, and we thus do not consider them in this opinion.


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