United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, 16 (2000)

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

Opinion of the Court

to "regulate not only all violent crime, but all activities that might lead to violent crime, regardless of how tenuously they relate to interstate commerce." Id., at 564. We noted that, under this but-for reasoning:

"Congress could regulate any activity that it found was related to the economic productivity of individual citizens: family law (including marriage, divorce, and child custody), for example. Under the[se] theories . . . , it is difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power, even in areas such as criminal law enforcement or education where States historically have been sovereign. Thus, if we were to accept the Government's arguments, we are hard pressed to posit any activity by an individual that Congress is without power to regulate." Ibid.

With these principles underlying our Commerce Clause jurisprudence as reference points, the proper resolution of the present cases is clear. Gender-motivated crimes of violence are not, in any sense of the phrase, economic activity. While we need not adopt a categorical rule against aggregating the effects of any noneconomic activity in order to decide these cases, thus far in our Nation's history our cases have upheld Commerce Clause regulation of intrastate activity only where that activity is economic in nature. See, e. g., id., at 559-560, and the cases cited therein.

Like the Gun-Free School Zones Act at issue in Lopez, 13981 contains no jurisdictional element establishing that the federal cause of action is in pursuance of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce. Although Lopez makes clear that such a jurisdictional element would lend support to the argument that 13981 is sufficiently tied to interstate commerce, Congress elected to cast 13981's remedy over a wider, and more purely intrastate, body of violent crime.5

5 Title 42 U. S. C. 13981 is not the sole provision of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 to provide a federal remedy for gender-motivated crime. Section 40221(a) of the Act creates a federal criminal remedy to

613

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