United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598, 21 (2000)

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Opinion of the Court

truly national and what is truly local. Lopez, 514 U. S., at 568 (citing Jones & Laughlin Steel, 301 U. S., at 30). In recognizing this fact we preserve one of the few principles that has been consistent since the Clause was adopted. The regulation and punishment of intrastate violence that is not directed at the instrumentalities, channels, or goods involved in interstate commerce has always been the province of the States. See, e. g., Cohens v. Virginia, 6 Wheat. 264, 426, 428 (1821) (Marshall, C. J.) (stating that Congress "has no general right to punish murder committed within any of the States," and that it is "clear . . . that congress cannot punish felonies generally"). Indeed, we can think of no better example of the police power, which the Founders denied the National Government and reposed in the States, than the suppression of violent crime and vindication of its victims.8 See, e. g., Lopez, 514 U. S., at 566 ("The Constitution . . . withhold[s] from Congress a plenary police power"); id., at 584-585 (Thomas, J., concurring) ("[W]e always have rejected read-8 Justice Souter disputes our assertion that the Constitution reserves the general police power to the States, noting that the Founders failed to adopt several proposals for additional guarantees against federal encroachment on state authority. See post, at 645-646, and n. 14. This argument is belied by the entire structure of the Constitution. With its careful enumeration of federal powers and explicit statement that all powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved, the Constitution cannot realistically be interpreted as granting the Federal Government an unlimited license to regulate. See, e. g., New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 156-157 (1992). And, as discussed above, the Constitution's separation of federal power and the creation of the Judicial Branch indicate that disputes regarding the extent of congressional power are largely subject to judicial review. See n. 7, supra. Moreover, the principle that " '[t]he Constitution created a Federal Government of limited powers,' " while reserving a generalized police power to the States, is deeply in-grained in our constitutional history. New York, supra, at 155 (quoting Gregory v. Ashcroft, supra, at 457); see also Lopez, 514 U. S., at 584-599 (Thomas, J., concurring) (discussing the history of the debates surrounding the adoption of the Commerce Clause and our subsequent interpretation of the Clause); Maryland v. Wirtz, 392 U. S. 183, 196 (1968).

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