Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 18 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

1952(b)(2), against "extortion . . . in violation of the laws of the State in which committed or of the United States" applies to extortionate conduct classified by a state penal code as blackmail rather than extortion. We determined that if an act prohibited under state law fell within a generic definition of extortion, for which we relied on the Model Penal Code's definition of "obtaining something of value from another with his consent induced by the wrongful use of force, fear, or threats," it would constitute a violation of the Travel Act's prohibition regardless of the State's label for that unlawful act. See Nardello, supra, at 296 (explaining that regardless of Pennsylvania's labeling defendants' acts as blackmail and not extortion, defendants violated the Travel Act because "the indictment encompasses a type of activity generally known as extortionate since money was to be obtained from the victim by virtue of fear and threats of exposure"). In Taylor, relying in part on Nardello, we concluded that in including "burglary" as a violent crime in 18 U. S. C. 924(e)'s sentencing enhancement provision for felons' possessing firearms, Congress meant "burglary" in "the generic sense in which the term is now used in the criminal codes of most States." 495 U. S., at 598. Accordingly, where as here the Model Penal Code and a majority of States recognize the crime of extortion as requiring a party to obtain or to seek to obtain property, as the Hobbs Act requires, the state extortion offense for purposes of RICO must have a similar requirement.

Because petitioners did not obtain or attempt to obtain respondents' property, both the state extortion claims and the claim of attempting or conspiring to commit state extortion were fatally flawed. The 23 violations of the Travel Act and 23 acts of attempting to violate the Travel Act also fail. These acts were committed in furtherance of allegedly extortionate conduct. But we have already determined that petitioners did not commit or attempt to commit extortion.

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