Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, Inc., 537 U.S. 393, 25 (2003)

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Cite as: 537 U. S. 393 (2003)

Stevens, J., dissenting

statute. See Reves v. Ernst & Young, 494 U. S. 56, 74 (1990) (Stevens, J., concurring); Chesapeake & Ohio R. Co. v. Schwalb, 493 U. S. 40, 51 (1989) (Stevens, J., concurring in judgment); McNally v. United States, 483 U. S. 350, 376-377 (1987) (Stevens, J., dissenting); 2 Shearson/American Express Inc. v. McMahon, 482 U. S. 220, 268-269 (1987) (Stevens, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). Second, both this Court and all other federal courts have consistently identified the Hobbs Act as a statute that Congress intended to be given a broad construction. See, e. g., Stirone v. United States, 361 U. S. 212 (1960); United States v. Staszcuk, 517 F. 2d 53 (CA7 1975). Third, given the fact that Congress has enacted specific legislation responsive to the concerns that gave rise to these cases,3 the principal beneficiaries of the Court's dramatic retreat from the position that federal prosecutors and federal courts have maintained throughout the history of this important statute will certainly be the class of professional criminals whose conduct persuaded Congress that the public needed federal protection from extortion.4

I respectfully dissent.

2 Congress corrected the Court's narrow reading of the mail fraud statute in McNally by passing 18 U. S. C. 1346, which overruled McNally. See, e. g., United States v. Bortnovsky, 879 F. 2d 30, 39 (CA2 1989) ("Section 1346 . . . overrules McNally"). Of course, Congress remains free to correct the Court's error in these cases as well.

3 See Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, 108 Stat. 694.

4 The concern expressed by Justice Ginsburg, ante, at 411, 412, is misguided because an affirmance in these cases would not expand the coverage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act but would preserve the Federal Government's ability to bring criminal prosecutions for violent conduct that was, until today, prohibited by the Hobbs Act.

417

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