Anti-rape Legislation and the Commerce Clause Essay

Anti-rape Legislation and the Commerce Clause Essay

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The issue at stake is whether the rape of a female student by two male athletes (who have confessed to committing the crime) at the Virginia Polytechnical Institute in the year 2000 was a violation of a law passed via the Commerce Clause. A Federal law had been passed (43 U.S.C. 13981) which allowed victims of “gender motivated violence” (such as this student) to seek damages in a civil action through Federal court. The victim has since filed the civil action suit through a Federal Court using this law. The question before the court is whether anti-rape legislation is constitutional under the Commerce Clause.

The rationale behind the resolution of this issue shall consist of careful analysis of whether this case falls under the precedent of Heart of Atlanta Motel vs US [379 U.S. 241] case of 1964 or the 1995 US vs Lopez case [514 U.S. 549]. It shall be determined whether the plaintiff had a right to file a civil action law suit under this law. Equally important, the constitutionality of the law under which the suit had been filed shall be reviewed as well. In the case that the law is found to be unconstitutional, the law shall be declared as such and shall not be enforced.

The Commerce Clause allows the United States Congress to regulate trade among states. It had been was established in the historic 1824 Gibbons vs Ogden case. This case gave Congress the right to regulate interstate trade as long as it involved movement between at least two states. The power of the Clause was further upheld in the 1942 Wickard vs Filburn case which upheld that Congress can regulate any action which has a substantial aggregate effect on interstate Congress. To elaborate, if the action in question would harm interstate trade when repeated by ...


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...-rape legislation would give Congress too much say in local rules which would render state authority negligible.

Following the precedent made in the 1995 US vs Lopez case, the opinion is that all criminal laws passed through the commerce clause are unconstitutional. The civil action lawsuit filed by the victim must be dismissed from the Federal court. The law passed by Congress law (43 U.S.C. 13981) is clearly unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. Congress has no constitutional basis to pass laws which regulate interstate commerce through anti-rape or any other criminal legislature. Any further law suits based on this law shall be disallowed and any rulings in favor of the plaintiff shall be overturned. The plaintiff retains the right to file charges in a local criminal court instead. If a fair trial cannot be guaranteed, a different location must be provided.

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