United States v. Pappadopoulos

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In United States v. Pappadopoulos, 64 F.3d 522, 528 (9th Cir. 1995), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit applied United States v. Lopez to overturn an arson conviction. "Where the sole source of the interstate commerce connection is the receipt by a private home of natural gas from a company that receives some of that gas from an out-of-state source, federal jurisdictional requirements have not been met."

The Court noted that Lopez requires that:

the connections to or effect on interstate commerce must be "substantial." The question is whether its analysis should be applied when the issue is how significant the contacts to interstate commerce must be in individual cases in order to assure the constitutionality of a statute that relies on a jurisdictional element. We hold that it does. We conclude that in a case such as this, where Congress seeks to regulate a purely intrastate noncommercial activity that has traditionally been subject to exclusive regulation by state or local government, and where the connection of the regulated activity as a whole to interstate commerce is neither readily apparent nor illuminated by express congressional findings, the government must satisfy the jurisdictional requirement by pointing to a "substantial" effect on or connection to interstate commerce.

The Court noted that 18 U.S.C. § 844(h)(1) "does not facially exceed Congress's commerce power because it requires that the underlying felony itself be one that can be prosecuted 'in a court of the United States.'"

Ninth Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace wrote this pro-federalism opinion for the Court.