Golden Gate University Law Review


The Lopez decision prompted many defendants, charged under a wide variety of federal statutes, to attack those statutes as unconstitutional under the new "commercial activity" test. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit addressed one such challenge in United States v. Michael R. Section II of this note discusses Michael R.'s facts and procedural history. Section III outlines the history of Commerce Clause jurisprudence, with an emphasis on the recent change in the Supreme Court's review of Congress' use of the commerce power under Lopez. In addition, Section III details the legislative history of the Youth Handgun Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 922(x), the law under which Michael R. was prosecuted and which Congress intended to be an exercise of the commerce power. Section IV analyzes the Ninth Circuit's reasoning in Michael R. Section V critiques this reasoning in light of the Supreme Court's holding in Lopez, and prior Commerce Clause history, and finds that Michael R. further substantiates the theory that the judiciary is not the branch of government that should define the limits of federalism. Finally, Section VI concludes that despite its initial fanfare as either revolutionary or reactionary, subsequent cases, such as Michael R., indicate that Lopez does not represent a new era of Commerce Clause review.