Interstate Commerce


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Car Knocker
April 16, 2008, 02:27 PM
Attorneys for accused pipe bomber question role of library in interstate commerce
By Geoffrey Fattah
Deseret News
Published: April 16, 2008
A man accused of setting off a pipe bomb at the main Salt Lake City library tried to convince a federal judge on Wednesday that charges should be dropped against him because the library does not impact interstate commerce.
During a motion hearing, attorneys for Thomas James Zajac argued that the government's charges relating to possessing and detonating an explosive device must show that the target building has something to do with inter-state commerce.

Attorney Deirdre Gorman argued that the city library's core mission is to provide services to the residents of Salt Lake City and that it's business does not extend outside of the state. Because of that, the government should not be able to prosecute Zajac with interfering with interstate commerce.

Federal prosecutors called Salt Lake City Public Library's assistant director Britton Lund to the witness stand to testify that although the library is set up using city taxpayer funds, its services extend beyond state borders.

Lund pointed out that the library hosts academic speakers from all over the country in its 300-seat auditorium and numerous conference rooms. The library also hosts wedding receptions, dances and other events in which interstate commerce plays a part. She estimated that $1.9 million, about one-sixth of the library's total budget, is spent on printed materials from all over the world. The library also buys CDs, DVDs and other digital media from out of state, which are delivered on a regular basis via USPS, UPS or Federal Express.

The library is also landlord to several shops, including a flower shop, deli and comic book store, which also do interstate business transactions, such as credit card purchases and ordering materials.

While the library is free for Salt Lake City and county residents to use, the library is also open to people from other Utah cities as well as out of state via an $80 annual membership.

On cross examination, Lund was asked if the library's core mission was still to provide services to Salt Lake City residents specifically. "That's too exclusive, everybody is welcome," Lund said.

Zajac is charged with possessing an explosive device in an attempt to damage or destroy a building, violent crimes, making threats to use explosives, among other charges. He is accused of detonating a pipe bomb inside the main library on Sept. 15, 2006, forcing the evacuation of the building and causing damage.

On the day of the explosion, Lund said the library was closed for the remainder of the day and that included businesses located inside.

If convicted, Zajac faces significant federal prison time.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said he would issue his ruling in writing in the coming weeks. Kimball said he will also rule on a second motion to dismiss charges in which Zajac's attorneys claim federal agents accessed and listened to phone conversations between Zajac and his former defense attorneys from the Weber County Jail. The government has denied listening to those recordings.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/content/mobile/0,5223,695271017,00.html
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The government, as illustrated in this case, seems to feel that if you get mail through USPS, buy goods that were manufactured in another state, use credit cards, etc., (possibly even breathe air that has traveled over another state) then the federal government has jurisdiction over your actions/life. The potential impact on states' rights seems especially ominous.

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Rmeju
April 16, 2008, 09:53 PM
I will not feel bad for the guy if he gets locked up.

I will shed a(nother) tear for America as the interstate commerce nonsense gets even more out of hand.

Reid

ServiceSoon
April 16, 2008, 09:53 PM
The problem I see with our legal system is that the majority of the cases will be for criminals, who are actually guilty of committing a crime and this creates bad precedence.

ConstitutionCowboy
April 16, 2008, 11:17 PM
IBTL

Take a good look at the Constitution. The only power granted to the Union to punish is for counterfeiting money, treason, piracy and felonies on the high seas, offenses against the laws of nations, or for a crime while in the military. The Union can enforce it's other laws, but not punish whomever violates those laws - meaning if you don't pay your taxes, the Union may send the militia to collect them from you with force if necessary, but may not punish you for not paying.

Woody

Our government was designed by our Founding Fathers to fit within the framework of our rights and not vise versa. Any other "interpretation" of the Constitution is either through ignorance or is deliberately subversive. B.E. Wood

jrfoxx
April 17, 2008, 12:08 AM
The defendant was gonna lose that argument no matter what . The govt. has pretty well established that it thinks everything affects interstate commrce, and the courts keep agreeing, so it's just about a lost cause. All that's left for them to do is say that since air travels from state to state, any thing that has any air in or around it at any time, is affecting interstate commece. :rolleyes:

They managed to say illegal items manufactured (grown) entirely in one state, which were never even sold or iven away within the state, let alone outside of it, affects the iterstate commere (price/value) of illegal drugs in other states magically somehow, even though the govt doesnt regulate the commerce of the drug in the first place, since any "commerce' involvng it is illegal from the start, as is simply manufacturing or growing it, even if nothing is sold or given. They have basiclly claimed the right unish people for effecting the value/price of items that cannot be legally made or sold, and that they dont collect tax on, or regulate the price/value in in any way.

:cuss::banghead:

Car Knocker
April 17, 2008, 12:21 AM
It's quite easy to see, with the way the government is now using the commerce clause to intrude on ever more facets of our lives, that states' rights in many areas, including CCW and firearm possession, are going to be really threatened as this continues, especially as the USSC seems to have no aversion to this federal encroachment.

El Tejon
April 17, 2008, 08:04 AM
When I was a 2L taking Advanced Crim Law, the joke was "if they Defendant is wearing shoes, he can run across state lines, thus creating a federal nexus.":D

O.K., it's a lot funnier when you are sleep deprived.;)

Henry Bowman
April 17, 2008, 08:30 AM
All that's left for them to do is say that since air travels from state to state, any thing that has any air in or around it at any time, is affecting interstate commece. The same could be said of anything with water in or around it.

El Tejon: It's OK. A lot of things seemed funnier back in law school.

esq_stu
April 17, 2008, 08:31 AM
The government, as illustrated in this case, seems to feel that if you get mail through USPS, buy goods that were manufactured in another state, use credit cards, etc., (possibly even breathe air that has traveled over another state) then the federal government has jurisdiction over your actions/life. The potential impact on states' rights seems especially ominous.
This has been the case for a century. Remember Sam Alito's 3rd circuit opinion that the restrictions on possession of machine guns violate the commerce clause? We're talking a 1934 law. Many regulations implement by federal agencies - FDA, FTC, EPA, ATF, etc. are questionable. But the SCOTUS has generally supported the feds, except in a few exceptional cases.

Augustwest
April 17, 2008, 09:58 AM
Post Raich, and maybe even before, the federal government's distinction between interstate commerce and any other activity ceased to exist.

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