The Supreme Court case, Printz v. United States(521 U.S. 88-1997), investigated The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Brady Bill) that necessary a locationâ??s specified chief law enforcement officers (CLEOs) to perform background checks on hopeful handgun purchasers. County sheriffs Jay Printz and Richard Mack challenged the constitutionality of this interim provision of the Brady Bill on behalf of CLEOs in Montana and Arizona, respectively.
In both circumstances, District Courts found the checks unconstitutional, but ruled that considering that this requirement was severable from the rest of the Brady Bill, a voluntary background check program could remain in location. On appeal from the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that the interim background check provisions had been constitutional, the Supreme Court granted certiorari and consolidated the two cases deciding this 1 along with Mack v. United States (Oyez).
Questions of the Case
Printz presented one particular solid query: Can particular â??interim provisionsâ? of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which commands local and CLEOs to conduct a background check on potential handgun purchasers and to â??perform certain related tasks,â? violate the United States Constitution, in specific the Tenth Amendment?
Eventually, the Court decided in a five-4 choice that the bill did in reality violate the Constitution since Congress can not specifically limit the use of handguns in schools under the commerce clause partly because the use of handguns in schools does not directly impact commerce.
The Court’s Opinion
The Court constructed its opinion on the principle that state legislatures are not topic to federal direction. The Court explained that while Congress might require the federal government to regulate commerce directly, in this case by performing background checks on applicants for handgun ownership, the Necessary and Suitable Clause does not empower Congress to force CLEOs to fulfill federal tasks.
The Court added that the Brady Bill could not require CLEOs to perform the connected tasks of disposing of handgun application types or notifying particular applicants of the reasons for their refusal in writing, given that the Brady Bill reserved such duties only for those CLEOs who voluntarily accepted them (Oyez).
The Concuring Opinion
Justice Thomas concurred by employing textual evidence of the Commerce Clause that offers Congress power to â??regulate Commerce â?¦ amongst the numerous states.” He said that it does not give Congress the regulation of a wholly intrastate point of transactions. Also, Thomas saw the Second Amendment as containing an express limitation on the governmentâ??s authority.
Thomas said that the Court has nevertheless to have a recent occasion to look at the nature of the Second Amendment, but if it is read to enable a private right to â??keep and bear arms,â? then an argument exists in the Federal Governmentâ??s scheme of regulation (4lawschool).
The DIssenting Opinion
Justice Stevens joined by Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Stevens: Stated the commerce power gives Congress the correct to regulate the use of handguns. Also added that the Needed and Correct Clause (Write-up 1, Sec.8, Cl.18) offers Congress the authority to implement regulations by means of regional officials. Said there is no reason to interpret the Constitution as prohibiting state officials from carrying out federal duties.
The Supreme Court appropriately refrained from deciding whether other simple-to-execute duties imposed by Congress on states would also be invalid. Given that Congress does not have the authority to regulate intrastate transfer of firearms they also do not have the authority to need state officials to administer and enforce such regulations. Per Souter: Cited implied powers from the Constitution by noting that states have an obligation to help federal law, so officials might be employed to carry out national functions.
Comments and the Future
Printz quite tiny effect on gun manage. The mandates Printz brought forth were a challenge to CLEOs and were slated to be phased out in November 1998 when the background check method took operation. The case also showed how the Rehnquist Court would affect the Eleventh Amendment and the thought of federalism.
Oyez. “Printz v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court Case Summary & Oral Argument.” The Oyez Project | U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Recordings, Case Abstracts and A lot more. N.p., n.d. Internet. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://www.oyez.org/situations/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_1478/>.
4lawschool. “Printz v. United States .” 4LawSchool.com: For Law, Pre-law students and legal experts.. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://www.4lawschool.com/conlaw/print.shtml>.