Champion v. Ames

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Champion v. Ames
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued February 27–28, 1901
Reargued October 16–17, 1901
Reargued December 15–16, 1902
Decided February 23, 1903
Full case name Charles F. Champion v. John C. Ames, United States Marshal
Citations 188 U.S. 321 (more)
23 S. Ct. 321; 47 L. Ed. 492; 1903 U.S. LEXIS 1283
Prior history Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois
Holding
The Court held that trafficking lottery tickets did constitute interstate commerce that could be regulated by the U.S. Congress under the Commerce Clause.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Harlan, joined by Brown, White, McKenna, Holmes
Dissent Fuller, joined by Brewer, Shiras, Peckham

Champion v. Ames, 188 U.S. 321 (1903), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that trafficking lottery tickets constituted interstate commerce that could be regulated by the U.S. Congress under the Commerce Clause.

Background[edit]

Congress enacted the Federal Lottery Act in 1895, which prohibited the buying or selling of lottery tickets across state lines. The appellant, Charles Champion, was indicted for shipping Paraguayan lottery tickets from Texas to California. The indictment was challenged on the grounds that the power to regulate commerce does not include the power to prohibit commerce of any item.

The defendants in the case were arrested under an 1895 Act of Congress that made it illegal to send or conspire to send lottery tickets across state lines.

Decision of the Supreme Court[edit]

Most important in this case was that the Supreme Court recognized that Congress' power to regulate interstate traffic is plenary. That is, the power is complete in and of itself. This wide discretion allowed Congress to regulate traffic as it sees fit, within Constitutional limits, even to the extent of prohibiting goods, as here. This plenary power is distinct from the aggregate-impact theories later espoused in the Shreveport line of cases.

The 5–4 decision upholding the statute was authored by Justice John Marshall Harlan. The dissent by Chief Justice Fuller was joined by Justice Brewer, Justice Shiras, and Justice Peckham.

See also[edit]

  • Louisiana State Lottery Company
  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), the first recognition by the U.S. Supreme Court that Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce is plenary (see Chief Justice Marshall's majority opinion)
  • Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918), in which the Court struck down a similar law on the grounds that the federal government could not use its power to regulate interstate commerce to accomplish certain ends

External links[edit]

  • 188 U.S. 321 (Text of the opinion on Findlaw.com)