Jones v. United States - Oral Argument - March 21, 2000 Page 21

Jones v. United States

Media for Jones v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 22, 2000 in Jones v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 21, 2000 in Jones v. United States

Donald M. Falk:

The Government says that this business purposes amendment means that Congress meant to cover everything.

Well, one thing it could not have meant to get by drafting that language is the sort of idea that the mortgage company is using the house, because if the mortgage company or the insurer or the utility company or any of those people are using structures, then they are certainly using them for business purposes, and there would have been absolutely no need to draft this... draft this language at all.

It would have been already covered.

Everything would have been covered.

It makes no sense.

Instead, the... the people on... on whom... the members on whom the Government relies kept coming back saying, let's find a way to get residences, and others are saying, well, it's constitutionally doubtful.

And Representative Hungate proposes at the last minute, here's another way.

It's constitutionally doubtful in a different way because of the presumption.

But it will get residences.

It will get the... it will get these within the scope of the statute.

And Congress said no.

Congress chose these words not because it was going... trying to exercise the absolute, utmost possibility of the commerce power, but because it thought if we choose this... these words carefully, if we structure this statute carefully, we will exercise as much of the power as we can get but stay within constitutional limits. And those limits do not reach this case. It... it... thank you.

William H. Rehnquist:

Thank you, Mr. Falk. The case is submitted.