Argued: March 20, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia, at Richmond. John A. Gibney, Jr.,
District Judge. (3:16-cr-00009-JAG-1)
Swaruup, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C, for Appellant.
Patrick L. Bryant, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER,
Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee.
S. Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas E. Chandler,
Tovah R. Calderon, Appellate Section, Civil Rights Division,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C.; G.
Zachary Terwilliger, United States Attorney, Alexandria,
Virginia, S. David Schiller, Assistant United States
Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Richmond,
Virginia, for Appellant. Geremy C. Kamens, Federal Public
Defender, Alexandria, Virginia, Mary E. Maguire, Assistant
Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC
DEFENDER, Richmond, Virginia; Elizabeth W. Hanes, CONSUMER
LITIGATION ASSOCIATES, P.C., Richmond, Virginia, for
Jennifer L. Kent, FREESTATE JUSTICE, INC., Baltimore,
Maryland; Joseph Dudek, GOHN HANKEY & BERLAGE LLP,
Baltimore, Maryland; Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Cathren Cohen,
LAMBDA LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, INC., New York, New
York, for Amici Curiae.
MOTZ, AGEE, and WYNN, Circuit Judges.
appeal, we confront the issue of whether the federal Hate
Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 ("Hate Crimes Act"),
18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2), may be constitutionally applied
to an unarmed assault of a victim engaged in commercial
activity at his place of work. This appears to be an issue of
first impression in this Circuit or any other.
James Hill, III ("Defendant") boastfully admitted
to physically and violently assaulting a coworker preparing
packages for interstate sale and shipment because of the
coworker's sexual orientation. But after a jury convicted
Defendant for violating the Hate Crimes Act, the district
court granted Defendant's motion for judgment of
acquittal on grounds that the Hate Crimes Act, as applied to
Defendant's conduct, exceeded Congress's authority
under the Commerce Clause. Because we conclude that as
applied to Defendant's conduct, the Hate Crimes Act
easily falls under Congress's broad authority to regulate
interstate commerce, we reverse and remand to the district
court to reinstate the jury's guilty verdict.
time of the assault, Defendant and Curtis Tibbs
("Tibbs") were coworkers at an Amazon fulfillment
center in Chester, Virginia. Defendant worked as a
"re-binner" at the facility, moving items from
conveyor belts and placing them into bins in a wall. Tibbs
worked as a "packer," loading these items from the
bins into boxes for packaging, scanning them, packaging them
in a box, and then placing the boxes on a conveyor belt to
move to the next department.
shows that shortly after the beginning of Tibbs's shift
on May 22, 2015, as Tibbs carried items to load into a box,
Defendant approached Tibbs from behind and- without
provocation or warning-repeatedly punched him in the face. As
a result of the assault and battery, Tibbs suffered
significant bruising, cuts to his face, and a bloody nose.
After the incident, Tibbs went to Amazon's in-house
medical clinic and then to the nearest hospital for
treatment. Tibbs did not return to work on the production
line for the remaining several hours of his ten-hour shift.
Amazon shut down the area of the incident for approximately
30-45 minutes to clean blood off the floor, but Amazon did
not miss any "critical pull times," or packaging
deadlines, as a result of the incident because other areas of
the facility absorbed the work. J.A. 24. An expert witness
testified that, notwithstanding Tibbs' absence and the
temporary closure of his workspace, the performance of the
fulfillment center as a whole during the shift in which the
incident occurred was in-line with its performance during
told an Amazon investigator and a local police officer that
he assaulted Tibbs solely because Tibbs was gay. In
particular, Defendant stated that "his personal belief
is he didn't like [homosexuals]," that Tibbs
"disrespected him because he is a homosexual," and
that Defendant "does not like homosexuals, so he punched
[Tibbs]." J.A. 353, 383. Defendant offered no other
explanation for the assault.
Commonwealth of Virginia initially charged Defendant with
misdemeanor assault and battery in state court, but the state
prosecutor subsequently requested that the United States
"assume prosecution of this case as a hate crime"
under the Hate Crimes Act, in part because Virginia's
hate crime statute does not cover crimes based on sexual
orientation. J.A. 25.
24, 2015, the United States Attorney General certified that
Defendant's prosecution under the Hate Crimes Act
"is in the public interest and is necessary to secure
substantial justice." J.A. 25. Thereafter, the
Commonwealth of Virginia dropped the misdemeanor assault
charge, and on January 19, 2016, a federal grand jury
indicted Defendant under the Hate Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C.
§ 249(a)(2). The indictment stated that:
On or about May 22, 2015 . . . [Defendant] did willfully
cause bodily injury to [Tibbs] by assaulting [Tibbs],
including by punching [Tibbs], because of [Tibbs's]
actual and perceived sexual orientation, namely that he is
gay; and that, in connection with the offense, [Defendant]
 interfered with commercial and other economic activity in
which [Tibbs] was engaged at the time of the conduct, and
which offense  otherwise affected interstate and foreign
moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing in relevant part
that Section 249(a)(2) of the Hate Crimes Act, on its face
and as applied to him, exceeded Congress's power under
the Commerce Clause. The district court agreed with
Defendant's as- applied challenge and dismissed the
indictment. United States v. Hill, 182
F.Supp.3d 546, 555-56 (E.D. Va. 2016). The Government
appealed the district court's dismissal.
unpublished opinion, a divided panel of this Court reversed
and remanded the district court's decision with
directions to reinstate the indictment. United States v.
Hill, 700 Fed.Appx. 235 (4th Cir. 2017). The majority
opinion stated that "[o]n its face, the indictment is
legally sufficient and does not present an unconstitutional
exercise of Congressional power." Id. at
236-37. However, because the case presented an as-applied
challenge, the majority opinion further concluded that it was
"premature to determine the constitutional issues"
because "whether [Defendant's] conduct sufficiently
affects interstate commerce as to satisfy the constitutional
limitations placed on Congress' Commerce Clause power may
well depend on a consideration of facts, and because the
facts proffered here may or may not be developed at
trial." Id. at 237. Therefore, the majority
opinion did not resolve the merits of Defendant's
Commerce Clause challenge.
remand, the Government dropped reliance on the statutory
element that the offense "otherwise affect[ed]
interstate or foreign commerce." 18 U.S.C. §
249(a)(2)(B)(iv)(II). Instead, the Government relied
exclusively on the theory that Defendant's assault of
Tibbs "interfere[d] with commercial or other economic
activity in which the victim [was] engaged at the time of the
conduct." Id. § 249(a)(2)(B)(iv)(I); J.A.
district court held a two-day jury trial beginning on January
22, 2018. The district court instructed the jury that the
Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1)
Defendant caused bodily injury to Tibbs; (2) Defendant did so
willfully; (3) Defendant did so because of Tibbs's actual
or perceived sexual orientation; and (4) Defendant's
conduct "interfered with the commercial or economic
activity in which Tibbs was engaged at the time of the
conduct." J.A. 541. The jury found Defendant guilty.
pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29, Defendant
moved for judgment of acquittal, arguing that the Hate Crimes
Act is unconstitutional as applied to his assault of Tibbs.
The district court granted Defendant's motion, concluding
that the Hate Crimes Act as applied exceeds Congress's
Commerce Clause authority. Specifically, the district court
held that the Hate Crimes Act as applied does not regulate
activity that substantially affects interstate commerce. The
Government timely appealed the district court's judgment
appeal, the Government argues that the district court erred
in granting Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal
on grounds that the Hate Crimes Act, as applied to
Defendant's conduct, exceeds Congress's authority
under the Commerce Clause. We review de novo a district
court's award of judgment of acquittal. United States
v. Singh, 518 F.3d 236, 246 (4th Cir. 2008). To the
extent that there are factual disputes, we view "the
evidence in the light most favorable to the Government,"
which prevailed at trial. Id. at 252.
"is a well-worn yet ever-vital maxim that the
Constitution creates a Federal Government of enumerated
powers." United States v. Bollinger, 798 F.3d
201, 208 (4th Cir. 2015) (alterations and internal quotation
marks omitted) (quoting United States v. Lopez, 514
U.S. 549, 552 (1995)). Among these enumerated powers, the
Commerce Clause permits Congress "[t]o regulate Commerce
with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with
the Indian Tribes." U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3.
the Supreme Court's modern Commerce Clause jurisprudence,
"Congress is limited to regulating three broad
categories of interstate activity: (1) 'the use of the
channels of interstate commerce,' (2) 'the
instrumentalities of interstate commerce, or persons or
things in interstate commerce,' and (3) 'activities
that substantially affect interstate commerce.'"
Bollinger, 798 F.3d at 209 (quoting Lopez,
514 U.S. at 558-59). In limiting federal authority to these
categories, the Supreme Court has consistently invoked themes
of federalism and its view that "Congress's
interstate power must be 'read carefully to avoid
creating a general federal authority akin to the police
power.'" Id. at 211 (quoting Nat'l
Fed'n of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519, 536
paid close attention to the scope of its authority under the
Commerce Clause when it enacted the Hate Crimes Act, which
was designed to strengthen federal efforts to combat violent
hate crimes-crimes targeting victims based on certain
enumerated characteristics. National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Pub. L. 111-84, §§
4701-13, 123 Stat. 2190, 2835-44 (2009). The statute's
substantive provisions are preceded by congressional findings
regarding the prevalence and impact of violent hate crimes
throughout the country, as well as Congress's intent to
assist state and local efforts to combat such violence.
Id. § 4702.
hate crimes from other violent crimes-over which, Congress
emphasized, States continue to retain exclusive prosecutorial
authority-Congress concluded that violent hate crimes
"substantially affect interstate commerce in many
ways." Id. § 4702(6). Among these effects,
Congress explained that:
(A) The movement of members of targeted groups is impeded,
and members of such groups are forced to move across State
lines to escape the incidence or risk of such violence.
(B) Members of targeted groups are prevented from purchasing
goods and services, obtaining or sustaining employment, or
participating in other commercial activity.
(C) Perpetrators cross State lines to commit such violence.
(D) Channels, facilities, and instrumentalities of interstate
commerce are used to facilitate the commission of such
(E) Such violence is committed using articles that have
traveled in interstate commerce.
Id. As such, Congress concluded that "[f]ederal
jurisdiction over certain violent crimes motivated by bias
enables Federal, State, and local authorities to work
together as partners in the investigation and prosecution of
such crimes." Id. § 4702(9).
achieve this state-federal collaboration, the Hate Crimes Act
created several federal criminal offenses arising out of
violent acts undertaken with animus towards various actual or
perceived personal characteristics of the victim. Of
particular relevance, the statute provides that any person
who, under certain specified circumstances, "willfully
causes bodily injury to any person . . . because of the
actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual
orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person . .
. shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years." 18 U.S.C.
§ 249(a)(2)(A)(i). Such conduct may be prosecuted under
the statute when it, inter alia, "interferes
with commercial or other economic activity in which the
victim is engaged at the time of the conduct."
Id. § 249(a)(2)(B)(iv)(I).
adopting the Hate Crimes Act, Congress sought to "invoke
the full scope of [its] Commerce Clause power, and to ensure
that hate crimes prosecutions brought under [§ 249(a)(2)
would] not be mired in constitutional litigation." H.R.
Rep. No. 111-86, at 15 (2009). To ensure that conduct
criminalized under the statute would have "the requisite
connection to interstate commerce," Congress adverted to
several Supreme Court decisions setting forth the outer
limits of Congress's authority under the Commerce
Clause-including United States v. Lopez, in which
the Supreme Court held that a federal statute proscribing
possession of guns in school zones violated the Commerce
Clause, 514 U.S. at 567, and United States v.
Morrison, in which the Supreme Court held that a federal
statute providing a civil remedy for victims of
gender-motivated violence violated the Commerce Clause, 529
U.S. 598, 601-02 (2000), see id. ("To avoid
constitutional concerns arising from the decision in
[Lopez], the bill requires that the Government prove
beyond a reasonable doubt, as an element of the offense, a
nexus to interstate commerce in every prosecution brought
under one of the newly created categories of 18 U.S.C.
249(a)(2)."); see also id. (explaining that the
interstate commerce element was "drawn to comport with
Supreme Court guidance in Lopez and
[Morrison]"); id. (explaining that
"[t]he interstate commerce nexus required by the bill is
analogous to that required in other Federal criminal
statutes," such as the Church Arson Prevention Act of
1996, 18 U.S.C. § 247). Without question, the Hate
Crimes Act reflects Congress's carefully considered
judgment that the scope of the statute complies with
Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause, as that
authority has been understood by the Supreme Court.
the Commonwealth's Attorney in Chesterfield County
recognized that Defendant could not be prosecuted for a hate
crime in Virginia for his admission of having assaulted Tibbs
because he is gay. That is because the Virginia assault
statute that includes enhancements for hate crimes does not
include increased punishment for crimes involving sexual
orientation. Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-57 (covering assaults
and batteries resulting in bodily injury committed because of
race, religious conviction, color, or national origin).
because Tibbs was assaulted while preparing packages for
interstate sale and shipment, the Commonwealth's
Attorney's Office in Chesterfield County decided to
specifically refer this case to the U.S. Attorney's
Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Following the
U.S. Attorney General's certification that prosecuting
Defendant at the federal level is in the public interest and
is necessary to secure substantial justice, the Government
indicted Defendant under the Hate Crimes Act. Defendant's
prosecution therefore additionally reflects the considered
judgment of both the Attorney General and Commonwealth of
Virginia that the statute's scope neither exceeds
Congress's Commerce Clause authority nor interferes with
the Commonwealth's police power.
this legal backdrop, the Government contends that the
district court erred in holding that Defendant's assault
and battery of Tibbs lacked sufficient connection to
interstate commerce to support Defendant's conviction
under the Hate Crimes Act. Specifically, the Government
emphasizes that the jury found that the assault and
battery-which occurred while Tibbs was working as an Amazon
employee and preparing packages for interstate sale and
shipment-"interfere[d] with commercial or other economic
activity in which [Tibbs was] engaged at the time of the
[assault]." 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2)(B)(iv)(I).
According to the Government, that finding renders
Defendant's conviction consistent with Congress's
Commerce Clause authority.
the Hate Crimes Act may be constitutionally applied to an
unarmed assault of a victim engaged in commercial activity at
his place of work appears to be an issue of first impression
in this Circuit or any other. See, e.g., United
States v. Miller, 767 F.3d 585, 589, 602 (6th Cir. 2014)
(reversing Hate Crimes Act convictions due to erroneous jury
instructions and declining to consider an as-applied
challenge to the prosecution of a series of assaults on Amish
men); United States v. Mason, 993 F.Supp.2d 1308,
1317 (D. Or. 2014) (rejecting an as-applied challenge
involving an assault with a weapon, but noting that "it
might be unconstitutional to apply the [Hate Crimes Act] . .
. if the weapon [the defendant] used had not traveled in
interstate or foreign commerce, or if he had not used any
weapon at all"); United States v. Jenkins, 909
F.Supp.2d 758, 764, 773 (E.D. Ky. 2012) (concluding, albeit
reluctantly, that the Hate Crimes Act is constitutional as
applied to defendants who kidnapped and transported the
victim along a federal highway).
this lack of precedential guidance, the parties agree that
Defendant's conviction is constitutional, if at all, as
an effort to regulate "activities that substantially
affect interstate commerce." Bollinger, 798
F.3d at 209 (internal quotation marks omitted). The
Government argues that, by "interfering" with
Tibbs's packaging and shipping of products,
Defendant's conduct "substantially affect[ed]
interstate commerce," as that phrase has been
interpreted in decisions upholding federal prosecutions for
robbery and extortion under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. §
1951(a), and arson under 18 U.S.C. § 844(i). We agree.
to the Hate Crimes Act, the Hobbs Act includes an interstate
commerce element, establishing a federal crime for robbery or
extortion that "in any way or degree obstructs, delays,
or affects commerce or the movement of any article or
commodity in commerce." 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a);
see also Taylor v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 2074,
2080 (2016) ("[T]he Hobbs Act . . . contains such a
[jurisdictional] element-namely, the conduct criminalized
must affect or attempt to affect commerce in some way or
degree."). The Supreme Court addressed a Commerce Clause
challenge to the Hobbs Act in Taylor, which involved
the prosecution of a defendant who attempted to steal
marijuana and cash from two drug dealers. 136 S.Ct. at
2078-79. The Court held that the defendant's prosecution
complied with the Commerce Clause, characterizing its holding
as "straightforward and dictated by [the Court's]
precedent." Id. at 2077. Specifically, the
Court explained that Congress's authority to regulate
purely intrastate production, possession, and sale of
marijuana-due to the aggregate effect of those activities on
interstate commerce-compelled the conclusion that Congress
may likewise regulate conduct that interferes with or affects
such activities. See id. at 2080.
the Supreme Court held, was controlled by the Court's
decision in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005). In
Raich, the Supreme Court analyzed Congress's
authority to regulate the marijuana market, concluding that
Congress may "regulate purely local activities that are
part of an economic 'class of activities' that have a
substantial effect on interstate commerce."
Taylor, 136 S.Ct. at 2080 (quoting Raich,
545 U.S. at 17). The Taylor Court explained that its
holding "require[d] no more than that we graft our
holding in Raich onto the commerce element of the
Hobbs Act." Id.. Because "the activity at
issue [in Taylor], the sale of marijuana, is
unquestionably an economic activity . . . [i]t therefore
follows as a simple matter of logic that a robber who
affects or attempts to affect even the intrastate
sale of marijuana . . . affects or attempts to
affect commerce over which the United States has
jurisdiction." Id. (emphasis added). Notably,
the Court explained that the Government did not need to
provide evidence of the robbery's impact on
interstate commerce because "[b]y targeting a drug
dealer in this way, a robber necessarily affects or attempts
to affect commerce over which the United States has
jurisdiction"-namely, the sale of marijuana.
Id. at 2078.
therefore, establishes that, pursuant to its power under the
Commerce Clause, Congress may proscribe violent conduct when
such conduct interferes with or otherwise affects commerce
over which Congress has jurisdiction. See id.
Importantly, Congress may regulate violent conduct
interfering with interstate commerce even when the conduct
itself has a "minimal" effect on such commerce.
Id. at 2079, 2081; see also United States v.
Williams, 342 F.3d 350, 354 (4th Cir. 2003) (noting that
Lopez and Morrison "do not disturb our
continued application of this 'minimal effects'
standard [to Hobbs Act prosecutions]"); id.
(collecting circuit cases that have "uniformly held that
the Hobbs Act's jurisdictional predicate still requires
only a minimal effect on commerce").
the Hobbs Act and the Hate Crimes Act, the federal arson
statute includes an interstate commerce element, establishing
a federal crime for burning "any . . . property used in
interstate or foreign commerce or in any activity affecting
interstate or foreign commerce." 18 U.S.C. §
844(i). Thus was found to be so in Russell v. United
States, 471 U.S. 858 (1985), in which the Supreme Court
unanimously held that the Government constitutionally applied
the arson statute to prosecute a defendant who set fire to a
two-unit apartment building. Id. at 858-62.
reaching that conclusion in Russell, the Court noted
that the statute's broad phrasing-covering any property
used in an activity affecting interstate commerce-was
intended to "protect all business property, as well as
some additional property that might not fit that
description." Id. at 862. The rental property
at issue was "unquestionably" covered by the
statute, the Court explained, because "the local rental
of an apartment unit is merely an element of a much broader
commercial market in rental properties," and "[t]he
congressional power to regulate the class of activities that
constitute the rental market for real estate includes the
power to regulate individual activity within that
class." Id. As in Taylor, the Court
thus held that Congress may regulate violent conduct when
such conduct interferes with or affects commerce subject to
congressional regulation-there, the commercial market in
rental properties. See United States v. Garcia, 768
F.3d 822, 829-30 (9th Cir. 2014) ("[T]he congressional
power to regulate the class of activities that constitute the
rental market for real estate includes the power to regulate
individual activity within that class." (quoting
Russell, 471 U.S. at 862)).
Supreme Court again addressed the constitutional sweep of the
federal arson statute in Jones v. United States, 529
U.S. 848 (2000). There, the Court construed the statute to
permit the Government to pursue a prosecution only
when a defendant's conduct affects "property
currently used in commerce or in an activity affecting
commerce," thereby excluding private residences lacking
a nexus to interstate commerce. 529 U.S. at 859. In so doing,
the Court sought to avoid the potential constitutional
concerns that may have arisen had Congress sought to
"render . . . traditionally local criminal conduct . . .
a matter for federal enforcement." Id. at 858
(internal quotation marks omitted). As in Russell,
the Court's analysis in Jones makes plain that
when a defendant's conduct interferes with or otherwise
affects commerce subject to congressional regulation, that
conduct may be federally regulated under the Commerce Clause.
Jones, this Circuit has affirmed federal arson
convictions in cases involving defendants who set fires to a
restaurant and a church providing daycare services because
those buildings were "actively engaged in commercial
activity." See United States v. Terry, 257 F.3d
366, 370 (4th Cir. 2001) ("Regardless of the
[church's] effect on interstate commerce, the daycare
center's presence transformed the building into one that
was being actively employed for commercial purposes");
United States v. Aman, 480 Fed.Appx. 221, 223 (4th
Cir. 2012) (noting, in a case dealing with the arson of a
restaurant, that the federal arson statute's
"jurisdictional hook as interpreted in Jones
serves the purpose of limiting the statute to arson cases
where there really was a substantial and non-attenuated
effect on interstate commerce" (citations and
alterations omitted)). Therefore, the arson cases, like the
Hobbs Act cases, establish that when Congress may regulate
the commercial activities taking place in a building, it also
can criminalize activities that interfere with those
together, the Supreme Court's decisions in
Taylor, Russell, Jones, and this
Circuit's decisions in Terry and Aman,
establish that when Congress may regulate an economic or
commercial activity, it also may regulate violent conduct
that interferes with or affects that activity. Hence, if
individuals are engaged in ongoing economic or commercial
activity subject to congressional regulation-as Tibbs was at
the time of the assault-then Congress also may prohibit
violent crime that interferes with or affects such
individuals' ongoing economic or commercial activity,
including the type of bias-motivated assaults proscribed by
the Hate Crimes Act.
does not dispute-apparently for the good reason that it is
beyond dispute-that Congress enjoys the authority to regulate
the underlying commercial activity Tibbs was engaged in at
the time of the assault-the preparation of goods for sale and
shipment across state lines. See United States v.
Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 113 (1941) (noting that "the
shipment of manufactured goods interstate is such
[interstate] commerce"). Thus, upholding Defendant's
conviction "requires no more than that we graft [the
Supreme Court's] holding in [Darby] onto the
commerce element of the [Hate Crimes] Act."
Taylor, 136 S.Ct. at 2080. Because Tibbs'
activity-preparing packages for interstate sale and
shipment-"is unquestionably an economic activity . . .
[i]t therefore follows as a simple matter of logic that a
[defendant] who affects or attempts to affect even the
intrastate" preparation of packages for interstate sale
and shipment "affects or attempts to affect commerce
over which the United States has jurisdiction."
the evidence introduced at trial provided a
more-than-adequate basis for the jury to find that Tibbs'
assault "interfered" with or "affected"
Defendant's preparation of packages for interstate sale
and shipment, and therefore "affect[ed] commerce over
which the United States has jurisdiction." Id.
At the time of the physical assault, Tibbs was pulling boxes
and packaging them for interstate shipment. As a result of
the assault, the packages prepared by Tibbs flew into the air
and onto the ground. After the assault, Amazon closed the
entire area where Tibbs and Defendant were working so that
Tibbs's blood could be cleaned off the floor. And because
of the assault, Tibbs missed the rest of his shift, and his
work had to be absorbed by other facility employees.
Amazon was able to absorb the impact of Tibbs' absence
without missing any key shipping deadlines and that the
fulfillment center's performance during the shift
impacted by Tibbs' assault was in-line with its
performance during other shifts does not call into question
this determination. On the contrary, the Supreme Court and
this Court repeatedly have clarified that Congress may
regulate interference with commerce, even if the effect of
the interference on interstate commerce in an individual case
is "minimal." See Taylor, 136 S.Ct. at
2081 ("It makes no difference under our cases that any
actual or threatened effect on commerce in a particular case
is minimal."). Put otherwise, when Congress may
permissibly regulate a class of activities, the "courts
have no power 'to excise, as trivial, individual
instances' of the class." Id. (quoting
Perez v. United States, 402 U.S. 146, 154 (1971).
this Court has held that, in as-applied Commerce Clause
challenges, "the relevant question . . . is not whether
one particular offense has an impact on interstate commerce,
but whether the class of acts proscribed has such an
impact." United States v. Gibert, 677 F.3d 613,
627 (4th Cir. 2012); see also Terry, 257 F.3d at 370
(affirming an arson conviction and holding that "[i]t is
not dispositive that the commercial activity of providing
daycare services took place entirely within the city of
Raleigh"); Aman, 480 Fed.Appx. at ...