Champion v. Ames
188 U.S. 321 (1903)

  • Congress passed the Federal Lottery Act of 1895, which prohibited the interstate transportation of foreign lottery tickets.
    • Congress felt that the Interstate Commerce Clause gave them the authority to regulate this activity.
  • Champion imported a box of Paraguayan lottery tickets from Texas to California. He was convicted of violating the Federal Lottery Act. He appealed.
    • Champion argued that the Federal Lottery Act was unconstitutional because Congress did not have the power to regulate his activity.
  • The US Supreme Court found the Act to be Constitutional.
    • The US Supreme Court found that the Interstate Commerce Clause gave Congress the authority to regulate chattel, or anything being moved interstate.
  • In a dissent it was argued that this would amount to giving Congress general police power, since it amounted to saying that “everything is an article of commerce the moment it is taken to be transported from place to place, and of interstate commerce if from State to State.”