Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


Federal laws against prostitution

The news that a Federal wiretap picked up a phone conversation of Eliot Spitzer's in which he arranged a visit to a prostitute raises some questions that I haven't seen addressed anywhere. Why is the Federal government investigating prostitution? How can Federal laws against prostitution be constitutional? Given charges of money laundering and the fact that the IRS is involved, there are clearly other Federal laws that are alleged to have been broken. But there is also apparently a Federal law against prostitution; this New York Times article names two people "charged with a conspiracy to violate federal prostitution laws."

The 10th amendment to the Constitution of the United States says, in full, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Where in the Constitution is the power to regulate prostitution given to the Federal government? The commerce clause perhaps? I wouldn't be surprised if this were the justification. After all, this prostitution ring was international in scope, with multiple places of business in the United States. But as with so many applications of this controversial clause I see this as another unwarranted usurpation of power by the Feds. Is this what the writers of the Constitution had in mind? That the U.S. government would be prosecuting prostitutes and their johns? I doubt it.

Blog home
Blog archives