No. 99-478.

530 U.S. 466 (2000)


United States Supreme Court.

Decided June 26, 2000.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Joseph D. O'Neill argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were Charles I. Coant, Richard G. Singer, and Jeffrey T. Green.

Lisa Sarnoff Gochman, Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey, argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief was John J. Farmer, Jr., Attorney General.

Edward C. DuMont argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging affirmance. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Waxman, Assistant Attorney General Robinson, Deputy Solicitor General Dreeben, and Nina Goodman.*

Stevens, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Scalia, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a concurring opinion, p. 498. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which Scalia, J., joined as to Parts I and II, p. 499. O'Connor, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Kennedy and Breyer, JJ., joined, p. 523. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., joined, p. 555.

Justice Stevens, delivered the opinion of the Court.

A New Jersey statute classifies the possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose as a "second-degree" offense. N. J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:39-4(a) (West 1995). Such an offense is punishable by imprisonment for "between five years and 10 years." § 2C:43-6(a)(2). A separate statute, described by that State's Supreme Court as a "hate crime" law, provides for an "extended term" of imprisonment if the trial judge...

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