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O'CONNOR, J., dissenting
amendments Title VII reached much more than discrimination in the economic aspects of employment. The protection afforded under Title VII has always been expansive, extending not just to economic inequality, but also to “working environments so heavily polluted with discrimination as to destroy completely the emotional and psychological stability of minority group workers'” and “demeaning and disconcerting’” conditions of employment. Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v. Vinson, 477 U. S. 57, 66, 67 (1986) (quoting Rogers v. EEOC, 454 F. 2d 234, 238 (CA5 1971), cert. denied, 406 U. S. 957 (1972); Henson v. Dundee, 682 F. 2d 897, 902 (CA11 1982)).
Given the historic reach of Title VII, Congress' decision to authorize comparably broad remedies most naturally suggests that legislators thought existing penalties insufficient to effectuate the law's settled purposes. There is no need to guess whether Congress had a new conception of injury in mind, however. The Legislature set out the reason for new remedies in the statute itself, explaining that “additional remedies under Federal law are needed to deter unlawful harassment and intentional discrimination in the workplace.” Pub. L. 102–166, § 2, 105 Stat. 1071. This authoritative evidence that Congress added new penalties principally effectuate an established goal of Title VII, not contrary speculation, should guide our decision.
By resting on the remedies available under Title VII and distinguishing the recently amended version of that law, the Court does make today's decision a narrow one. Nevertheless, I remain of the view that Title VII offers a tort-like cause of action to those who suffer the injury of employment discrimination. See Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U. S., at 264–265 (O'CONNOR, J., concurring in judgment). For this reason, I respectfully dissent.
EVANS v. UNITED STATES
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR
THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT
No. 90-6105. Argued December 9, 1991-Decided May 26, 1992 As part of an investigation of allegations of public corruption in Georgia, a
Federal Bureau of Investigation agent posing as a real estate developer initiated a number of conversations with petitioner Evans, an elected member of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. The agent sought Evans' assistance in an effort to rezone a tract of land and gave him, inter alia, $7,000 in cash, which Evans failed to report on his state campaign-financing disclosure form or his federal income tax return. Evans was convicted in the District Court of, among other things, extortion under the Hobbs Act, which is "the obtaining of property from another, ... induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right,” 18 U. S. C. $ 1951(b)(2). In affirming the conviction, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the trial court's jury instruction did not require a finding that Evans had demanded or requested the money, or that he had conditioned the performance of any official act upon its receipt. However, it held that “passive acceptance of the benefit” was sufficient for a Hobbs Act violation if the public official knew that he was being offered the payment in
exchange for a specific requested exercise of his official power. Held: An affirmative act of inducement by a public official, such as a de
mand, is not an element of the offense of extortion “under color of official right” prohibited by the Hobbs Act. Pp. 259-271.
(a) Congress is presumed to have adopted the common-law definition of extortion—which does not require that a public official make a demand or request—unless it has instructed otherwise. See Morissette v. United States, 342 U. S. 246, 263. While the Act expanded the common-law definition to encompass conduct by a private individual as well as a public official, the portion of the Act referring to official misconduct continues to mirror the common-law definition. There is nothing in the sparse legislative history or the statutory text that could fairly be described as a "contrary direction,” ibid., from Congress to narrow the offense's scope. The inclusion of the word “induced” in the definition does not require that the wrongful use of official power begin with a public official. That word is part of the definition of extortion by a private individual but not by a public official, and even if it did apply to
Opinion of the Court
a public official, it does not necessarily indicate that a transaction must be initiated by the bribe's recipient. Pp. 259–266.
(b) Evans' criticisms of the jury instruction—that it did not properly describe the quid pro quo requirement for conviction if the jury found that the payment was a campaign contribution, and that it did not require the jury to find duress—are rejected. The instruction satisfies the quid pro quo requirement of McCormick v. United States, 500 U. S. 257, because the offense is completed when the public official receives payment in return for his agreement to perform specific official acts; fulfillment of the quid pro quo is not an element of the offense. Nor is an affirmative step on the official's part an element of the offense on which an instruction need be given. Pp. 267–268.
(c) The conclusion herein is buttressed by the facts that many courts have interpreted the statute in the same way, and that Congress, al
though aware of this prevailing view, has remained silent. Pp. 268–269. 910 F. 2d 790, affirmed.
STEVENS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, BLACKMUN, and SOUTER, JJ., joined, in Parts I and II of which O'CONNOR, J., joined, and in Part III of which KENNEDY, J., joined. O'CONNOR, J., post, p. 272, and KENNEDY, J., post, p. 272, filed opinions concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, C. J., and SCALIA, J., joined, post, p. 278.
C. Michael Abbott, by appointment of the Court, 501 U. S. 1229, argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner.
Deputy Solicitor General Bryson argued the cause for the United States. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Starr, Assistant Attorney General Mueller, Christopher J. Wright, and Richard A. Friedman.
JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
We granted certiorari, 500 U. S. 951 (1991), to resolve a conflict in the Circuits over the question whether an affirmative act of inducement by a public official, such as a demand, is an element of the offense of extortion "under color of official right” prohibited by the Hobbs Act, 18 U. S. C. $ 1951. We agree with the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that it is not, and therefore affirm the judgment of the court below.
Opinion of the Court
Petitioner was an elected member of the Board of Commissioners of DeKalb County, Georgia. During the period between March 1985 and October 1986, as part of an effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate allegations of public corruption in the Atlanta area, particularly in the area of rezonings of property, an FBI agent posing as a real estate developer talked on the telephone and met with petitioner on a number of occasions. Virtually all, if not all, of those conversations were initiated by the agent and most were recorded on tape or video. In those conversations, the agent sought petitioner's assistance in an effort to rezone a 25-acre tract of land for high-density residential
On July 25, 1986, the agent handed petitioner cash totaling $7,000 and a check, payable to petitioner's campaign, for $1,000. Petitioner reported the check, but not the cash, on his state campaign-financing disclosure form; he also did not report the $7,000 on his 1986 federal income tax return. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Government, as we must in light of the verdict, see Glasser v. United States, 315 U. S. 60, 80 (1942), we assume that the jury found that petitioner accepted the cash knowing that it was intended to ensure that he would vote in favor of the rezoning application and that he would try to persuade his fellow commissioners to do likewise. Thus, although petitioner did not initiate the transaction, his acceptance of the bribe constituted an implicit promise to use his official position to serve the interests of the bribegiver.
In a two-count indictment, petitioner was charged with extortion in violation of 18 U. S. C. $ 1951 and with failure to report income in violation of 26 U. S. C. $7206(1). He was convicted by a jury on both counts. With respect to the extortion count, the trial judge gave the following instruction:
“The defendant contends that the $8,000 he received from agent Cormany was a campaign contribution. The
Opinion of the Court
solicitation of campaign contributions from any person is a necessary and permissible form of political activity on the part of persons who seek political office and persons who have been elected to political office. Thus, the acceptance by an elected official of a campaign contribution does not, in itself, constitute a violation of the Hobbs Act even though the donor has business pending before the official.
“However, if a public official demands or accepts money in exchange for [a] specific requested exercise of his or her official power, such a demand or acceptance does constitute a violation of the Hobbs Act regardless of whether the payment is made in the form of a cam
paign contribution.” App. 16–17. In affirming petitioner's conviction, the Court of Appeals noted that the instruction did not require the jury to find that petitioner had demanded or requested the money, or that he had conditioned the performance of any official act upon its receipt. 910 F. 2d 790, 796 (CA11 1990). The Court of Appeals held, however, that “passive acceptance of a benefit by a public official is sufficient to form the basis of a Hobbs Act violation if the official knows that he is being offered the payment in exchange for a specific requested exercise of his official power. The official need not take any specific action to induce the offering of the benefit.” Ibid. (emphasis in original).1
This statement of the law by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is consistent with holdings in eight other
1 The Court of Appeals explained its conclusion as follows: "[T]he requirement of inducement is automatically satisfied by the power connected with the public office. Therefore, once the defendant has shown that a public official has accepted money in return for a requested exercise of official power, no additional inducement need be shown. “The coercive nature of the official office provides all the inducement necessary.'” 910 F. 2d, at 796-797 (footnote omitted).