In United States v. Grimon, No. 17-15011 (May 13, 2019) (Hull, Marcus, Grant), the Court affirmed the defendant's identity-theft convictions.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the factual proffer supporting her guilty plea was insufficient to establish that unauthorized access devices affected interstate commerce, and therefore the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Court rejected that argument on the ground that the interstate-commerce element was not jurisdictional. It explained that the interstate-commerce element went to whether Congress had the power to regulate the conduct, not to whether the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the case. As a result, even if an indictment or factual proffer fails to sufficiently allege facts affecting interstate commerce, that would not deprive the court of subject matter jurisdiction over the offense; it would go only to the sufficiency of the evidence. All that's required for subject matter jurisdiction is an indictment charging a violation of a valid federal law. The Court rejected the defendant's reliance on Iguaran, a title 46 case, on the ground that the statute there required the district court to make a preliminary determination of subject matter jurisdiction.