What is the Hobbs Act?

The Hobbs Act is a federal law enacted in 1964 that prohibits robbery or extortion. The act was enacted to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, and is frequently used in connection with cases involving public corruption, commercial disputes, and corruption directed at members of labor unions.

At issue in Sekhar v. United States, was whether the Hobbs Act could apply to the advice of an attorney, who is a salaried employee of a government agency. I.e., does that advice amount to intangible property that could be the subject of extortion under the act. According to Kevin Russell on SCOTUSblog:

I know none of you care, but the statute in Sekar was originally designed for prosecuting mobsters engaged in extortion rackets. It prohibits “obtaining property” from a victim through a threat of force. That obviously covers extortion of cash or cars. The question in Sekar was whether it also covered more esoteric things like “legal advice.” (The victim in Sekar was allegedly threatened for recommending to his client, a government agency, that it not do business with the defendant).

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Michael McCutcheon

Michael was formerly special projects editor at Mic. Prior to that, he worked at the Open Society Foundations on electoral reform. A native Seattleite, he's still mad about the SuperSonics.

MORE FROM

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

CNN retraction and undercover video feeds into pro-Trump media's "fake news" claims

The release of a secretly recorded video of a CNN producer on Tuesday has amplified criticism.

Lockdown lifted at Alabama military post after reports of "possible active shooter"

The Redstone Arsenal was briefly on lockdown Tuesday.

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Here's what New York's first official LGBTQ monument will look like

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

How will Trump's travel ban be enforced? Here's what the Supreme Court's decision really means.

The Supreme Court's order prevents most of the ban from taking effect before the case is heard, with limited exceptions.

Tick saliva could be the key to fighting a dangerous heart condition

Ticks could hold the secret to treating this heart condition.

CNN retraction and undercover video feeds into pro-Trump media's "fake news" claims

The release of a secretly recorded video of a CNN producer on Tuesday has amplified criticism.

Lockdown lifted at Alabama military post after reports of "possible active shooter"

The Redstone Arsenal was briefly on lockdown Tuesday.