Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Bond v. United States

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: January 18, 2013
Case #: 12-158
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 681 F.3d 149 (2012).
Full Text Opinion: http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/082677p1.pdf

Preemption: Whether Congress can enact legislation in areas normally reserved to the states in order to implement a valid treaty.

Petitioner discovered that her husband was having an affair with her friend. In order to get revenge, Petitioner coated her friend’s mailbox, car door handle and house doorknobs with extremely poisonous chemicals. Petitioner was convicted under the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998 (18 U.S.C. § 229), which implements a United Nations treaty known as the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, 32 I.L.M. 800 (1993).

In 2011, the Supreme Court vacated the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s previous decision which held that the petitioner did not have standing to challenge her conviction. In her earlier case, Petitioner argued that 18 U.S.C. § 229 violated the Tenth Amendment because it was an “unjustifiable expansion of federal law enforcement into state-regulated domain”. On remand, addressing Petitioner’s Tenth Amendment argument, the Third circuit upheld the conviction. The Third Circuit, interpreting Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920), held that Congress may enact legislation via the Necessary and Proper Clause addressing issues that are usually reserved to the states if that legislation is rationally related to a valid treaty, and in such situations, the Tenth Amendment did not apply.

Petitioner argues that Holland is an excessive grant of power to Congress to intrude upon issues typically reserved to the states, particularly in light of more recent decisions regarding issues of federalism.

Whether Congress can enact legislation in areas normally reserved to the states in order to implement a valid treaty.