Published on: Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided Bond v. United States (No. 12-158), addressing the use of a law implementing a chemical weapons treaty to prosecute a woman for attempting to poison her husband's lover.  The Court unanimously held that the federal prosecution was improper in this case.  According to the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, the statute could not be read to reach Bond's conduct.  "We conclude that, in this curious case, we can insist on a clear indication that Congress meant to reach purely local crimes, before interpreting the statute’s expansive language in a way that intrudes on the police power of the States.”  In their concurring opinion, Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito declared that the law's application to Bond in this case was unconstitutional. For an analysis of the decision, see this SCOTUSblog post.