Tentherism alert (I did not see this one coming)

Wow.

The courts are currently grappling – and hard and seriously — with the question of whether the always-overreaching federal government can prosecute a woman who (allegedly) tried to poison her former best friend (fbf) after the fbf got knocked up by the woman’s husband. (Not sure if we’re still allowed to say “knocked up.”)

Even a major 10th Amendment obsessive like me didn’t see this one coming.

This is not a joke. The U.S. Supreme Court has taken the case and it will presumably lead to the latest refinement in the true meaning of the 10th as regarding what kind of crimes can be federalized and the question of whether an individual can sue for an alleged violation of states’ rights or whether a state has to do it.

Legal columnist Adam Liptak of the New York Times explains it all here.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/19/2010 - 09:38 am.

    My money’s on the USSCT upholding the law, even though it’s application in this case seems ridiculous. If an international treaty on the subject is within the fed’s power (a point beyond question, I’d think) then why would it not also have the power to criminalize acts which run contrary to the purposes of the treaty and which occur within its borders?

    The most interesting question is why the USSCT took the case.

  2. Submitted by Clare LaFond on 10/19/2010 - 10:39 am.

    I’m looking forward to following this case and its potential implications through your future posts, Eric.

  3. Submitted by Don Medal on 10/19/2010 - 11:07 am.

    A couple of quick questions:
    a) what’s the federal basis here? (what’s the federal crime charged?)

    b) the name of the case or other info I can use in a web search and get the info on my own?

  4. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/19/2010 - 12:09 pm.

    It seems pretty straightforward. Bond was charged and pleaded guilty to a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, “a treaty aimed at terrorists and rogue states.” In using toxic poisons to murder her fbf, she was a “terrorist.” I’m sure the fbf felt terror when she discovered someone was trying to kill her.

  5. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/19/2010 - 02:19 pm.

    Don, the case is Bond v. United States, No. 09-1227.

    The most disturbing part of the case for me is the lower court’s holding that Ms. Bond does not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the law. It strikes me that a possibly unconstitutional felony conviction ought to give a defendant sufficient injury in fact for standing. Put another way, if she can’t challenge the statute, who could?

  6. Submitted by Don Medal on 10/19/2010 - 03:38 pm.

    RB:
    “Put another way, if she can’t challenge the statute, who could?”

    Previously it was the State, I believe. The State in this case seems disinclined to do anything. (why?) There does not seem to be dispute that she did the crime, it is what to do about it. There’s precedence for Fed action when the State doesn’t take any but this story leads one to wonder why the local government didn’t pursue a case of attempted murder.

    I’m not sure whether the Court took it on to settle the issue of standing or the issue of the defendant’s appeal on the applicability of the statute to her crime, a different question. We will see.

    This what makes USSC decisions interesting reading. There are always literally two good sides.

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