Bond v. United States. Risa Kaufman Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute.
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
Bond v. United States
Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute
“The question presented by the case is whether the [Chemical Weapons Convention] Implementation Act . . . reaches a purely local crime: an amateur attempt by a jilted wife to injure her husband’s lover, which ended up causing only a minor thumb burn readily treated by rinsing with water.”
Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act
18 U.S.C. §229(a)(1): Forbids any person knowingly “to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, transfer directly or indirectly, receive, stockpile, retain, own, possess, or use, or threaten to use, any chemical weapon.”
Questions before the Court:
“If the treaty is valid there can be no dispute about the validity of the statute” that implements it “as a necessary and proper means to execute the powers of the Government.”
“[I]t is appropriate to refer to basic principles of federalism embodied in the Constitution to resolve ambiguity in a federal statute.”
“[I]n 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.”
“We are reluctant to ignore the ordinary meaning of ‘chemical weapon’ when doing so would transform a statute passed to implement the international Convention on Chemical Weapons into one that also makes it a federal offense to poison goldfish.”
“Since the Act is clear, the real question this case presents is whether the Act is constitutional as applied to petitioner. An unreasoned and citation-less sentence from our opinion in Missouri v. Holland . . . purported to furnish the answer. . . . Petitioner and her amici press us to consider whether there is anything to this ipse dixit. The Constitution’s text and structure show that there is not.”
“Although the parties have not challenged the constitutionality of the particular treaty at issue here, in an appropriate case I believe the Court should address the scope of the Treaty Power as it was originally understood.”
“[T]he global need to prevent chemical warfare does not require the Federal Government to reach into the kitchen cupboard, or to treat a local assault with a chemical irritant as the deployment of a chemical weapon. There is no reason to support that Congress . . . thought otherwise.”
What are the human rights implications of Bond?
(Don’t worry, Court won’t let Congress overstep. . . )
“Today’s decision in the Bond case removes any fears that the [Disabilities] Convention could ever be used to expand federal authority beyond the limits of the Constitution, undermine state sovereignty, or allow lawsuits to be filed in U.S. courts.”
2. Underscores the importance of state and local government.
Q:Are the Constitutional issues resolved?
A:No, but . . .
The bottom line: