A Partial Defense of the Majority Opinion in Bond v. United States

Chief Justice Roberts’ majority opinion in Bond v. United States has been sharply criticized (see here and here), so I’ll say few words partially in its favor. The case has seemed odd from the beginning because the federal statute at issue implements the Chemical Weapons Convention and (as the majority says) the local misuse of household chemicals does not seem the type of activity that is likely to implicate an international treaty. 

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Chief Justice Roberts Again Rewrites Law, Avoids Duty to Hold Government’s Feet to the Constitutional Fire

Bond was a case about the scope of the treaty power—can Congress do something pursuant to a treaty that it can’t otherwise do?—and yet the majority opinion avoided that discussion altogether in the name of a faux judicial minimalism.

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Natural Born Citizens and Minor v Happersett

I had an interesting exchange by email with a reader I’ll identify (at his request) just as TJ, an independent researcher, about the original meaning of “natural born citizen” and my views expressed in this post.  We’ve covered a lot of ground so I’m just going to pick out a part of it here, regarding the Supreme Court’s 1874 decision in Minor v. Happersett.

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Amicus Brief in Tuaua v. United States

Last week I joined a group of distinguished scholars on this amicus brief filed in support of plaintiffs/appellants in Tuaua v. United States, the Samoan citizenship case now at the D.C. Circuit.  As I’ve discussed before, the issue is whether the Constitution allows the United States to treat inhabitants of American Samoa (a U.S. territory) as something less than American citizens (they are called “non-citizen nationals”).

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