by Amanda Frost, SCOTUSblog
Bond v. United States is back before the U.S. Supreme Court, and this time it raises a question that has long interested academics: What are the limits on Congress’s power to implement treaties? Missouri v. Holland, decided in 1920, held that Congress could enact legislation implementing a treaty even if such legislation was otherwise outside the scope of its Article I, Section 8 authority. The decision is now canonical, and it has been widely accepted by most academics and followed by courts. Then, in a 2005 article in the Harvard Law Review, Professor Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz challenged Missouri v. Holland’s rationale and asserted that it should be overruled. His arguments are now front and center before the Court in Bond.
The facts of Bond are unusually colorful. After Carol Anne Bond’s husband had an affair, Mrs. Bond sought revenge by sprinkling toxic chemicals around the car and mailbox owned by the woman involved. Prosecutors charged her with violating a federal statute implementing the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (also known as the “Chemical Weapons Convention”), to which the United States is a signatory. Mrs. Bond argued that Congress lacked the authority to criminalize her conduct, asserting that the statute is a “massive and unjustifiable expansion of federal law enforcement into state-regulated domain.”Details