On June 16, 2011, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Bond v. United States. After discovering that her husband had impregnated her close friend, the petitioner, Bond, placed caustic substances on objects that her friend was likely to touch. Bond was indicted in federal district court for, among other things, violating a federal law that prohibits the "knowing possession or use of any chemical that 'can caused death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals' where not intended for a 'peaceful purpose.'" The federal law was enacted as part of the implementation of a chemical weapons treaty.
Bond, on Tenth Amendment grounds, contended that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to enact the statute.While the case was in the court of appeals, the government maintained that Bond did not have standing to challenge the statute on Tenth Amendment grounds. (The government eventually changed its position and agreed that Bond did have standing to challenge the federal law on Tenth Amendment grounds.) The question that the Supreme Court answered was "whether a person indicted for violating a federal statute has standing to challenge its validity on grounds that, by enacting it, Congress exceeded its powers under the Constitution, thus intruding upon the sovereignty and authority of the States."
In an opinion delivered by Justice Kennedy, the Court unanimously held that Bond does have standing to challenge the federal statute on Tenth Amendment grounds. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justice Breyer joined.
To discuss the case, we have Dr. John C. Eastman, who is a Professor at the Chapman University School of Law.