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On April 17, 2013, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Kebodeaux. The case involves the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) of 2006, which created both a direct federal requirement for sex offenders to register and a federal penalty for failing to register. The case considers whether a federal court of appeals erred in 1) operating on the premise that Kebodeaux was not under a federal registration obligation until SORNA was enacted, and 2) concluding that Congress lacked the power under Article I of the Constitution to apply SORNA’s registration requirement and penalty to a former sex offender like Kebodeaux, who was no longer in government custody or on supervised release.
To discuss the case, we have Randy Barnett, who is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at Georgetown University Law Center.