Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

As many readers are aware, Bond v. United States is a quirky case. The federal government prosecuted under the implementing legislation for the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) a betrayed wife who used chemical agents to try to harm her husband’s lover. The wife argued that, as applied to her, the implementing legislation violated the Tenth Amendment. She thus raised difficult questions about the scope of the treaty power and of Congress’s authority to implement treaties through the Necessary and Proper Clause. The Bond Court avoided those questions with a clear statement rule: “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.” This resolution betrays the Court’s ambivalence about the appropriate limits of the treaty power and about the Court’s own capacity to define those limits.


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