Chemical Weapons Case At High Court Tests Reach Of Federal Prosecutions


A criminal case before the Supreme Court today sounds like a soap opera, NPR reports. In 2005, Carol Anne Bond, a Philadelphia suburbanite, was sentenced to prison for six years for violating U.S. laws to carry out a 1993 chemical weapons treaty for attempting to harm her husband’s mistress with chemicals.

Bond cites the 10th Amendment to the Constitution — a Tea Party favorite because it highlights states’ rights. It says that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution [] are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” She argues that Congress exceeded its authority by using a chemical weapons treaty to criminalize the kind of activity routinely dealt with under state law. In short, she maintained that the federal government had treated a simple assault as if it were a terrorist attack. If Bond had faced state instead of federal charges, she would likely have been subject to three months to two years in prison, rather than six years.

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