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.