Bond v. United States (2011)

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Bond v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued February 22, 2011
Decided June 16, 2011
Full case name Carol Anne Bond, Petitioner v. United States
Docket nos. 09-1227
Citations 564 U.S. ___ (more)
Prior history Defendant convicted, 2-07-cr-00528-001 (E.D. Pa.); affirmed, 581 F.3d 128 (3d Cir. 2009); certiorari granted, 562 U. S. ___ (2010)
Subsequent history Case
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy, joined by unanimous
Concurrence Ginsburg, joined by Breyer
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. X

Bond v. United States, 564 U.S. ___ (2011), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that individuals, not just states, may have standing to raise Tenth Amendment challenges to a federal law. The issue arose in the prosecution of an individual under the federal Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act for a local assault using a chemical irritant. The defendant argued, in part, that this application of the law violated the Constitution's federalism limitations on Congress' statutory implementation of treaties. Having decided the defendant could bring the constitutional challenge, the Court remanded the case without deciding the merits of the claims.


The husband of Carol A. Bond of Lansdale, Pennsylvania impregnated Myrlinda Haynes and Ms. Bond told Haynes, "I am going to make your life a living hell." Federal postal inspectors videotaped Ms. Bond stealing mail and putting poison in the muffler of Haynes's car. Bond was indicted for stealing mail and for violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention Implementation Act of 1998. Her appeal argued that applying the chemical weapons treaty to her violated the Tenth Amendment.[1] The Court of Appeals found Bond lacked standing to make a Tenth Amendment claim.[2]


In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court found that Bond had standing to argue that a federal statute enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention in this instance intruded on areas of police power reserved to the states. Justice Kennedy reasoned that actions exceeding the federal government's enumerated powers undermine the sovereign interests of the states. Individuals seeking to challenge such actions are subject to Article III and prudential standing rules, but if the litigant is a party to an otherwise justiciable case or controversy, that litigant is not forbidden to object that her injury results from disregard of the federal structure of American government. The Court expressed no view on the merits of Bond's challenge to the federal statute and remanded the case to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.[3]

Subsequent history[edit]

The Third Circuit, on remand, found that the Supreme Court's decision gave Bond standing to raise federalism questions about the federal government's power to enforce legislation that implements a treaty. However, the circuit court found that, under the 1920 Supreme Court precedent Missouri v. Holland, the legislation was indisputably valid because the treaty is valid.[4]

The case then returned to the Supreme Court in Bond v. United States, 572 U.S. ___ (2014), in which the Court ruled that the Implementation Act did not reach her conduct; it, therefore, declined to address the constitutional issue.[5]

See also[edit]

  • Reid v. Covert, a 1957 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that treaties and executive agreements cannot override the Constitution


  1. ^ Adam Liptak (October 18, 2010). "A 10th Amendment Drama Fit for Daytime TV". New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ Adam Liptak (February 22, 2011). "Court Weighs the Power of Congress". New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ Adam Liptak (June 28, 2011). "A Significant Term, With Bigger Cases Ahead". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  4. ^ Text of U.S. v. Bond (08-2677), 681 F.3d 149 (3rd Cir. 2012) is available from: 
  5. ^ "Bond v. United States". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved 3 June 2014.

External links[edit]