Bond v. United States (2011)

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Bond v. United States
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued February 22, 2011
Decided June 16, 2011
Full case nameCarol Anne Bond, Petitioner v. United States
Docket no.09-1227
Citations564 U.S. 211 (more)
131 S. Ct. 2355; 180 L. Ed. 2d 269; 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4558
Case history
PriorDefendant convicted, 2:07-cr-00528-001 (E.D. Pa.); affirmed, 581 F.3d 128 (3d Cir. 2009); cert. granted, 562 U.S. 960 (2010).
SubsequentOn remand, 681 F.3d 149 (3d Cir. 2012); cert. granted, 568 U.S. 1140 (2013); reversed, No. 12-158, 572 U.S. ___ (2014).
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor · Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityKennedy, joined by unanimous
ConcurrenceGinsburg, joined by Breyer
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. X

Bond v. United States, 564 U.S. 211 (2011), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that individuals, just like 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 that used a chemical irritant. The defendant argued, in part, that the application of the law violated the Constitution's federalism limitations on the statutory implementation of treaties by Congress.

Having decided the defendant could bring the constitutional challenge, the Court remanded the case without deciding the merits of the claims.


After the husband of Carol A. Bond of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, impregnated Myrlinda Haynes, Bond told Haynes, "I am going to make your life a living hell." Carol Bond stole the poisonous chemical: 10-chlorophenox arsine from her employer (Rohm and Haas) and purchased potassium dichromate from the internet. Bond smeared the chemicals on doorknobs, car doors, and the mailbox. Haynes suffered a chemical burn on her thumb.[1][2] 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.[3] The Court of Appeals found Bond lacked standing to make a Tenth Amendment claim.[4]


The Supreme Court concluded unanimously that Bond had standing to argue that a federal statute enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention in that 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, the litigant is not forbidden to object that the 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.[5]

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 the 1920 Supreme Court precedent Missouri v. Holland made the legislation indisputably valid since the treaty is valid.[6]

The case then returned to the Supreme Court in Bond v. United States, 572 U.S. ___ (2014) in which it ruled that since the Implementation Act did not reach her conduct, the Court declined to address the constitutional issue.[7][8]

See also[edit]

  • Reid v. Covert, a 1957 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an executive agreement cannot override the Constitutional right to trial by jury.


  1. ^ Epps, Garrett (2014-06-02). "Woman Not Guilty of Chemical Warfare; Constitution Saved". The Atlantic Magazine. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  2. ^ Lithwick, Dahlia (2011-02-22). "The Case of the Poisoned Lover". Slate. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  3. ^ Adam Liptak (October 18, 2010). "A 10th Amendment Drama Fit for Daytime TV". New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  4. ^ Adam Liptak (February 22, 2011). "Court Weighs the Power of Congress". New York Times. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  5. ^ Adam Liptak (June 28, 2011). "A Significant Term, With Bigger Cases Ahead". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  6. ^ United States v. Bond, 681 F.3d 149 (3d Cir. 2012).
  7. ^ Bond v. United States, No. 12-158, 572 U.S. ___ (2014)
  8. ^ "Bond v. United States". SCOTUSblog. Retrieved 3 June 2014.

External links[edit]