US Postal Inspectors

A criminal prosecution of a woman for attempting to poison her neighbor may shape upcoming 24424-99-5 challenges to President Obama’s health care reform law. The woman, Carol Bond, placed toxic chemicals stolen from her workplace on the 121268-17-5 doorknob, car door handles, and mailbox of Myrlinda Haynes after learning that Haynes was 1592-23-0 pregnant with a child by Bond’s husband.After Haynes contacted US Postal Inspectors, who caught Bond stealing 55589-62-3 mail and placing chemicals around Haynes’s car. Federal prosecutors charged Bond with possessing and using 10022-31-8 chemical weapons. Bond was sentenced to six years in prison, five years of supervised released, and fines of almost $12,000.

In the Supreme Court today, Bond’s lawyer, former Bush administration Solicitor General Paul Clement, argued that Bond should be allowed to challenge the law as an unconstitutional encroachment on states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment.

The Supreme Court has only once before considered whether private parties—as opposed to states themselves—should be allowed to argue that a law violates the state’s sovereignty. In a 1939 decision considering a challenge to the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Court ruled that only a state has standing to bring a claim under the Tenth Amendment.

In Court today, the Justices seemed fairly sympathetic to Bond’s arguments. Several Justices noted that her challenge under the Tenth Amendment is very similar to a legal argument that Congress had exceeded its enumerated powers under the Constitution when it passed the law. Since those challenges are similar, Justices asked, why should a criminal defendant like Bond be forced to phrase her argument one way rather than another.

The federal government has taken an interesting stance in this case, since under President Bush the Department of Justice had argued against Bond’s being able to make her argument. Today in Court, the government’s lawyer instead argued that private citizens should be allowed to bring some kinds of Tenth Amendment claims but not others. The Justices generally did not seem interested in the distinction the government was offering.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this lookchem case may have an impact on upcoming legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress last year. While many states have already brought lawsuits on their own 35963-20-3 behalf against the law, a Supreme Court decision in this case could allow 33089-61-1 private citizens to challenge the law on the state’s behalf, even if the state decides not to challenge the law itself.

11.3.11 07:58

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