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January 25, 2006

Sex crimes and congressional power

Though not a sentencing case, folks who follow the regulation of sex crimes or the reach of congressional authority in the criminal justice area will want to check out today's split decision by a Ninth Circuit panel in US v. Clark, No. 04-30249 (9th Cir. Jan. 25, 2006) (available here).  The majority holds:

Where, as in this appeal, the defendant travels in foreign commerce to a foreign country and offers to pay a child to engage in sex acts, his conduct falls under the broad umbrella of foreign commerce and consequently within congressional authority under the Foreign Commerce Clause.

The dissent complains:

The Constitution cannot be interpreted according to the principle that the end justifies the means. The sexual abuse of children abroad is despicable, but we should not, and need not, refashion our Constitution to address it.

UPDATE: Howard Bashman at How Appealing here provides more coverage and background on Clark.

January 25, 2006 at 01:12 PM | Permalink

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