September 26, 2018
Another effective preview of coming SCOTUS review of SORNA delegation in Gundy
I was so very pleased to publish this post last week the original commentary of Wayne Logan concerning Gundy v. United States, the soon-to-be-heard Supreme Court case about the administration of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). I now see that SCOTUSblog here has up its Gundy preview authored by Mila Sohoni and titled "Argument preview: Justices face nondelegation challenge to federal sex-offender registration law." I recommend the piece in full, and here is how it gets started and ends:
Over 12 years ago, Congress enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. One provision of SORNA created a requirement that a convicted sex offender register with every jurisdiction in which he resides, works or studies, as well as in the jurisdiction in which he was convicted. Another part of SORNA, its criminal enforcement provision, made it a crime for a convicted sex offender subject to the registration requirement to fail to register or to keep his registration information updated if he travels across state lines. But what about sex offenders convicted before SORNA’s enactment? SORNA did not itself specify whether pre-SORNA offenders were required to register. It instead authorized the attorney general of the United States to “specify the applicability” of SORNA’s registration requirement to “sex offenders convicted before” the date of SORNA’s enactment, and “to prescribe rules for the registration of any such sex offenders and for other categories of sex offenders who are unable to comply” with the registration requirement.
In subsequent years, defendants charged under SORNA contended that the act and its enforcement scheme violated a panoply of constitutional rules....
How the Supreme Court chooses to decide this case could have potentially sweeping implications on several scores. The government notes that since SORNA was enacted, 4,000 sex offenders have been convicted of “federal sex-offender registry violations,” and “many of those offenders who failed to register would go free” if the court were to invalidate the delegation in SORNA. In addition, as Gundy notes, there are “hundreds of thousands” of pre-SORNA offenders now covered by the attorney general’s guidelines — as many people, he points out, as live in Wyoming — and the court’s decision will determine whether or not they will face criminal liability for failure to comply with SORNA’s registration requirements going forward.
Beyond the law of sex-offender registration, the approach the court takes in Gundy could have repercussions across the law of the administrative state. Broad delegations of authority to the executive branch form the foundation of modern regulatory government. But given Ginsburg’s dissenting vote in Reynolds, Justice Clarence Thomas’ recent opinions on nondelegation and administrative power, and Justice Neil Gorsuch’s dissent from denial of rehearing en banc in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit case involving SORNA, there is a real possibility that the Gundycourt will issue a ruling that revives the nondelegation doctrine from its 80-year slumber. If the justices ultimately do find that SORNA’s delegation does something more than just “sail close to the wind,” then we can confidently expect to see a string of challenges attacking the exercise of federal administrative power in areas ranging from environmental law to immigration law to food-and-drug law to the law of tariffs and trade. Cass Sunstein famously wrote that nondelegation doctrine has had only “one good year”; when the justices issue their ruling in Gundy, we will discover whether it will finally have a second.
Prior related post:
September 26, 2018 at 09:43 AM | Permalink
I won't even pretend to know anything about the legal state of this. But I do know that the Nanny Big Governments (NBGs) in the U.S. have grown completely and utterly out of control. All you have to do is look at their "$EX offender" witch hunt. We cannot have some supposed legal body (e.g. like the criminal U.S. Congress) just create a "law" that says basically that some agency can handle "all of this", no matter what "all of this" is.
Government agencies are built to grow, grow, and grow. They are built to consume. They are built to overreach. They are built to be out of control. They are built to TRY to operate outside of any laws as much as they can (again, witness the witch hunt). And certain types of awful, anti-American "people" are drawn to that and the money like a drug. So we cannot allow NBG agencies to do much without complete oversight. We must demand and ensure that they are shrunk as small as possible. Always.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Sep 26, 2018 12:15:18 PM
It seems that we may have a justice on SCOTUS who has been accused of sex crimes. Can anyone predict what the consequences of that action will be?
Posted by: Oswaldo | Sep 29, 2018 1:05:50 PM