May 22, 2010
Sundby on Capital Juries
Scott E. Sundby (Washington and Lee University - School of Law) has posted War and Peace in the Jury Room: How Capital Juries Reach Unanimity (Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 62, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Using data from the Capital Jury Project, this article takes a close look inside the jury room at the process by which capital juries reach a unanimous verdict at the penalty phase. The process proves to be a fascinating one. The article first examines the relationship between first ballot voting patterns and the ultimate sentence, and then explores the dynamics of group interaction in achieving unanimity. In particular, by using the jurors’ own narratives, the piece delves into the psychological process and arguments through which the majority jurors persuade the holdouts to change their votes. This process is especially intriguing because individual juries do not, of course, have any training in how to deliberate and reach unanimity, and yet they are strikingly similar from case-to-case in how they convert holdouts to the majority position (the striking differences are between the dynamics of juries that reach a verdict of death and those that return a sentence of life without parole). Using the closing argument in the death penalty case of Susan Smith (the mother who had done the unthinkable, killing her two children by driving them into a lake and then trying to cast blame on a mysterious black man), the article concludes by examining how a closing argument might address many of the pressures that affect holdouts.
May 21, 2010
Findley on Innocence Protection in the Appellate Process
It is often said that truth “accurate sorting of the guilty from the innocent” is the primary objective of criminal trials. Among the important safeguards in our criminal justice system intended to ensure that the innocent are protected from wrongful conviction is the system of appeals and postconviction remedies. Recent empirical evidence based on DNA exoneration cases reveals, however, that the appellate process does not do a good job of recognizing or protecting innocence. Examination of known innocents “those proved innocent by postconviction DNA testing” shows that they have rarely obtained relief on appeal. Moreover, those individuals subsequently proved innocent by postconviction DNA testing do no better on appeal and their innocence is no more regularly acknowledged than otherwise similarly situated individuals who have not been exonerated by DNA. This article examines the variety of reasons why the appellate system fails to effectively guard against wrongful conviction of the innocent, and considers possible reforms that might enhance the system's innocence-protecting functions.
"No habeas rights at Bagram"
ScotusBlog has the story on this decision from the D.C. Circuit Court:
The ruling overturned a federal judge’s decision that the Supreme Court’s ruling two years ago allowing habeas challenges by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay extends to Bagram, at least for non-Afghan foreign nationals captured outside of Afghanistan and taken there for detention.
The opinion is here.
May 20, 2010
Mason on Hate Crime Law in Australia
Gail Mason (University of Sydney - Faculty of Law) has posted Hate Crime Laws in Australia: Are They Achieving Their Goals? (Criminal Law Journal, Vol. 33, No. 6, pp. 326-340, 2009) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
A number of common law countries have introduced legislation designed to respond to the problem of prejudice-related crime, commonly referred to as ‘hate crime’ law. This article examines recent developments in hate crime law in Australia. It outlines the general purpose of these laws and provides an overview of three different models: the penalty enhancement model; the sentence aggravation model; and the substantive offence model. Against this background, the article analyses several reported decisions under the sentence aggravation provisions that have operated in New South Wales since 2003 (s21A(2)(h) Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999). Four issues of significance emerge: whether the provisions apply to individual forms of hatred; whether intra-group conflict is covered; whether criminal conduct influenced by racial stereotypes comes within the ambit of the applicable motive test; and the question of which groups should be protected under the legislation. In terms of the last issue, the article argues that the recent decision of the NSWCCA in Dunn v R to include paedophiles as a protected group under s21A(2)(h) does little to further the social justice goals of hate crime laws.
"Fourth Amendment news--"House votes to expand national DNA arrest database""FourthAmendment.com has the story.
Chacon on Immigration Courts and Adjudication of Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights
Jennifer M. Chacón (University of California, Irvine School of Law) has posted A Diversion of Attention? Immigration Courts and the Adjudication of Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights (Duke Law Journal, Vol. 59, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Because of fundamental changes in the nature of immigration enforcement over the past decade, an increasing number of interactions between law enforcement agents and noncitizens in the United States are ultimately adjudicated not in criminal courts, but in immigration courts. Unfortunately, unlike the state and federal courts that have long performed an oversight function with regard to police activity, immigration courts were not designed to police the police. As a result, there are inadequate mechanisms in place to address many of the rights violations that are occurring in the context of immigration enforcement. This Article explores the procedural deficiencies of the current system and offers some proposals to address this growing problem.
May 19, 2010
Drumbl on Collective Responsibility and Post-Conflict Justice
Mark A. Drumbl (Washington and Lee University - School of Law) has posted Collective Responsibility and Post-Conflict Justice on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
How best to secure justice in the aftermath of mass atrocity? International criminal tribunals – and courtrooms and jailhouses generally – have emerged as influential accountability mechanisms. Yet the justice pursued by international criminal tribunals, although tangible, also is strikingly under-inclusive. These limitations suggest that adequately redressing collective violence might contemplate a discursive shift to inclusively incorporating other accountability mechanisms, including collective forms of responsibility. Collective responsibility implies non-criminal sanctions that attach to groups whose misfeasance or nonfeasance is supportive of, acquiescent in, causally connected to, or necessary for serious violations of international criminal law to occur. This paper examines what collective responsibility mechanisms might look like; what ends they might serve; what dangers they pose; and how they might contribute to a more robust instantiation of post-conflict justice.
Levinson and Young on Racial Bias and Ambiguous Evidence
Justin D. Levinson (pictured) and Danielle Young (University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law and University of Hawai`i at Manoa Dept. of Psychology) have posted Different Shades of Bias: Skin Tone, Implicit Racial Bias, and Judgments of Ambiguous Evidence (West Virginia Law Review, Vol. 112, pp. 307-350, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Many commentators and judges have come to accept the changing reality of racial discrimination – discrimination that has largely shifted from overt and intentional to covert and unintentional. Despite this scholarly progress, the dearth of empirical studies testing implicit bias within the legal system is surprising. In an effort to begin filling the empirical research gap, this Article proposes and tests a new hypothesis called Biased Evidence Hypothesis. Biased Evidence Hypothesis posits that when racial stereotypes are activated, jurors automatically and unintentionally evaluate ambiguous trial evidence in racially biased ways. Because racial stereotypes in the legal context often involve stereotypes of African-Americans and other minority group members as aggressive criminals, Biased Evidence Hypothesis, if confirmed, could help explain the continued racial disparities that plague the American criminal justice system.
To test Biased Evidence Hypothesis, we designed an empirical study that tested how mock-jurors judge trial evidence. As part of an “evidence slideshow” in an armed robbery case, we showed half of the study participants a security camera photo of a dark-skinned perpetrator and the other half of the participants an otherwise identical photo of a lighter-skinned perpetrator. We then presented participants with evidence from the trial, and asked them to judge how much each piece of evidence tended to indicate whether the defendant was guilty or not guilty. The results of the study supported Biased Evidence Hypothesis and indicated that participants who saw a photo of a dark- skinned perpetrator judged subsequent evidence as more supportive of a guilty verdict compared to participants who saw a photo of a lighter-skinned perpetrator.
We consider the results of the empirical study not only as part of a discussion implicit racial bias in the legal system, but also as part of an amplification of the Story Model of decision-making. This model, which provides a step-by-step explanation of how jurors make decisions, has yet to consider the potentially pervasive impact of implicit racial bias in decision-making. Using the Story Model as a guide and considering the study results together with other emerging research on implicit bias, we deconstruct the multitude of ways that implicit racial bias can affect jury decision-making.
May 18, 2010
deGuzman on Crimes Against HumanityCrimes Against Humanity (HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW, Schabas et al., eds., Routledge, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The concept of crimes against humanity emerged in reaction to massive government-orchestrated crimes including, in particular, the holocaust. Unlike the other prototypically international crimes – war crimes and genocide – the proscription against crimes against humanity has not been enshrined in an international convention. Instead, the law of crimes against humanity has developed piecemeal, largely through the legal instruments and jurisprudence of the various courts and tribunals adjudicating these crimes. This chapter describes the evolution of the definition of crimes against humanity and argues that the ad hoc development of these crimes has produced enduring normative debates and doctrinal ambiguities.
Slobogin on Proportionality, Privacy, and Public Opinion
Christopher Slobogin (Vanderbilt University - School of Law) has posted Proportionality, Privacy and Public Opinion: a Reply to Kerr and Swire (Minnesota Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This Article responds to two reviews of my book, Privacy at Risk: The New Government Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment (University of Chicago Press, 2007). The book criticizes Supreme Court decisions that immunize from constitutional challenge numerous government surveillance techniques, including monitoring of public activities, spying on the home using generally available technology, and aggregation of records describing everyday transactions. Privacy at Risk proposes instead that the Fourth Amendment be read to permit only those surveillance techniques that produce a success rate roughly proportionate to the intrusion they visit upon those affected, and argues that intrusiveness should be measured empirically rather than simply determined through guesswork. In their reviews of the book, Professor Swire finds this proportionality idea attractive but would tweak it, while Professor Kerr argues that intrusions on civil liberties should be gauged “normatively” rather than empirically and that the justification for a particular intrusion should depend on numerous variables besides the extent to which it is likely to produce evidence of wrongdoing. This Article defends my original proposals and adds discussion about (1) the relevance of empirical findings to constitutional adjudication and (2) the relevance of political process theory to surveillance of groups.
Russell on Recidivist Enhancements and Prior Drug Convictions
Sarah French Russell (Lecturer, Yale Law School) has posted Rethinking Recidivist Enhancements: The Role of Prior Drug Convictions in Federal Sentencing (UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 4, 2010) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Recidivist sentencing enhancements, which increase criminal sentences for defendants with prior convictions, are a prominent feature of the federal criminal justice system. This Article considers the policy rationales supporting recidivist enhancements and reexamines them in light of two recent Supreme Court cases, United States v. Booker and Shepard v. United States. Recidivist enhancements are traditionally justified based on rationales of retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation; proponents justify recidivist enhancements on the theory that people who reoffend are more culpable and more likely to recidivate. There is considerable doubt, however, regarding whether these rationales support the expansive federal enhancements currently tied to prior drug convictions. The Supreme Court’s decisions in Booker and Shepard, which provide judges with additional sentencing discretion, allow judges to reexamine these rationales in the cases before them. Booker rendered the sentencing guidelines advisory, and judges may now decline to apply guidelines enhancements on policy grounds. Shepard limits the types of evidence that a judge may consider in determining whether a prior state conviction triggers a federal sentencing enhancement and allows judges to avoid applying statutory and guideline enhancements in many cases. Innovative Shepard litigation in the District of Connecticut has recently led to a marked reduction in the number of enhancements based on drug convictions applied by judges in the District. Judges nationwide can apply this Shepard analysis. Although rigorous application of Shepard increases sentencing discretion and may lead to more just and effective sentences in individual cases, Shepard can also create sentencing disparities for similarly situated defendants. Under Shepard, the application of an enhancement may depend solely on factors such as the availability of court transcripts or whether the defendant’s state conviction precisely matches the language of a federal enhancement. Given the potential for unwarranted disparities – and the serious doubts as to whether the enhancements further any of the purposes of sentencing – Congress and the U.S. Sentencing Commission should reduce the magnitude of enhancements based on prior drug convictions or even eliminate them altogether.
May 17, 2010
Interesting commentary on today's juvenile LWOP and sex offender cases at Sentencing Law and Policy blog
You can find a summary of Doug Berman's posts on these cases here.
Today's criminal law/procedure cert grant
Issue summary from ScotusBlog, which also links to briefs and opinion below:
- Wall v. Kholi: Whether a state court sentence-reduction motion consisting of a plea for leniency constitutes an “application for State post-conviction or other collateral review,” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2), thus tolling the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s one-year limitations period for a state prisoner to file a federal habeas corpus petition.
Writ in second juvenile LWOP case dismissed as improvidently grantedSullivan v. Florida is here.
Opinion declaring LWOP unconstitutional for juvenile in nonhomicide case
Graham v. Florida is here. Here is the syllabus:
Petitioner Graham was 16 when he committed armed burglary and another crime. Under a plea agreement, the Florida trial court sentenced Graham to probation and withheld adjudication of guilt. Subsequently, the trial court found that Graham had violated the terms of his probation by committing additional crimes. The trial court adjudicated Graham guilty of the earlier charges, revoked his probation, and sentenced him to life in prison for the burglary. Because Florida has abolished its parole system, the life sentence left Graham no possibility of release except executive clemency. He challenged his sentence under the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, but the State First District Court of Appeal affirmed.
Held: The Clause does not permit a juvenile offender to be sentenced to life in prison without parole for a nonhomicide crime. Pp. 7–31.
(a) Embodied in the cruel and unusual punishments ban is the “precept . . . that punishment for crime should be graduated and proportioned to [the] offense.” Weems v. United States, 217 U. S. 349, 367. The Court’s cases implementing the proportionality standard fall within two general classifications. In cases of the first type, the Court has considered all the circumstances to determine whether the length of a term-of-years sentence is unconstitutionally excessive for a particular defendant’s crime. The second classification comprises cases in which the Court has applied certain categorical rules againstthe death penalty. In a subset of such cases considering the nature of the offense, the Court has concluded that capital punishment is impermissible for nonhomicide crimes against individuals. E.g., Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U. S. ___, ___. In a second subset, cases turning on the offender’s characteristics, the Court has prohibited death for defendants who committed their crimes before age 18, Roper v. Simmons, 543 U. S. 551, or whose intellectual functioning is in a low range, Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U. S. 304. In cases involving categorical rules, the Court first considers “objective indicia of society’s standards, as expressed in legislative enactments and state practice” to determine whether there is a national consensus against the sentencing practice at issue. Roper, supra, at 563. Next, looking to “the standards elaborated by controlling precedents and by the Court’s own understanding and interpretation of the Eighth Amendment’s text, history, meaning, and purpose,” Kennedy, supra, at ___, the Court determines in the exercise of its own independent judgment whether the punishment in question violates the Constitution, Roper, supra, at 564. Because this case implicates a particular type of sentence as it applies to an entire class of offenders who have committed a range of crimes, the appropriate analysis is the categorical approach used in Atkins, Roper, and Kennedy. Pp. 7–10.
(b) Application of the foregoing approach convinces the Court that the sentencing practice at issue is unconstitutional. Pp. 10–31.
(1) Six jurisdictions do not allow life without parole sentences for any juvenile offenders. Seven jurisdictions permit life without parole for juvenile offenders, but only for homicide crimes. Thirty-seven States, the District of Columbia, and the Federal Government permit sentences of life without parole for a juvenile nonhomicide offender in some circumstances. The State relies on these data to argue that no national consensus against the sentencing practice in question exists. An examination of actual sentencing practices in those jurisdictions that permit life without parole for juvenile nonhomicide offenders, however, discloses a consensus against the sentence. Nationwide,there are only 129 juvenile offenders serving life without parole sentences for nonhomicide crimes. Because 77 of those offenders are serving sentences imposed in Florida and the other 52 are imprisoned in just 10 States and in the federal system, it appears that only 12 jurisdictions nationwide in fact impose life without parole sentences on juvenile nonhomicide offenders, while 26 States and the District of Columbia do not impose them despite apparent statutory authorization. Given that the statistics reflect nearly all juvenile nonhomicide offenders who have received a life without parole sentence stretching back many years, moreover, it is clear how rare these sentences are, even within the States that do sometimes impose them. While more common in terms of absolute numbers than the sentencing practices in, e.g., Atkins and Enmund v. Florida, 458 U. S. 782, the type of sentence at issue is actually as rare as those other sentencing practices when viewed in proportion to the opportunities for its imposition.The fact that many jurisdictions do not expressly prohibit the sentencing practice at issue is not dispositive because it does not necessarily follow that the legislatures in those jurisdictions have deliberately concluded that such sentences would be appropriate. See Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U. S. 815, 826, n. 24, 850. Pp. 10–16.
(2) The inadequacy of penological theory to justify life without parole sentences for juvenile nonhomicide offenders, the limited culpability of such offenders, and the severity of these sentences all lead the Court to conclude that the sentencing practice at issue is cruel and unusual. No recent data provide reason to reconsider Roper’s holding that because juveniles have lessened culpability they are less deserving of the most serious forms of punishment. 543 U. S., at 551. Moreover, defendants who do not kill, intend to kill, or foresee that life will be taken are categorically less deserving of such punishments than are murderers. E.g., Kennedy, supra. Serious nonhomicide crimes “may be devastating in their harm . . . but ‘in terms of moral depravity and of the injury to the person and to the public,’ . . . they cannot be compared to murder in their ‘severity and irrevocability.’ ” Id., at ___. Thus, when compared to an adult murderer, a juvenile offender who did not kill or intend to kill has a twice diminished moral culpability. Age and the nature of the crime each bear on the analysis. As for the punishment, life without parole is “the second most severe penalty permitted by law,” Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U. S. 957, 1001, and is especially harsh for a juvenile offender, who will on average serve more years and a greater percentage of his life in prison than an adult offender, see, e.g., Roper, supra, at 572. And none of the legitimate goals of penal sanctions—retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation, see Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11, 25—is adequate to justify life without parole for juvenile nonhomicide offenders, see, e.g., Roper, 543 U. S., at 571, 573. Because age “18 is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood,” it is the age below which a defendant may not be sentenced to life without parole for a nonhomicide crime. Id., at 574. A State is not required to guarantee eventual freedom to such an offender, but must impose a sentence that provides some meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation. It is for the State, in the first instance, to explore the means and mechanisms for compliance. Pp. 16–24.
(3) A categorical rule is necessary, given the inadequacy of two alternative approaches to address the relevant constitutional concerns. First, although Florida and other States have made substantial efforts to enact comprehensive rules governing the treatment of youthful offenders, such laws allow the imposition of the type of sentence at issue based only on a discretionary, subjective judgment by a judge or jury that the juvenile offender is irredeemably depraved, and are therefore insufficient to prevent the possibility that the offender will receive such a sentence despite a lack of moral culpability. Second, a case-by-case approach requiring that the particular offender’s age be weighed against the seriousness of the crime as part of a gross disproportionality inquiry would not allow courts to distinguish with sufficient accuracy the few juvenile offenders having sufficient psychological maturity and depravity to merit a life without parole sentence from the many that have the capacity for change. Cf. Roper, supra, at 572–573. Nor does such an approach take account of special difficulties encountered by counsel in juvenile representation, given juveniles’ impulsiveness, difficulty thinking in terms of long-term benefits, and reluctance to trust adults. A categorical rule avoids the risk that, as a result of these difficulties, a court or jury will erroneously conclude that a particular juvenile is sufficiently culpable to deserve life without parole for a nonhomicide. It also gives the juvenile offender a chance to demonstrate maturity and reform. Pp. 24–29.
(4) Additional support for the Court’s conclusion lies in the fact that the sentencing practice at issue has been rejected the world over: The United States is the only Nation that imposes this type of sentence. While the judgments of other nations and the international community are not dispositive as to the meaning of the Eighth Amendment, the Court has looked abroad to support its independent conclusion that a particular punishment is cruel and unusual. See, e.g., Roper, supra, at 575–578. Pp. 29–31.
982 So. 2d 43, reversed and remanded.
KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which STEVENS, GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which GINSBURG and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. ROBERTS, C. J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined, and in which ALITO, J., joined as to Parts I and III. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
Opinion upholding federal sex offender statute
in United States v. Comstock is here. Here is the syllabus:
Federal law allows a district court to order the civil commitment of a mentally ill, sexually dangerous federal prisoner beyond the date he would otherwise be released. 18 U. S. C. §4248. The Government instituted civil-commitment proceedings under §4248 against respondents, each of whom moved to dismiss on the ground, inter alia, that, in enacting the statute, Congress exceeded its powers under the Necessary and Proper Clause, U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 18. Agreeing, the District Court granted dismissal, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed on the legislative-power ground.
Held: The Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress authority sufficient to enact §4248. Taken together, five considerations compel this conclusion. Pp. 5–22.
(1) The Clause grants Congress broad authority to pass laws in furtherance of its constitutionally enumerated powers. It makes clear that grants of specific federal legislative authority are accompanied by broad power to enact laws that are “convenient, or useful” or “conducive” to the enumerated power’s “beneficial exercise,” e.g., McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 413, 418, and that Congress can “legislate on that vast mass of incidental powers which must be involved in the constitution,” id., at 421. In determining whether the Clause authorizes a particular federal statute, there must be “means-ends rationality” between the enacted statute and the source of federal power. Sabri v. United States, 541 U. S. 600, 605. The Constitution “addresse[s]” the “choice of means” “primarily . . . to the judgment of Congress. If it can be seen that the means adopted are really calculated to attain the end, the degree of their necessity, the extent to which they conduce to the end, the closeness of the relationship between the means adopted and the end to be attained, are matters for congressional determination alone.” Burroughs v. United States, 290 U. S. 534, 547–548. Thus, although the Constitution nowhere grants Congress express power to create federal crimes beyond those specifically enumerated, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned, or to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned but who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others, Congress possesses broad authority to do each of those things under the Clause. Pp. 5–9.
(2) Congress has long been involved in the delivery of mental health care to federal prisoners, and has long provided for their civil commitment. See, e.g., Act of Mar. 3, 1855, 10 Stat. 682; Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984, 18 U. S. C. §§4241–4247. A longstanding history of related federal action does not demonstrate a statute’s constitutionality, see, e.g., Walz v. Tax Comm’n of City of New York, 397 U.S. 664, 678, but can be “helpful in reviewing the substance of a congressional statutory scheme,” Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U. S. 1, 21, and, in particular, the reasonableness of the relation between the new statute and pre-existing federal interests. Section 4248 differs from earlier statutes in that it focuses directly upon persons who, due to a mental illness, are sexually dangerous. Many of these individuals, however, were likely already subject to civil commitment under §4246, which, since 1949, has authorized the postsentence detention of federal prisoners who suffer from a mental illness and who are thereby dangerous (whether sexually or otherwise). The similarities between §4246 and §4248 demonstrate that the latter is a modest addition to a longstanding federal statutory framework. Pp. 9–14.
(3) There are sound reasons for §4248’s enactment. The Federal Government, as custodian of its prisoners, has the constitutional power to act in order to protect nearby (and other) communities from the danger such prisoners may pose. Moreover, §4248 is “reasonably adapted” to Congress’ power to act as a responsible federal custodian. United States v. Darby, 312 U. S. 100, 121. Congress could have reasonably concluded that federal inmates who suffer from a mental illness that causes them to “have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct,” §4247(a)(6), would pose an especially high danger to the public if released. And Congress could also have reasonably concluded that a reasonable number of such individuals would likely not be detained by the States if released from federal custody. Congress’ desire to address these specific challenges, taken together with its responsibilities as a federal custodian, supports the conclusion that §4248 satisfies “review for means-end rationality,” Sabri, supra, at 605. Pp. 14–16.
(4) Respondents’ contention that §4248 violates the Tenth Amendment because it invades the province of state sovereignty in an area typically left to state control is rejected. That Amendment does not “reserve to the States” those powers that are “delegated to the United States by the Constitution,” including the powers delegated by the Necessary and Proper Clause. See, e.g., New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 159. And §4248 does not “invade” state sovereignty, but rather requires accommodation of state interests: Among other things, it directs the Attorney General to inform the States where the federal prisoner “is domiciled or was tried” of his detention, §4248(d),and gives either State the right, at any time, to assert its authority over the individual, which will prompt the individual’s immediate transfer to State custody, §4248(d)(1). In Greenwood v. United States, 350 U. S. 366, 375–376, the Court rejected a similar challenge to §4248’s predecessor, the 1949 statute described above. Because the version of the statute at issue in Greenwood was less protective of state interests than §4248, a fortiori, the current statute does not invade state interests. Pp. 16–18.
(5) Section 4248 is narrow in scope. The Court rejects respondents’ argument that, when legislating pursuant to the Necessary and Proper Clause, Congress’ authority can be no more than one step removed from a specifically enumerated power. See, e.g., McCulloch, supra, at 417. Nor will the Court’s holding today confer on Congress a general “police power, which the Founders denied the National Government and reposed in the States.” United States v. Morrison, 529 U. S. 598, 618. Section §4248 has been applied to only a small fraction of federal prisoners, and its reach is limited to individuals al-ready “in the custody of the” Federal Government, §4248(a). Thus, far from a “general police power,” §4248 is a reasonably adapted and narrowly tailored means of pursuing the Government’s legitimate interest as a federal custodian in the responsible administration of its prison system. See New York, supra, at 157. Pp. 18–22.
The Court does not reach or decide any claim that the statute or its application denies equal protection, procedural or substantive due process, or any other constitutional rights. Respondents are free to pursue those claims on remand, and any others they have preserved.
551 F. 3d 274, reversed and remanded.
BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and STEVENS, GINSBURG, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., and ALITO, J., filed opinions concurring in the judgment. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined in all but Part III– A–1–b.
May 16, 2010
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