Supreme Court takes Carol Anne Bond chemical weapon case
In late 2006 and early 2007, Bond, a trained microbiologist who once worked for the chemical company Rohm and Haas Co., admitted to trying to poison a former friend who became pregnant by Bond's husband. Such cases are typically handled by local prosecutors, but Bond was prosecuted under a federal chemical weapons law, Reuters reports.
The 1998 U.S. law bans the use of chemical weapons other than for a peaceful purpose. The law grew out of the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international agreement meant to keep terrorists and rogue countries from obtaining chemical agents and weapons of mass destruction.
The case could allow the court to revisit a 1920 precedent written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that lets Congress have broad authority to adopt laws that implement treaties. The case presents a conflict between the desire to enforce international treaty norms and the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limits federal power.
Bond was sentenced to six years in prison. She entered a guilty plea that gave her the right to appeal the use of the federal law in her case. She said the use of the law invaded powers reserved to the U.S. states under the 10th Amendment.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the conviction, despite finding that the law makes every kitchen cleaning cabinet into a potential cache of chemical weapons. Bond appealed, with her attorney claiming that the federal government overreached in attempting to criminalize purely local conduct using the chemical weapons treaty.
The court may hear the appeal in April with a decision likely coming by the end of June, Reuters reports.