Bond v. United States: No Inhibiting State Power Precludes the Reach of Congressional Legislation

4 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2013

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: February 18, 2013


The United States Supreme Court has accepted the case of Bond v. United States, a case involving a criminal conviction under a federal statute that implemented a multilateral treaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention. Relying primarily on Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920), the Third Circuit affirmed the conviction despite defense claims that the crime was localized, was otherwise normally prosecutable by a state, and conviction under the statute was somehow inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment, a vague implied “federalism” and an allegedly implied “subject matter” limitation that appear no where in the Constitution.

For several reasons, defendant’s claim that Congress does not have power under Article I, Section 8, clauses 3, 10, and 18 of the Constitution must not be accepted. In sharp contrast to defendant’s claims, a prior study of the treaty power vis a vis the power or sovereignty of the states that addressed more than ninety cases (thirty-two of which are U.S. Supreme Court cases) reveals that the Tenth Amendment is no barrier and there is a lack of any inhibiting state authority. The thorough study of cases also reveals that there is no imaginary “subject matter” limitation and identifies eighteen general categories or subject areas where the treaty power prevailed over matters that had otherwise been the prerogative of the states, including state criminal law and state criminal procedures.

Keywords: Bond v. United States, Chemical Weapons Convention, Congress, Constitution, crimes, enhancement, federalism, Missouri v. Holland, Necessary and Proper Clause, powers delegated, subject matter, Supremacy Clause, Tenth Amendment, treaty, treaty power

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., Bond v. United States: No Inhibiting State Power Precludes the Reach of Congressional Legislation (February 18, 2013). U of Houston Law Center No. 2013-W-3, Available at SSRN: or

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

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