SCOTUS: Justices skeptical about government’s interpretation of sex-offender-registration law (Analysis)

In the early days of Monday Night Football, as soon as it became evident that the game was effectively over, color commentator “Dandy” Don Meredith would begin to croon, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over . . . .” During the government’s argument in Tuesday’s hearing in Nichols v. United States, the lights in the courtroom actually went out. And, if the Justices’ hostile questioning of the government’s lawyer provides any clue, the party may indeed be over.

After Daniel Hansmeier, the federal public defender representing petitioner Lester Ray Nichols, got through his argument fairly uneventfully, Assistant to the Solicitor General Curtis Gannon met with unfriendly fire from no fewer than five Justices. Their skepticism centered around the government’s principal contention in the case, which concerns the interpretation of a key provision in the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Full Analysis


SCOTUS: Justices weigh whether sex offenders should be tracked worldwide

Argument preview: When a sex offender moves out of the country, does he have to tell anyone? [UPDATED]

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Not sure but it looks like SCOTUS thinks HR515 (IML) is good and better than the state law in Kansas and SORNA for notification and preventing international sex trafficking. It seems like SCOTUS is actually in favor of that law. This will be a big fight to repeal it.

I didn’t get that they think it’s better. Just that it would have covered the specific situation in the case that they were hearing. They did however use “pedophiles” as a synonym for “sex offender”. The lack of distinction worries me.. And the attorney didn’t didn’t bother to correct them.

I read a little common sense in what Robert’s stated, a common sense Pearl & perhaps Ear Candy from Breyer, LOL!!

If Chief Justice Roberts had some difficulty accepting the government’s “jurisdiction involved” interpretation, he had even more difficulty accepting that an ordinary person could be expected to anticipate it. “I understand your argument,” said Chief Justice Roberts, “but . . . what’s the maximum penalty for violating this provision?” Told it was 10 years, Roberts said, “That’s an awful lot to ask a layperson to parse at the penalty of ten years for being wrong. . . . For a registration violation.”

“All right. I’m trying to understand it,” Breyer said. “It is a jurisdiction that is involved in a special way. It is a jurisdiction that used to be a residence, and it is no longer a residence. And that creates an involvement even after they’re no longer a residence.” Pause. “You know, the more I explain it, the less I understand it.” Laughter.

Got to enjoy the logic.

Even if we could take their line of questioning as some sort of indication for how they would rule, I still see no reason to be hopeful here. One of the key points is that more stringent laws are in place now, so they could rule in favor of Lester without risking any sort of precedent that would allow RSOs more freedom, due to the harsher IML now in place.

Fred Scott. Buck v. Bell. Korematsu. Smith v. Doe. And who can forget “money is speech”?

SCOTUS is far from infallible. It generally takes a generation or two for a bad SCOTUS decision, if it is overturned at all.

SCOTUS judges are going to play devils’ advocates, but don’t think for a second that actually means anything.

I am not going to jump on any cheering bandwagon here. While it is patently obvious that some of the justices were correctly questioning the validity of the scheme of SORNA implementation – even John “Price Club” Roberts was a bit miffed (though he must be mindful of his own legacy here, as well as the fact he owes his very presence on the Supreme Court due to Smith v Doe, so he’s probably going to walk a fine line on the decision) – Justice Alito STILL came out with the “well, aren’t pedophiles dangerous and that’s why we have SORNA?” argument. THIS IS VERY TELLING.

I hate to write in all caps, but had to be emphatic here. When litigating sex offender issues in front of a Constitutional-decisionmaking entity such as the US Supreme Court, one must always…ALWAYS!!!… argue the TRUE facts of recidivism and danger by former sex offenders. The fact that Alito made mention of the “danger” was telling because he would NOT have stated what he said IF the litigant for our side brought out the facts in the first place.

This is my bugaboo and I am at a point where the ONLY litigants I can trust whom will bring out this argument is Janice Bellucci and other CA RSOL legal professionals. I’m sorry for being a hardass about this but damn it!!! lawyers, MAN UP AND EMPHASIZE THE OBVIOUS!

End of rant….

@ Son of Liberty Child of Freedom: I have no doubt that the attorneys arguing on behalf of the plaintiff did indeed submit “the facts” in their brief. It’s just clear the Justice(s) don’t give a turd and probably never even read the brief!! God forbid that their own “facts” be contradicted by actual statistics, research and evidence!

I offer a suggested read for you all. Law Professor Corey Yung, at Univ. of Kansas, wrote a review in 2010, called the The Emerging Criminal War on Sex Offenders.

This article addresses four central questions. First, what is the difference between normal law enforcement policy and a “war” on crime? Second, assuming such a line can be discerned, has the enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (“AWA”) in combination with other sex offender laws triggered a transition to a criminal war on sex criminals? Third, if such a criminal war is emerging, what will be the likely effects of such a transition? Fourth, if such a criminal war is emerging with substantial negative consequences, how can it be stopped?

By reviewing America’s history of criminal wars, primarily the War on Drugs, the article identifies three essential characteristics of a criminal war: marshalling of resources, myth creation, and exception making. It concludes that the federalization of sex offender policy brought about by the AWA has turned what was conventional law enforcement into a nascent criminal war on sex crimes. This change can have repercussions as substantial as the drug war has had on American criminal justice and society.

It certainly seems to be the case in the USA. The war on drugs failed, now they are focusing attention on a despicable class of people.

Stay strong all ya all!

it’s in:

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for a unanimous court in Nichols v. United States. The court reversed the judgment of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and held that the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) does not require a registered sex offender to update his or her state registration when the offender moves to a non-SORNA jurisdiction.