A Pennsylvania woman was charged with violating a chemical weapons treaty for what should have been a state assault crime. The U.S. Supreme Court granted review to determine whether a federal law implementing an international chemical weapons treaty encompassed this woman’s actions.
CLDEF’s amicus curiae brief attacked the notion that once a treaty has been ratified by the U.S. Senate it vests in Congress new powers not enumerated in the Constitution to implement that treaty. Specifically, CLDEF asked the Supreme Court to overrule Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 542 (1920), the infamous case involving the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which disregarded the limited nature of the federal government, and the text of the Tenth Amendment.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, although the statute implementing the chemical weapons treaty criminalizes, inter alia, the possession or use of “chemical weapons,” it was not intended to include Mrs. Bond’s simple assault.