On December 10, 2010 an amicus brief was filed on behalf of CLDEF in the case of Carol Ann Bond v. United States in the United States Supreme Court in support of petitioner Bond. This case presents an unusual situation where the government has reconsidered its previous position and embraced the position of the criminal defendant petitioner Bond in seeking to overturn the decision of the court of appeals.
Our amicus brief argues three points. First, the opinion of the court of appeals was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the federal government’s authority to criminalize behavior and the purpose of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Next, prudential considerations cannot be invoked to deny standing to a defendant in a criminal case in a challenge to the constitutionality of a federal criminal statute. Lastly, granting petitioner standing in this case is necessary to preserve the constitutional role of the Supreme Court to check the federalization of criminal law.