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Supreme Court of the United States
October 2, 2018, Argued; June 20, 2019, Decided
[*2121] Justice Kagan announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor join.
The nondelegation doctrine bars Congress from transferring its legislative power to another branch of Government. This case requires us to decide whether 34 U. S. C. §20913(d), enacted as part of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), [***8] violates that doctrine. We hold it does not. Under §20913(d), the Attorney General must apply SORNA’s registration requirements as soon as feasible to offenders convicted before the statute’s enactment. That delegation easily passes constitutional muster.
Congress has sought, for the past quarter century, to combat sex crimes and crimes against children through sex-offender registration schemes. In 1994, Congress first conditioned certain federal funds on States’ adoption of registration laws meeting prescribed minimum standards. See Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, §170101, 108 Stat. 2038, 42 U. S. C. §14071 et seq. (1994 ed.). Two years later, Congress strengthened those standards, most notably by insisting that States inform local communities of registrants’ addresses. See Megan’s Law, §2, 110 Stat. 1345, note following 42 U. S. C. §13701 (1994 ed., Supp. II). By that time, every State and the District of Columbia had enacted a sex-offender registration law. But the state statutes varied along many dimensions, and Congress came to realize that their “loopholes and deficiencies” had allowed over 100,000 sex offenders (about 20% of the total) to escape registration. See H. R. Rep. No. 109- [**527] 218, pt. 1, pp. 20, 23-24, 26 (2005) (referring [***9] to those sex offenders as “missing” or “lost”). In 2006, to address those failings, Congress enacted SORNA. See 120 Stat. 590, 34 U. S. C. §20901 et seq.
SORNA makes “more uniform and effective” the prior “patchwork” of sex-offender registration systems. Reynolds v. United States, 565 U. S. 432, 435, 132 S. Ct. 975, 181 L. Ed. 2d 935 (2012). The Act’s express “purpose” is “to protect the public from sex offenders and offenders against children” by “establish[ing] a comprehensive national system for [their] registration.” §20901. To that end, SORNA covers more sex offenders, and imposes more onerous registration requirements, than most States had before. The Act also backs up those requirements with new criminal penalties. Any person required to register under SORNA who knowingly fails to do so (and who travels in interstate commerce) may be imprisoned for up to ten years. See 18 U. S. C. §2250(a).
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
139 S. Ct. 2116 *; 204 L. Ed. 2d 522 **; 2019 U.S. LEXIS 4183 ***; 27 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 953; 2019 WL 2527473
HERMAN AVERY GUNDY, Petitioner v. UNITED STATES
Notice: The LEXIS pagination of this document is subject to change pending release of the final published version.
Subsequent History: US Supreme Court rehearing denied by Gundy v. United States, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 7225 (U.S., Nov. 25, 2019)
Prior History: [***1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
United States v. Gundy, 695 Fed. Appx. 639, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11044 (2d Cir. N.Y., June 22, 2017)
Disposition: 695 Fed. Appx. 639, affirmed.
offenders, pre-Act, delegation, sex offender, registration, register, feasibility, intelligible, convicted, legislative power, framers, registration requirement, separation of powers, plurality, details, executive branch, applicability, prescribe a rule, provisions, sentence, assign, vested, cases, fill, sex offense, questions, quotation, powers, marks, vague
Administrative Law, Separation of Powers, Constitutional Controls, Nondelegation Doctrine, Criminal Law & Procedure, Postconviction Proceedings, Sex Offenders, Registration