SCOTUS Decides: Did Jealous Wife Violate Chemical Weapons Ban?
The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in the case of Carole Anne Bond, the Pennsylvania woman who tried poisoning the “other woman” who had slept with her husband. Bond was prosecuted under a federal law designed to ban chemical weapons, per the United States’ multiple international treaties to that effect. But justices seemed skeptical Tuesday that such laws should be used in old-fashioned jealous wife cases.
Paul Clement, a lawyer for Bond, said that the law intrudes on the police power that is reserved for the States. He said if the justices find that the statute “really does reach every malicious use of chemicals, anywhere in the nation” than it “clearly exceeds Congress’s limited and enumerated powers.”
Justice Samuel Alito couldn’t believe that the government had actually charged Bond under the Chemical Weapons Convention and Implementation Act.
“If you told ordinary people that you were going to prosecute Ms. Bond for using a chemical weapon, they would be flabbergasted,” he said.
Justice Anthony Kennedy told Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli that it seemed “unimaginable that you would bring this prosecution.”
Alito noted the breadth of the statute used to prosecute Bond. “Would it shock you if I told you that a few days ago my wife and I distributed toxic chemicals to a great number of children?” he said. “On Halloween we gave them chocolate bars. Chocolate is poison to dogs so it’s a toxic chemical.”
The case will be decided in July.