Gundy v. United States is an extraordinarily technical case involving the legal obligations of sex offenders convicted more than a decade ago. Yet it also asks the Supreme Court to reopen a door that was nailed shut during the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration. And should that door be opened, it could have sweeping legal consequences, potentially hobbling entire federal agencies and rendering much of American law unenforceable.
How a strange Supreme Court case involving sex offenders could gut the EPA
U.S. Supreme Court Refuses Case About Sex Offenders' Treatment
The case had been closely watched because it could have given the court a chance to reconsider the fundamental constitutional question of how much authority Congress can delegate to the executive branch. In a 5-to-3 decision, the court ultimately ducked the question, but only after what appeared to have been a considerable and extended struggle. The case was argued on Oct. Kavanaugh joined the court.
Non-forcible sex-crimes offenders are eligible for early parole, California Supreme Court rules
The ruling upholds a decision by a state judge in Lafayette who last year threw out a charge filed against a man who altered his card to remove the label. State attorneys had argued that the state had a legitimate interest in having the information on the ID card: to let law enforcement officers know the cardholder's criminal history. But Justice James Genovese, writing for the majority, said there are less restrictive ways to inform law enforcement than requiring someone to show the branded card every time they are required to produce a government ID. He added that the state has a sex offender registry and other methods of notifying the public without compelling the offender to repeatedly self-identify as one every time an ID must be produced. Justice William Crain dissented, arguing that the speech involved is the government's not the defendant's.
On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that thousands of inmates convicted of non-forcible sex crimes may be eligible for early release under a ballot measure that was overwhelmingly approved by voters four years ago. The initiative, called Proposition 57, was written by then-Governor Jerry Brown D and passed by nearly two-thirds of the electorate. Brown said it was never intended to cover sex offenders.