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The American Journal of International Law


In Bond v. United States,1 the U.S. Supreme Court disallowed the prosecution of a domestic poisoning case under legislation that implements the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction.2 In doing so, a majority of the Court declined to address constitutional issues concerning the relationship between the national government's treaty power and the U.S. federal system of government. Instead, the majority resolved the case by applying a presumption that federal statutes do not intrude on traditional areas of state authority, such as the prosecution of local crimes, absent a clear indication that Congress intended that result. This interpretive presumption may have implications for how other treaty-implementing legislation is construed, and also for how such legislation is drafted in the United States in the future.

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