Supreme Court rules on two corrections cases.

Author:Gormsen, Lia
Position:News Briefs

In May, the Supreme Court ruled that federal officials can indefinitely confine inmates deemed "sexually dangerous" after their prison terms are complete, according to The Washington Post. In a 7-2 decision, the high court reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions of those considered sexually dangerous. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who has been nominated to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, successfully argued the government's case. She likened the government's right to quarantine federal inmates with contagious and deadly diseases to its right to hold dangerous sexual predators. "Would anybody say that the federal government would not have Article 1 power to effect that kind of public safety measure? And the exact same thing is true here," she said. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, saying Congress can only pass laws that deal with the federal powers listed in the Constitution, and nothing "expressly delegates" Congress or any other branch of the federal government with the powers to enact the civil commitments of sexually dangerous people. The case is called U.S. v. Comstock, 09-1224.


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