05.17.10

Comment On The Supreme Court’s Decision In U.S. v. Comstock

[In a 7-2 decision released today by the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Comstock, the Court upheld a provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act which allowed for the civil commitment of a mentally ill federal prisoner who is also a convicted sex offender, beyond the date the convicted offender would have otherwise been released.

In 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), then the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, played a leading role in the Senate’s efforts to enact the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which established registration and notification requirements for sex offenders, and other provisions to protect children from sex offenders.  Leahy has been a leader in advancing several bills to provide additional protections for children.]

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld Congress' landmark law to protect children from predators, finding it to be constitutional.  This important case was successfully argued before the Supreme Court by Solicitor General Kagan earlier this year, and the Court’s holding today is a victory on behalf of the American people.  Justice Breyer, writing for the Court, specifically noted that the Court relied on Solicitor General Kagan’s statements in upholding the law.  The Court upheld the statute under the provision of the Constitution that grants Congress the power ‘to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.’ As Justice Breyer wrote, ‘[T]he Necessary and Proper Clause makes clear that the Constitution’s grants of specific federal legislative authority are accompanied by broad power to enact laws that are “convenient, or useful” or “conducive” to the authority’s “beneficial exercise.”’

“Congress passes laws like the Adam Walsh Act every year to protect the American people.  The process to enact this law to protect our children from those who would do them harm was difficult.  I am heartened to see an overwhelming majority of the Supreme Court uphold this important child protection law.”

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