Gundy v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: June 20, 2019
  • Case #: 17-6086
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: KAGAN, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. GORSUCH, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, J., joined. KAVANAUGH, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
  • Full Text Opinion

Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) provision 34 U. S. C. §§20913(d), does not violate the nondelegation doctrine by allowing the Attorney General to enforce and apply the Act registration requirements to pre-Act offenders.

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 34 U.S.C. §20913, mandates that sex offenders register before completion of their prison sentences. Petitioner, a pre-Act offender released from prison post-Act, was convicted of failing to register. Petitioner argued that Congress’ delegation of legislative authority to the Attorney General regarding the applicability of SORNA to pre-Act offenders was unconstitutional. The district court and the Second Circuit rejected Petitioner’s claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, reasoning that the nondelegation doctrine prohibits the transfer of legislative power by Congress to another branch of government; however, this Court held in Reynolds v. United States,that the limited authority given to the Attorney General to apply SORNA to pre-Act offenders is constitutional. 565 U.S. 432 (2012). The Reynolds Court found that Congress intended the “basic statutory purpose” and “sex offender definition” of SORNA to include pre-Act offenders and understood that registering offenders who were never previously required to register, were missing, or dead, were legal complications. These complications allowed delegation to the Attorney General of the executive branch and required enforcement and application of the Act to pre-Act offenders “as soon as feasible.”  This limited delegation of authority does not violate the nondelegation doctrine. AFFIRMED.    

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