United States v. Kebodeaux,
570 U.S. ___ (2013)

Annotate this Case



No. 12–418



on writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit

[June 24, 2013]

     Justice Scalia, dissenting.

     I join Parts I, II, and III–B of Justice Thomas’s dissent. I do not join Part III–A because I do not agree that what is necessary and proper to enforce a statute validly enacted pur- suant to an enumerated power is not itself necessary and proper to the execution of an enumerated power. It is my view that if “Congress has the authority” to act, then it also “ ‘possesses every power needed’ ” to make that action “ ‘effective.’ ” Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U. S. 1, 36 (2005) (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment) (quoting United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co., 315 U. S. 110 –119 (1942)). If I thought that SORNA’s registration requirement were “ ‘rea- sonably adapted,’ ” Raich, supra, at 37, to carrying into execution some other, valid enactment, I would sustain it.

     But it is not. The lynchpin of the Court’s reasoning is that Kebodeaux was “subject to a federal registration requirement”—the Wetterling Act—at the time of his offense, and so the Necessary and Proper Clause “authorized Congress to modify the requirement as in SORNA and to apply the modified requirement to Kebodeaux.” Ante, at 6. That does not establish, however, that the Wetterling Act’s registration requirement was itself a valid exercise of any federal power, or that SORNA is designed to carry the Wetterling Act into execution. The former proposition is dubious, the latter obviously untrue.

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