DOJ asks Fourth Circuit to rehear civil commitment case en banc

[JURIST] US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers on Monday asked the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit [official websites] to revisit a January decision in which a three-judge panel ruled [JURIST report] that indefinite civil commitment of "sexually dangerous" offenders was unconstitutional. The DOJ now seeks an en banc ruling [AP report] on the case, and is disputing the panel's holding [opinion, PDF] that civil commitment powers belong to the states. The government had unsuccessfully argued that federal power of civil commitment came from the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause [texts].

January's ruling invalidated part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act [text], which also established a national sex offender registry [JURIST report]. This month, a federal district court ruled the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 (SORNA) [DOJ backgrounder], which imposes penalties for failing to register, was also unconstitutional [JURIST report] under the Commerce Clause.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.