U.S. Supreme Court
Constitutional Law – SORNA — federal jurisdiction — necessary and proper clause
SORNA’s registration requirements can be applied to persons who have already been released from custody and supervision prior to its enactment.
Congress promulgated the Wetterling Act under authority granted by the Military Regulation Clause, Art. I, §8, cl. 14, and the Necessary and Proper Clause. The same power that authorized Congress to promulgate the Uniform Code of Military Justice and punish Kebodeaux’s crime also authorized Congress to make the civil registration requirement at issue here a consequence of his conviction. And its decision to impose a civil registration requirement that would apply upon the release of an offender like Kebodeaux is eminently reasonable. See Smith v. Doe, 538 U. S. 84, 102–103. It was also entirely reasonable for Congress to have assigned a special role to the Federal Government in ensuring compliance with federal sex offender registration requirements. See Carr v. United States, 560 U. S. 438, ___. Thus, Congress did not apply SORNA to an individual who had, prior to its enactment, been “unconditionally released,” but rather to an individual already subject to federal registration requirements enacted pursuant to the Military Regulation and Necessary and Proper Clauses. SORNA somewhat modified the applicable registration requirements to which Kebodeaux was already subject, in order to make more uniform what had remained “a patchwork of federal and 50 individual state registration requirements,” Reynolds v. United States, 565 U. S. ___, ___. No one here claims that these changes are unreasonable or that Congress could not reasonably have found them “necessary and proper” means for furthering its preexisting registration ends.
687 F. 3d 232, reversed and remanded.
Breyer, J.; Roberts, C.J., concurring; Alito, J., concurring; Scalia, J., dissenting; Thomas, J., dissenting.