Court rules on child porn pandering law, “millennium bomber” case and more

In one of four opinions handed down this morning, Supreme Court upheld a statute a federal law criminalizing child-pornography pandering, rejecting the argument that the law is unconstitutionally overbroad on its face.

The opinion in Williams v. U.S., authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, reversed the Eleventh Circuit and held that that the law does not run afoul of the Constitution because it does not criminalize a substantial amount of protected expressive activity, and because offers to engage in illegal transactions are categorically excluded from First Amendment protection.

In U.S. v. Rodriquez, the Court held that a defendant’s gun possession sentence can be boosted under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act where he had previously been given a high sentence for a drug offense under a state sentence-boosting recidivism statute.

In U.S. v. Ressam – the “millennium bomber” case that Attorney General Michael Mukasey himself tackled during oral arguments – the Court ruled in Mukasey’s favor, holding that a defendant may be convicted for carrying an explosive during commission of a felony even where the felony is unrelated to the explosive.

And finally in Dept. of Revenue of Kentucky v. Davis, the Court held that a state law that taxes interest income from bonds issued by other state and local governments while exempting interest income from in-state bonds does not violate the Commerce Clause.

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