Is The Supreme Court About To Give Haters Of The ‘Deep State’ What They Want?


June 21, 2019

By Nina Totenberg

Lost in the shuffle Thursday at the Supreme Court — with the major decision released in a separation of church and state case dominating — was another ruling that could, at some point, have wide ramifications for how American government functions.

The court ruled that Congress did not overstep its authority in handing off important power to the attorney general under the federal Sex Offender Registration Act, or SORNA.

The court’s decision came on a 5-3 vote, but only four justices agreed on the reasoning.

There was a landmine in the decision, however. With the fifth vote, Justice Samuel Alito said that if a majority of the court were willing to reexamine its long-held position, he might be willing to do the same.

For now, he was not willing to go that far, but that could change.

At issue in the case is the practice that allows federal agencies to write rules and make decisions about enforcing legislation enacted by Congress. This affects any law Congress passes, from the sex-offender statute in this case to, for example, the Affordable Care Act and on.

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