Gundy v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2116 (2019)
Nature of Case: Petitioner was convicted of the federal offense of failing to register as a sex offender after moving from Maryland to New York and not registering as a sex offender pursuant to a predicate sex offense conviction in Maryland. Petitioner’s sex offense conviction predated the passage of the federal Sex Offender and Notification Act, and thus petitioner was a “pre-Act” offender.
SORNA did not itself specify whether it was to apply retroactively to “pre-Act” offenders, and instead left that to the discretion of the Attorney General. Petitioner challenged his conviction on the basis that this violated the principle of non-delegation — that Congress had essentially delegated lawmaking authority to the Executive branch of government. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner’s conviction, and Petitioner sought review from the United States Supreme Court, which was granted.
Holding: United States Supreme Court affirmed Petitioner’s conviction in a plurality opinion. Four justices, writing for the plurality, held that SORNA did not violate principles of non-delegation, as the text and purpose of SORNA provided the Attorney General with sufficient guidance so as to not present unconstitutional delegation problems. Justice Alito concurred in the judgment only. Justice Gorsuch, joined by Thomas and Roberts, dissented. Justice Kavanaugh took no part in the decision.
- United States Supreme Court Opinion | view via Google Scholar
- Case documents, oral argument audio, and coverage available via SCOTUSblog