The Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, ruled that the federal government does have the authority to hold federal inmates determined to be “sexually dangerous” beyond their prison terms. The ruling gives the federal government the power to keep sexual predators in jail longer than their sentence, or indefinitely, if there sufficient reason to suspect that they pose a threat to children. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his dissenting opinion that nothing in the Constitution gives the federal government the power to enact such a law. Does this case pit one of our basic fundamental rights afforded by the Constitution against the right to keep our public safe from sexual predators?
Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow for legal studies at the Cato Institute