Another Opinion: US v. Comstock
The Supreme Court has held that Congress can empower district courts to order the civil commitment of mentally ill, sexually dangerous offenders beyond their criminal sentences. The Court held that the Necessary and Proper Clause validates the statutory provision, which the Court links to various federal regulatory interests, including the mental health of inmates and the safety of communities where inmates are released. The ruling does not consider claims that the law could violate the Due Process Clause.
Predictably, the liberal justices joined Breyer’s majority opinion, but Chief Justice Roberts did also. Justice Alito joined Kennedy’s concurrence. Only Scalia and Thomas dissented; the dissent offers quite a narrow vision of federal power (one that even Alito and Roberts could not accept).