WASHINGTON — The cataclysmic events that led Carol Anne Bond to prison and now to the Supreme Court began with thrilling news: Her best friend was pregnant.
That was followed by devastating news: Bond's husband, Clifford, was the baby's father.
Rage came next.
Carol Bond, a trained microbiologist, set out to poison Myrlinda Haynes over several months with a rare and potentially lethal blend of toxic chemicals. But Haynes, who received only a minor injury, was unable to persuade local law enforcement officials to act on her suspicions. So she called in the feds.
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The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia went after Bond with a "sledgehammer," according to her lawyer, former Bush administration solicitor general Paul Clement: prosecutors sent Bond to prison under the anti-terrorist statutes meant to enforce an international chemical-weapons treaty.
So more is at stake at the Supreme Court than simply a woman scorned and inventive lawyers. Bond says the federal government had no right to indict her, and bases her claim on the 10th Amendment, the tea party favorite that specifies the limits of federal power.
As a result, Bond has drawn support from Phyllis Schlafley's Eagle Forum, the libertarian Cato Institute, gun owners and the attorneys general from six states, who not so coincidentally are among those suing the federal government over President Obama's health care act.
The justices will consider whether an individual has the right to sue on the claim that the federal government has trespassed in areas reserved for the states — a subject of considerable interest to those who want to challenge the actions of Congress.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit said individuals don't have such a right on their own, without the involvement of a state.
Stephen McAllister, a University of Kansas law professor who also serves as the state's solicitor general, was assigned by the justices to defend the appeals court decision.
The justices are scheduled to hear arguments in Bond v. U.S. today.