During oral arguments Wednesday in a case considering whether Congress has the power to apply federal sex offender registry requirements retroactively, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. questioned whether the source of Congress’ power matters.
“I don’t see how it makes a difference which enumerated power you’re talking about,” Roberts said.
“I think it does turn on the nature of the power,” said attorney M. Carolyn Fuentes. “I mean, could you use the military power to say you, Mr. Bank Fraud Client, cannot contract with the Government any more? No.”
“I get to ask the questions; you don’t,” Roberts deadpanned, to laughter from the audience.
The chief justice was the top chuckle earner this week with four laugh. And surprisingly, the usually funny Scalia failed to earn a single laugh this week, according to the Supreme Court’s transcripts. But his big lead remains intact.
Here are the standings after 13 weeks:
Justice Antonin G. Scalia: 48
Justice Stephen G. Breyer: 39
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: 15
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: 9
Justice Elena Kagan: 8
Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor: 7
Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: 4
Justice Clarence Thomas: 1
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1