WASHINGTON (CN) — In an opinion that aligns Justice Neil Gorsuch with his liberal colleagues, the Supreme Court overturned a law that imposes heightened punishments on sex offenders who are caught with child pornography.
“Only a jury, acting on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, may take a person’s liberty. That promise stands as one of the Constitution’s most vital protections against arbitrary government,” Gorsuch wrote for the plurality Wednesday. “Yet in this case a congressional statute compelled a federal judge to send a man to prison for a minimum of five years without empaneling a jury of his peers or requiring the government to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As applied here, we do not hesitate to hold that the statute violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.”