0

In United States v. Bowman (1922), the Supreme Court ruled that the presumption against the extraterritorial application of a statute does not apply to statutes that are "not logically dependent on their locality for the government's jurisdiction, but are enacted because of the right of the government to defend itself against obstruction, or fraud wherever perpetrated, especially if committed by its own citizens, officers, or agents." (I call this the Bowman quote)

The Seventh Circuit later wrote in United States v. Leija-Sanchez (2010) that: "what Bowman had said is that the same rule of interpretation (for whether a statue applies extraterritorially) should not be applied to criminal statutes which are, as a class, 'not logically dependent on their locality for the Government's jurisdiction'".

This wording by the Seventh Circuit misconstrues what the Supreme Court had said. The Supreme Court essentially said that the presumption against extraterritoriality doesn't apply when the government exercises its right to self-protection, but the Seventh Circuit's partial quote of the Bowman decision says that the presumption against extraterritoriality doesn't apply when the crime isn't logically dependent on its location.

Would a district judge within the Seventh Circuit be allowed to consider the full Bowman quote, or is it restricted to the Seventh Circuit's interpretation of the Bowman quote?

7
  • You do know that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the 2010 case in 2016? – Dale M Dec 6 '20 at 20:15
  • Misquoting is very different from misinterpreting. – user6726 Dec 6 '20 at 20:35
  • @DaleM It did not. – Dion Dec 6 '20 at 20:52
  • @Dion it did - caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1734537.html – Dale M Dec 7 '20 at 0:00
  • @DaleM where does the 2016 decision overturn the 2010 decision? I don't see it. – phoog Dec 7 '20 at 0:07
3

Would a district judge within the Seventh Circuit be allowed to consider the full Bowman quote, or is it restricted to the Seventh Circuit's interpretation of the Bowman quote?

"Bowman quote" aside, in case of conflict between SCOTUS and appellate precedents, a district judge ought to follow SCOTUS precedent to the extent that it directly controls the matter at issue. Otherwise, the district judge would propagate the appellate contravention of the principle formulated in Rodriguez de Quijas v. Shearson/American Express, Inc., 490 U.S. 477, 484 (1989):

If a precedent of this Court has direct application in a case, yet appears to rest on reasons rejected in some other line of decisions, the Court of Appeals should follow the case which directly controls, leaving to this Court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.

Bowman states that the legislative intent of extra-territorial operativeness is obvious for some types of crimes. In other words, that the legislator does not need to expressly indicate extra-territoriality for certain classes of crimes.

Leija-Sanchez 602 F.3d 797 (2010) does not misconstrue Bowman. Instead, it truncated a statement therefrom. A truncated citation does not create precedent. Furthermore, that truncation is inconsequential because "indeed, all of the conduct ascribed to Leija-Sanchez took place here", Leija-Sanchez at 801 (emphasis in original). That defeats defendant's argument regarding extra-territoriality.

Even if a party attempted to take advantage of the truncation in Leija-Sanchez, the adversary would defeat that attempt by pointing out the material portion being omitted.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.