Dual-Sovereignty Posts

US Supreme Court Upholds Dual-Sovereignty Doctrine

The United States Supreme Court upheld the dual-sovereignty doctrine today in Gamble v. United States, reasoning that the doctrine “is not an exception to the double jeopardy right but follows from the Fifth Amendment’s text. The Double Jeopardy Clause protects individuals from being ‘twice put in jeopardy’ ‘for the same offence.’ As originally understood, an ‘offence’ is defined by a law, and each law is defined by a sovereign. Thus, where there are two sovereigns, there are two laws and two ‘offences.’ Gamble attempts to show from the Clause’s drafting history that Congress must have intended to bar successive prosecutions regardless of the sovereign bringing the charge. But even if conjectures about subjective goals were allowed to inform this Court’s reading of the text, the Government’s contrary arguments on that score would prevail.”