What does a bizarre suburban love triangle have to do with Syria? That's what the US Supreme Court was trying to figure out today, as it heard arguments in Bond v. US. The case began in 2005, when Carol Anne Bond, 34, learned that her husband had impregnated her best friend, NPR explains. Bond stole toxic chemicals from her work, combined them into a lethal compound, and spread them around the other woman's home—but the chemical was bright orange, so her ex-friend easily avoided it. How did this become a constitutional issue? Well, federal prosecutors decided to charge Bond with violating a chemical weapons treaty.
Now the court is considering whether that's OK, testing the limits of the government's treaty powers. Sonia Sotomayor warned that "it would be deeply ironic" if the court undermined the Chemical Weapons Convention even as the Assad regime signed on. But many justices bristled at such objections, and seemed skeptical of the government's arguments. Stephen Breyer speculated that the treaty was so broad that it could be used against the likes of Lance Armstrong. "The government might just have to hope that it loses the case on narrow grounds," assesses Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog, "because it might lose it in a sweeping way."