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Sex offender civil commitment upheld

WASHINGTON, May 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday federal judges may order a sexually dangerous prisoner held beyond his or her release date.

The ruling supports current federal law, including parts of Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, that allows U.S. judges to order some sexually dangerous, mentally ill prisoners into civil commitment after their sentences are served.

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Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said the law is constitutional under the "necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution, which says Congress has the power to make any law necessary and proper for carrying out the government's powers.

"There are sound reasons for (the law's) enactment," the opinion says. "The federal government, as custodian of its prisoners, has the constitutional power to act in order to protect nearby (and other) communities from the danger such prisoners may pose."

The challenge to the law was brought by a group of civilly committed prisoners.

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