Hamilton Township New Jersey, as expected, voted Tuesday to ban all registered sex offenders from living within a half-mile of schools, parks and other places where children congregate. Hamilton Township, you may remember, was the home town of Megan Kanka, the namesake of sex offender notification laws across the country.
While I understand the rationale for imposing this law, if challenged, it will never pass Constitutional muster. Under the Constitution's Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, a state actor cannot deprive a whole class of people of the right to live somewhere.
Chief Justice Fuller, in dictum, once said, "Undoubtedly the right of locomotion, the right to remove from one place to another according to inclination, is an attribute of personal liberty, and the right, ordinarily, of free transit from or through the territory of any State is a right secured by the Fourteenth Amendment and by other provisions of the Constitution." Williams v. Fears, 179 U.S. 270, 274 (1900).
My prediction is that this statute will be kicked before even reaching the Third Circuit.