Lawmakers, teabaggers and patriots here and there continue to pull out copies of the U.S. Constitution from their breast pockets and proudly don flag pins on their lapel. Does anyone actually read the Constitution though? The Constitution is evoked often on the House floor. Was the defunding of ACORN unconstitutional?
Rep. Bobby Scott: “I voted against the motion to recommit because I believe the act as written constituted a bill of attainder, which is expressly prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution which states, “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” The Supreme Court in Cummings v. Missouri (1867) defines a bill of attainder as ‘a legislative act which inflicts punishment without a judicial trial.’ The Court further expounded on the meaning of bills of attainder in U.S. v. Lovett (1946) stating, ‘Legislative acts, no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial, are bills of attainder prohibited by the Constitution.”
“The Defund ACORN Act denies federal funds to any organization currently under federal indictment for certain crimes and any organization that employs a person indicted for these crimes. If this broad language had been the extent of the Act, ACORN could have been denied funds, and the Act would not have been a bill of attainder. However the bill went further by specifically naming ACORN as an organization to be punished under the Act, without any finding of fact. By these standards, I believe the Defund ACORN Act constitutes a bill of attainder, and Congress does not have the constitutional authority to pass such a bill. The Framers of the Constitution agreed that Congress should not have the power to single out any individual or group of individuals and punish them.”
Gerry Connolly managed to disappear for the vote to defund ACORN yesterday — yet he made the votes before and after. Mel Watt and Alcee Hastings voted “present.” Come on guys.