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Republican ACORN Amendment is Flatly Unconstitutional & Threatens any Org. Disliked by Congress
PR from Nadler ^ | 9/17/2009 | Rep. Nadler

Posted on 09/18/2009 3:19:16 PM PDT by Uncledave

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, denounced a Republican Amendment adopted by the House of Representatives to deny all federal funds to ACORN as blatantly unconstitutional and a threat to unpopular organizations everywhere. The Republican initiative, entitled the Defund ACORN Act, singles out a specific organization by name for exclusion from participating in any federal program, in direct violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against Bills of Attainder.

“Today’s Republican Amendment is in blatant violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against Bills of Attainder,” said Nadler. “Congress must not be in the business of punishing individual organizations or people without trial, and that’s what this Amendment does. Whatever one may think of an organization, the Constitution’s clear ban on Bills of Attainder is there for the protection of all of our liberties.”

The Supreme Court, in decisions dating back to the Civil War era, has held that the Constitution prohibits all 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….” During the McCarthy era, for example, Congress enacted legislation prohibiting the use of funds to pay the salaries of three federal employees who Congress deemed subversive. The Supreme Court ruled this legislation unconstitutional as a Bill of Attainder.

This Amendment, in addition to being clearly unconstitutional, sets a dangerous precedent of Congress punishing politically disfavored groups without any due process.

As Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee charged with defending the Constitution, Nadler spoke out on the House floor against the Republican Amendment, delivering the following statement:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A little while ago, the House passed an amendment to the bill that we were considering that says no contract or federal funds may ever go to ACORN, a named organization, or to any individual or organization affiliated with ACORN. Unfortunately, this was done in the spirit of the moment and nobody had the opportunity to point out that this is a flat violation of the Constitution, constituting a Bill of Attainder. The Constitution says that Congress shall never pass a Bill of Attainder. Bills of Attainder, no matter what their form, apply either to a named individual or to easily ascertainable members of a group, to inflict punishment. That’s exactly what this amendment does.

“It may be that ACORN is guilty of various infractions, and, if so, it ought to be vetted, or maybe sanctioned, by the appropriate administrative agency or by the judiciary. Congress must not be in the business of punishing individual organizations or people without trial.

“That’s what this Amendment did. It is flatly prohibited by the Constitution, and once we ignore the Constitution we ignore constitutional principles. Whatever one may think of the subject matter or the organization, the Constitution and the ban on Bills of Attainder are there for the protection of all of our liberties. It is unfortunate that we passed this, and I hope it is removed in the conference committee.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 111th; acorn; nadler
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As reprehensible as acorn is and I want to see all the guilty people strung up by the short hairs, and I've got to believe this congressman is moonbat, I do wonder if he's got a point.

Is such a bill specifically targeting one organization indeed a Bill of Attainder? Are we setting up a situation where a judge could, perhaps rightfully, throw this out? If not, could this establish precedent to be used against us at some point? I could easily envision a scenario where a liberal activist catches some purported screw-up in a sting on a conservative organization and a dem congress uses the acorn precedent to defund them - or worse.

Just want to make sure our side acts smart with this and extracts maximum political damage, yet minimizes any blowback. Right now the dems are running scared from acorn and the word is getting out.

I do recall how after Obama was elected many people around here who strongly supported the Patriot Act under Bush later regretted it when the power was in different hands.

Perhaps this battle shouldn't be fought legislatively but through PR, law enforcement, continued investigations, even RICO, etc.?

If ACORN is defunded legislatively then a corrupt liberal congress can still send the money to any other number of rotten liberal organizations, some of whom would surely be new offshoots of acorn.

1 posted on 09/18/2009 3:19:16 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

Nadler is a Communist agent.


2 posted on 09/18/2009 3:20:04 PM PDT by screaminsunshine (!!)
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To: Uncledave
"Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, denounced a Republican Amendment adopted by the House of Representatives to deny all federal funds to ACORN as blatantly unconstitutional and a threat to unpopular organizations everywhere." Yeah, sort've like what they've been doing all along to the military, hoping to do to the elderly and extremely young. I see his point. It's SO PROGRESSIVE of him.
3 posted on 09/18/2009 3:22:30 PM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: Uncledave

No it threatens any org blatantly breaking multiple laws.


4 posted on 09/18/2009 3:22:32 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Seniors, the new shovel ready project under socialized medicine.)
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To: Uncledave

Sorry Jerry. America doesn’t have a Constitution anymore. Just ask BO and his buddy, CAss Sunburn.


5 posted on 09/18/2009 3:22:37 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Americans! "Behaving badly" since April 19, 1775!)
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To: screaminsunshine

Jerrold the Hutt is insane. To refer to this criminal enterprise as “unpopular” is loony leftism at it’s finest.


6 posted on 09/18/2009 3:22:38 PM PDT by jessduntno ("Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in it." - Ted Kennedy (D-HELL)
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To: Uncledave
Funding Acorn in the first place may be unconstitutional.
7 posted on 09/18/2009 3:23:37 PM PDT by aught-6 (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.)
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To: jessduntno

Not insane...a Communist.


8 posted on 09/18/2009 3:23:50 PM PDT by screaminsunshine (!!)
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To: Uncledave

Of course, I have to wonder how he voted on taking the bonuses from execs.
If I had to guess the bills of attainder were just dandy then.


9 posted on 09/18/2009 3:24:12 PM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local Communist or Socialist Party Chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing!)
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To: Uncledave

I agree with Nadler, no organization of any sort should be receiving any funding.


10 posted on 09/18/2009 3:24:24 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: jessduntno
We’re on two levels here, folks. One of them is thinking this is all about racism and the rest of us are thinking it’s all about suborning criminal activity. Yeah, that’s right — unpopular — it makes my head hurt. Talk about a 10 lb. weight on the top of one’s head. NANCY! It’s starting to feel like 50!!!!
11 posted on 09/18/2009 3:25:16 PM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: Uncledave

It seems like it’s a pretty broad interpretation of “Bills of Attainder”. Cutting off funding to ACORN is different that convicting them and confiscating property without trial.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_attainder

A bill of attainder (also known as an act or writ of attainder) is an act of the legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them without benefit of a trial.

The word “attainder”, meaning “taintedness”, is part of English common law. Under English law, a criminal condemned for a serious crime, whether treason or felony (but not misdemeanor, which referred to less serious crimes), could be declared “attainted”, meaning that his civil rights were nullified: he could no longer own property or pass property to his family by will or testament. His property could consequently revert to the Crown or to the mesne lord. Any peerage titles would also revert to the Crown. The convicted person would normally be punished by judicial execution as well - when a person committed a capital crime and was put to death for it, the property left behind escheated to the Crown or lord rather than being inherited by family. Attainder functioned more or less as the revocation of the feudal chain of privilege and all rights and properties thus granted.

[snip]

Bills of attainder were sometimes criticized as a convenient way for the King to convict subjects of crimes and confiscate their property without the bother of a trial—and without the need for a conviction or indeed any evidence at all.


12 posted on 09/18/2009 3:25:16 PM PDT by dajeeps
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To: Uncledave

We shouldn’t be sending taxpayer money to all of these various organizations to begin with imho. Most of them are democrat slush funds used to promote their marxist agendas, elect/re-elect their marxist footsoldiers in government, and to line their own pockets and those that are political allies.


13 posted on 09/18/2009 3:25:16 PM PDT by penelopesire ("The only CHANGE you will get with the Democrats is the CHANGE left in your pocket")
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To: Uncledave

It’s not a bill of attainder.

Cutting off government funding is not a punishment because no one has a right to government funds.

ACORN is still free to get funding from alternative sources and the government is not prohibiting them from doing so.


14 posted on 09/18/2009 3:25:21 PM PDT by Truthsearcher
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To: Uncledave

I do wonder if he’s got a point.

No he doesn’t. The Mafia was not unpopular, they were also a criminal enterprise. When you have an organization being investigated in 16 states and caught on tape aiding child prostitution, it’s time to stop talking about them as if they were politaical. They are criminals. prosecution time.


15 posted on 09/18/2009 3:25:24 PM PDT by jessduntno ("Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in it." - Ted Kennedy (D-HELL)
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To: screaminsunshine

So it’s ok to single out CEOs based on their income and limit their paychecks but it’s not ok to defund an organization that has how many criminal investigations against it? Not too mention that you have multiple offices where the employees are openly advocating Government fraud and under age prostitution??

Rrrrrright, there was a time where people in elected office were run out of town for a lot less. JFC, what is going on with these politicians...


16 posted on 09/18/2009 3:25:27 PM PDT by cups
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To: screaminsunshine

I say we pass a bill that will defund any agency that is receiving federal money that is caught trying to defraud the tax code.


17 posted on 09/18/2009 3:26:19 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: Uncledave
America has the West Side of Manhattan to thank for this Maoist filthbag.
18 posted on 09/18/2009 3:26:42 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Christian+Veteran=Terrorist)
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To: Uncledave

““Today’s Republican Amendment is in blatant violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against Bills of Attainder,” said Nadler.”

Go Jerry Go! You and Your side’s love affair with Judicial Activism has made America a Nightmare.

Take it to Court under a Bill Of Attainder protest. PLEASE.

Your Useless Legislating from the Bench Activists have staunchly Refused to pay Any attention to Bill of Attainder violations since I can’t remember when.

Hoist with your Own Petard, NADS!


19 posted on 09/18/2009 3:26:49 PM PDT by To-Whose-Benefit? (It is Error alone which needs the support of Government. The Truth can stand by itself.)
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To: aught-6
Funding Acorn in the first place may be unconstitutional.

That's what I was thinking.

20 posted on 09/18/2009 3:27:43 PM PDT by DejaJude
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To: Constitutions Grandchild

Exactly. Criminals. Period. Let’s PLEASE not get pulled into liberal never-Never land.


21 posted on 09/18/2009 3:27:43 PM PDT by jessduntno ("Integrity is the lifeblood of democracy. Deceit is a poison in it." - Ted Kennedy (D-HELL)
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To: pnh102
I agree with Nadler, no organization of any sort should be receiving any funding.

Now that's an interesting angle to pursue.

I don't doubt that Nadler's a commie like many here are saying. Nevertheless we gotta play this smart. I don't know if the proposed GOP anti-ACORN bill is a Bill of Attainder or not, but we need to follow the Constitution first and foremost. And we need a way to prevent organizations like this from getting federal money. I think the avenue is aggressive investigations from state attny generals (since Holder won't due squat).

22 posted on 09/18/2009 3:28:16 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

Nadler is still nutty as a moonbat. A bill of attainder involves punishment. The Supreme Court has said repeatedly that the Constitution clearly provides that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law;” and NO ONE has a right to a government grant ~ that is, it isn’t a punishment to be denied an expenditure ~ PLUS, they, the Supreme Court cannot draw money from the Treasury ~ etc.


23 posted on 09/18/2009 3:28:19 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Uncledave

ACORN has violated federal law in several areas, specifically by requiring membership dues and political actioneering while maintaining a non-profit status and receiving federal funds. These are the areas we should be pursuing them on, as the law is fairly cut-and-dried and the violations are clear and widespread.

The bill to defund them should not only be pursued, it should be passed. Let them fight it in court after being defunded... just as any liberal political organization would let conservatives twist after passing something unconstitutional. Where was Fatler on the banking takeover, socializing healthcare, campaign finance and caps on salaries in the banking industry? (crickets)


24 posted on 09/18/2009 3:29:24 PM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? YOU ARE A SOCIALIST WITH NO RATIONAL ARGUMENT.)
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To: Uncledave

“Is such a bill specifically targeting one organization indeed a Bill of Attainder? Are we setting up a situation where a judge could, perhaps rightfully, throw this out? If not, could this establish precedent to be used against us at some point? I could easily envision a scenario where a liberal activist catches some purported screw-up in a sting on a conservative organization and a dem congress uses the acorn precedent to defund them - or worse.”

I have similar concerns: not just the “sauce for the goose” argument, but the more general issue of giving congress this kind of power over a private organization. But I’m no lawyer. To any who are, a couple questions: Are there any laws on the books authorizing government cooperation with a specific private entity? I’m thinking here of no-bid contracts and such. Also, is there any way to craft a law that avoids this problem, but still denies funds to ACORN?


25 posted on 09/18/2009 3:29:31 PM PDT by xlib
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To: cripplecreek

The government shouldn’t be financing any organization...including PBS.


26 posted on 09/18/2009 3:29:50 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: GraceG
I say we pass a bill that will defund any agency that is receiving federal money that is caught trying to defraud the tax code.

This just means you can't do business with a organization convicted of a crime. Surely that's already in the funding fine print somewhere?

27 posted on 09/18/2009 3:30:59 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

If he is correct - and he may very well be on the LETTER of the law - then it is obvious that the reverse is also true. If Congress has voted to fund an organization by name, then that is also a Bill of Attainder. Then in that instance, undoing a wrong is NOT a crime.

Turnabout is indeed fair play.


28 posted on 09/18/2009 3:31:56 PM PDT by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: GraceG
I say we pass a bill that will defund anyevery agency that is receiving federal money that is caught trying to defraud the tax code.

There; fixed it. The government has no business funding ANY non-government group or individual.

29 posted on 09/18/2009 3:32:25 PM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: Uncledave

No entity is entitled to taxpayer dollars. Deciding not to provide public funding is constitutional unless done for a reason independently barred by another provision, e.g., “no blacks get money.”


30 posted on 09/18/2009 3:33:30 PM PDT by pogo101
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To: Uncledave
Bullsite. Denying a privilege is not necessarily punishment. If a person fails to meet the requirements of granted privilege, they many be denied it. Federal funding is not a right but a privilege with requirements attached.
31 posted on 09/18/2009 3:33:57 PM PDT by delacoert (Good health to your belly button.)
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To: Uncledave; FlingWingFlyer; altair; stephenjohnbanker; youturn; little jeremiah; ~Kim4VRWC's~; ...
ACORN Ping!

FReep mail me if you want on/off the list.


32 posted on 09/18/2009 3:34:41 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (A mob of one.)
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To: Uncledave

Also, a Bill of Attainder is a legal action, not an administrative one. Congress passing a bill specifically to fine ACORN or seize their property would be an example of a Bill of Attainder; however, as it is Congress who funds ACORN, they can withdraw funding if they deem it an appropriate action.


33 posted on 09/18/2009 3:35:18 PM PDT by snowrip (Liberal? YOU ARE A SOCIALIST WITH NO RATIONAL ARGUMENT.)
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To: delacoert

OK, that makes sense to me.


34 posted on 09/18/2009 3:35:21 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

Why hasn’t any other Rat come forward with this claim — not even the Witch Pelosi?


35 posted on 09/18/2009 3:38:17 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Love me, love my cat.)
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To: Uncledave

Nadler approves of giving tax-payer dollars to criminal organizations like ACORN. Have just one more wafer-thin mint, Mr. Nadler.


36 posted on 09/18/2009 3:40:09 PM PDT by windsorknot
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To: snowrip

If Bummer signs off on this, it’s probably moot. Bummer would have the authority to hire/fire agencies if the Congress didn’t.


37 posted on 09/18/2009 3:40:21 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Love me, love my cat.)
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To: Uncledave

Where in the Constitution does it say that you can use public money for political purposes?


38 posted on 09/18/2009 3:40:33 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Truthsearcher
"The precedent that best reflects most of the original intention of the mandates is from Cummings v. Missouri.[9] It states:

A bill of attainder, is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial trial and includes any legislative act which takes away the life, liberty or property of a particular named or easily ascertainable person or group of persons because the legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment."

They are not being deprived of anything but taxpyer money which they have not entitlyemnt to receive, except by the largesse of the government.

39 posted on 09/18/2009 3:41:08 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: Uncledave
It is flatly prohibited by the Constitution, and once we ignore the Constitution we ignore constitutional principles.

Old Jerry is getting all "constitutional" on us.....next thing ya know he'll even start dieting and stop eating small children with those fries....

40 posted on 09/18/2009 3:41:51 PM PDT by cbkaty (I may not always post...but I am always here......)
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To: Uncledave

Maybe Congress shouldn’t be giving money to ANY organization (at least non-business ones).


41 posted on 09/18/2009 3:41:59 PM PDT by ctdonath2 (Joe Wilson was right.)
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To: Uncledave
Congress must not be in the business of punishing individual organizations or people without trial.

...and without ACORN how in hell are we ever going to win a close election again???

42 posted on 09/18/2009 3:43:00 PM PDT by TruthWillWin (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money.)
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To: pogo101

That is a Due Process Clause violation, and not a Bill of Attainder violation.


43 posted on 09/18/2009 3:43:16 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: CaptRon

Very informative - thanks.


44 posted on 09/18/2009 3:45:11 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: CaptRon

The brouhaha over the would be targets of the McCarthy Congress apparently had the court deciding they were deprived of the right to be employed by the State Department. The right to get a grant would be more nebulous.


45 posted on 09/18/2009 3:46:02 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Love me, love my cat.)
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To: Uncledave

He has no point. This is not a bill of attainder. While I am not sure Congress really has the constitutional authority to fund groups like ACORN, we clearly operate on the assumption that it does.

That being the case, Congress has the authority to fund or defund organizations as it sees fit.

If a defense contractor is caught on tape making bribes or offering to sell secrets to foreign powers would a trial be needed before that company could be cut off?

If Congress simply decides to end a particular social program or change the means of operating it, would the organizations losing funding have the right to a trial first? Of course not.

Nadler is a defender of those who would facilitate sex slavery , involving children, not a defender of the Constitution!


46 posted on 09/18/2009 3:47:13 PM PDT by Above My Pay Grade
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To: Truthsearcher

It’s not a bill of attainder.

Cutting off government funding is not a punishment because no one has a right to government funds.

ACORN is still free to get funding from alternative sources and the government is not prohibiting them from doing so.

***

Exactly - Nadler is a Nad ...

Under his reasoning - once the government funds something, they cannot pull it back.

Bull Hockey !!!

Otherwise, Obama couldn’t yank the rug out from under the F-22 and the missles in Poland and the Czech Republic ...


47 posted on 09/18/2009 3:48:49 PM PDT by Lmo56
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To: Above My Pay Grade

It would take Nadler to be brass faced about this. Is there anyone more sexually evil in the Congress?


48 posted on 09/18/2009 3:49:40 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Love me, love my cat.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Billybob? Does Nadler have a nad to stand on?


49 posted on 09/18/2009 3:50:34 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Love me, love my cat.)
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To: Uncledave

Nadler isn’t a moonbat he’s 100% commie. How can it be Constitutional for the government to fund with the people’s money a partisan political organization? Now demonstrably criminal in its conduct around the country.


50 posted on 09/18/2009 3:57:40 PM PDT by TigersEye (0bama: "I can see Mecca from the WH portico." --- Google - Cloward-Piven Strategy)
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