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Defunding ACORN is Unconstitutional!

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posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 09:59 PM
reply to post by finemanm

You are dead-on accurate in your legal assessment.

Rachel Madow plays fast a loose with that one. It's why I mostly roll my eyes at much of what she says.

BUT I give her her broader point. The comparisons are stunning...

Contractor malfeasance is widespread and just largely ignored.

ACORN isn't the exception to the rule, it....*is*.... the rule.

And we clearly, most often, just do nothing.

Maddow would have it that we also do nothing with ACORN.

I disagree.

If we are to reverse course and begin to hold the 'bad eggs' accountable, then *someone* has to go first. Why not ACORN?

But after them, I want to see the other criminals made to pay for their nonsense too.

[edit on 29-9-2009 by loam]

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 10:10 PM
reply to post by skeptic4life

I'm not a "lawyer" in quotes.
I really practice law in New York City. I do mostly criminal defense and a little civil rights litigation.

reply to post by loam

I agree with you, but not her. KBR, Halliburton, Blackwater, etc... are a bunch of crooks, but they are being paid to provide products and services. The real problem is that Bush/Cheney were so corrupt that they made sure their buddies didn't just make money, but that their buddies raped the US tax payer.

That doesn't excuse ACORN, and at least one corrupt organization had its plug pulled.

The problem with Madow and her liberal buddies is that they try to talk down to us and they belittle us. She was taking about a complicated constitutional issue as if she had a clue - which she didn't - and most sheeple will be like "the congress is doing something unconstitutional... duh, where is my doughnut?"

Edit to add: If were are going to be at war with Iraq, Afganistan and soon, Iran, we need companies like Haliburton and Blackwater to provide numerous valuable services; however, may be we need to cut down on the going to war thing or have more efficient and better oversight of these companies. One thing that you know we could count on Bush for was doing everything incompetently.

[edit on 29-9-2009 by finemanm]

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 10:23 PM
Hell, they de-fund us every chance they get.

It should be their duty to disallow our money to that liberal, scum-sucking, special interest crime syndicate.

There's no way our hard earned American tax dollars should have ever gotten in the hands of such a corrupt organization.

Show me the proof of unconstitutionality in de-funding them and I wouldn't even break a sweat in showing you the same in letting it be allowed in the first place.

Gee, I wonder how many of those tax dollars will be going to bail some of them out of jail.

Voter Fraud, Tax Fraud, Conspiracy ...Oh yea.

Census Bureau, B of A, Obama himself..

People are distancing themselves from that group faster than a perfume tester from a skunk with his tail in the air.

Her case hasn't got a chance in hades of getting them OUR money back.

To put it politely...

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 10:27 PM
reply to post by vor78

The conclusion of the executive summary, written by CRS legislative attorney Kenneth R. Thomas [paragraph breaks are added for clarity]:

"While the regulatory purpose of ensuring that federal funds are properly spent is a legitimate one,
it is not clear that imposing a permanent government-wide ban on contracting with or providing grants to ACORN fits that purpose."

"Thus, there may be issues raised by characterizing this legislation as purely regulatory in nature. While the Supreme Court has noted that the courts will generally defer to Congress as to the regulatory purpose of a statute absent clear proof of punitive intent, there appear to be potential issues raised withattempting to find a rational non-punitive regulatory purpose for this legislation."

Thus, it appears that a court may have a sufficient basis to overcome the presumption of constitutionality, and find that it violates the prohibition against bills of attainder."


Congressional Research Service lawyer.

No matter how repulsive an individual or group may be, congress may not pass a bill to punish, which clearly was the intent of the Defund Acorn Act, which is what it was called. I would defend any individual or group from such treatment, as it is unconstitutional. I would expect a congressman to uphold the constitution. Anyone, no matter of what party who voted for this is not upholding the constitution. Period.

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 10:32 PM
You KNow what I am D&&&*%&^% Tired of my hard earned money that I made going to DREGS, Drug addicts, prostitutes, and illegals, Now what to do about the defunct welfare system too, and public housing...Yeah I say throw that s&*(^% all OUT!!!! The overflow can go into SSDI, for those that really can't work because they ARE PHYSICALLY disabled, not MENTALLY disabled, because mentally disabled does not mean you can't push a broom or pick up trash. Except in real severely mentally retarded people, however schizos and ADHD people, take Your MEDS and GO TO WORK!!!!!

posted on Sep, 29 2009 @ 10:33 PM

Originally posted by finemanm

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 legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment. Cummings v. Missouri, U.S.Mo.1866, 71 U.S. 277, 18 L.Ed. 356, 4 Wall. 277. See, also, Bauer v. Acheson, D.C.D.C.1952, 106 F.Supp. 445.

the Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function, or more simply-trial by legislature.

If the bill made it a crime to do business with ACORN, or if it required ACORN to surrender its offices to the federal government, or if it sought to make membership in ACORN illegal, then it would be unconstitutional. However, by merely making this organization ineligible for federal grant money, congress isn’t punishing ACORN because ACORN can keep doing what it does, it will just need to get private donations instead of our tax dollars.

Here, ACORN is not being punished, nor is anything that BELONGS to them being taken away. The Federal government has in essence decided to fire them. There is no constitutional guarantee to employment by the federal government. By MadCow's reasoning, anytime the Congress decided to stop funding a grant or an organization, it would be unconstitutional.

I think ACORN is a horrible organization and agree that this administration would not have been elected without them. I think what they do is criminal and the videos speak for themselves. The fact remains that Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution is not meant in the way you are interpreting it. It was meant to make sure the U.S. government did not fund or defund any specific organization if it supplied any advantage or disadvantage to another competing organization. We can agree that there are other competing organizations that get money from the same sources as ACORN does, and this law provides them a distinct advantage.

In few words, if I run a company like ACORN but I lean right, then I have as much right to government money as they do and if they take ACORN's money then they should take mine as well.

All of the above is true, with the exception of due process of law. Everything I said above is opinion except for Article 1, and that is the problem. ACORN, no matter how guilty they seem, deserves due process just like Charles Manson or any other notorious criminal.

Don't get me wrong, I HATE ACORN, and Dislike the Administration, but I believe we should follow the constitution to the letter. The rest of the law can be moldable and dynamic, but the Constitution should be a Rock.

If we are going to take ACORNS money for fraudulent or criminal practices then we need to consider taking funding from the other groups like Black Water that do the same.

We cannot pick and choose the parts of the Constitution that we want to use or ignore, we must consider it a line in the sand!

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 08:47 AM

Originally posted by memarf1
We cannot pick and choose the parts of the Constitution that we want to use or ignore, we must consider it a line in the sand!

I enjoyed your entire post. Yes, this quote sums it up. Part of the oath Congress must take is this, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States ...".

Perhaps Congress should spend less time listening to/and acting on behalf of corporate lobbyists and re-read the Constitution.

If Congress gets away with this, then those who rejoice at this vote will find themselves so voted on in regards their own interests someday. Those who rejoice in unconstitutionally passing a bill of attainder are just as guilty of ignorance at best or disloyalty at worst as those who voted.

American blood was shed to fight for and uphold this Constitution. God help this nation when elected leaders and citizens cannot live by it.

edit to add The Constitution applies to EVERY CITIZEN.

[edit on 30-9-2009 by desert]

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 09:15 AM
Good grief, if you want to preach the consitution, why don't you choose another cause? Acorn is terrible place to waste an arguement. Look at the much abused commerce clause. There are hundreds of billions of dollars spent on things that the congress has no constitutional power over. Acorn is involved in election fraud and child prostitution. And you want to argue constitutional law for them?

posted on Sep, 30 2009 @ 10:43 AM
reply to post by ErnestT

Thats just it, it isn't about them or anyone else, it is about the Constitution. We must have a standard and stop deciding to pick and choose when we obey or disobey it. The constitution was not meant to be convenient, it was meant to be law. Yes, I'll argue in favor of ACORN in this matter because it is the law. I hate ACORN and what they do and they should be arrested, but we should consider the consequences of not holding everyone to the same standard.

There are many other more useful things to argue for the constitution for, but if we decide to ignore the constitution here then this is the beginning of the downfall of it. What power do we have if we ignore the supreme law of the land? What logic can dictate which amendments or articles we shall follow if we choose when or when not to ignore them?

The U.S. Constitution is a rock, and there is no debate about it. What it says is law and there is absolutely no wiggle room!

posted on Oct, 1 2009 @ 03:20 PM
reply to post by memarf1

I'm sorry but a bill of attainder has nothing to do with funding or de-funding. It forbids the legislative branch of the government to punish a particular group or individual in a manner that must be adjudicated by a Court with the party receiving due process of law.

The determination to give grant money or not to give grant money is not a punishment

Here is the definition of a bill of attainder strait from the US Supreme Court:

In deciding whether a statute inflicts forbidden punishment, we have recognized three necessary inquiries: (1) whether the challenged statute falls within the historical meaning of legislative punishment; (2) whether the statute, “viewed in terms of the type and severity of burdens imposed, reasonably can be said to further nonpunitive legislative purposes”; and (3) whether the legislative record “evinces a congressional intent to punish.”

~~ snip ~~

At common law, bills of attainder often imposed the death penalty; lesser punishments were imposed by bills of pains and penalties. The Constitution proscribes these lesser penalties as well as those imposing death. Historically used in England in times of rebellion or “violent political excitements,” ibid., bills of pains and penalties commonly imposed imprisonment, banishment, and the punitive confiscation of property. In our own country, the list of punishments forbidden by the Bill of Attainder Clause has expanded to include legislative bars to participation by individuals or groups in specific employments or professions.

Source: Selective Service System v. Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, 468 U.S. 841, 852, 104 S.Ct. 3348, 3355 (1984)

As I said before, these bills do not fall into the definition of a Bill of Attainder in my opinion. After reading the actual text of the bill in the House I think it comes very close to a Bill of Attainder; however, it does not call for "imprisonment, banishment, and the punitive confiscation of property."

Edit to add:

The Supreme Court further stated in the above cited case the following in a foot note:

“The fact that harm is inflicted by governmental authority does not make it punishment. Figuratively speaking all discomforting action may be deemed punishment because it deprives of what otherwise would be enjoyed. But there may be reasons other than punitive for such deprivation.”

[edit on 1-10-2009 by finemanm]

posted on Oct, 1 2009 @ 04:18 PM
reply to post by finemanm

I agree with you, I want the government to defund them, and I want them to do it in a way that is constitutional. Simply refuse them money on due grounds and process, but the "Defund Acorn Act" is unconstitutional, it is a bill of attainder. They do not need that, doesn't ACORN have to present proposals for funding anyway? When they present simply say no! Don't make a law about them, that is simply the wrong way to do it, not to mention the implications of such a law!

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