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ACORN Suing Federal Government Over Vote in House

November 12, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

In September, the House of Representatives voted to ban funding the community organization Acorn. At the time questions arose as to whether the language stripping Acorn of funds was unconstitutional. The Constitution forbids bills of attainder, legislation targeting one specific individual or organization. Now, Acorn is suing the federal government over the House vote that attached the language to a student loan bill stating that the language amounts to a bill of attainder:

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Brooklyn, says that congressional resolution constitutes a “bill of attainder,” or a legislative determination of guilt without a trial. In the suit, Acorn, which came under fire especially from conservative critics after a series of embarrassing scandals, said it was penalized by Congress “without an investigation” and has been forced to slash programs that counsel struggling homeowners, and lay off workers.

“It’s a classic trial by the legislature,” said Jules Lobel, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the suit. “They have essentially determined the guilt of the organization and any organization affiliated or allied with it.”

The language that is in question here can be found in this bill (H.R. 3571). This language was attached to H.R. 3221 in a motion to recommit vote.

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Comments

justamick 11/13/2009 2:45am

Yeah… um… why cant things be done right in Congress? Right in the bill language… Maybe there should have been a more broad description of organizations covered under this legislation rather than naming ACORN out right.

justamick 11/13/2009 2:46am

ACORN Needs to be defunded, but Congress needs to learn to do it right.

iliveinct 11/15/2009 2:33pm

ACORN is not perfect but its a great organization that registers poor people to vote. I still like ACORN quite a bit!!

spender 11/13/2009 5:23am

I’m curious as to why ACORN needs to be defunded. While they have been accused of wrongdoing, and there is video evidence of wrongdoing—or at least of total incompetence—by some of the staff, as far as I know there have been no determinations of guilt by any of the investigations launched. Nor have they been found guilty in court of violating any laws.

justamick, you said that Congress needed to defund ACORN properly. The proper way to do it is to follow the laws, wait for determinations of wrongdoing to come back from the local investigations. Then wait for ACORN to be proven guilty in court. Then defund them for being proven criminals. Until they are proven guilty, they should not lose funding or be otherwise penalized.

That’s the proper way to do this sort of thing. To argue for anything else is to argue against the legal framework that keeps the feds from dragging away everyone who accused Congress of treason in the health care thread. It’s the flip side of the coin.

JimPfi 11/12/2009 10:23am
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Please discontinue funding to this corrupt organization!

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