Saturday, December 12, 2009

ACORN's De-Funding, Court Rules Unconstitutional. Democrats Kohl and Feingold Joined Republican Mob.

ACORN won again! Congressional funding is back, and the right wing is hopping mad that their interpretation of the constitution didn't hold up in court again, leaving the homegrown militant terrorist group ACORN in business to help the poor and register voters. Here's the scoop:

Glenn Greenwald:
In September, I examined Supreme Court precedent -- principally the 1946 case of U.S. v. Lovett -- that left little doubt that the Congressional war on ACORN violated the Constitutional ban on "bills of attainder." Yesterday, in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Federal District Judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York found Congress' de-funding of ACORN unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement.

Rejecting the DOJ's claim that Congress had merely exercised its funding discretion rather than "punished" ACORN, the court wrote: "Wholly apart from the vociferous comments by various members of Congress as to ACORN's criminality and fraud . . . no reasonable observer could suppose that such severe action would have been taken in the absence of a conclusion that misconduct occurred." The court pointed to numerous statements made by Senators, including the bill's primary sponsor (Sen. Johanns), in which they anointed themselves judge and jury to declare ACORN guilty of crimes with which they had not even been charged, let alone convicted. Relying on Lovett -- which held unconstitutional a Congressional act banning specified individuals from government employment based on the unadjudicated finding that they had "subversive beliefs" and "subversive associations" -- Judge Gershon explained that under clear Supreme Court law: "the discretionary nature of government funding does not foreclose a finding that Congress has impermissibly singled out plaintiffs for punishment."

The fact that groups far more powerful than ACORN have actually been found guilty of serious wrongdoing yet have never been de-funded by Congress -- particularly defense contractors -- illustrates that danger.

The reasons the Founders barred such bills of attainder: During the reign of abusive Kings, it was a favorite instrument for enabling unpopular parties to be convicted, punished and deprived without benefit of a trial. Under the Constitution, parties aren't supposed to be found guilty of wrongdoing as a result of a Fox-News-led witch hunt joined by cowardly members of Congress.

As the cowards in Congress rushed without a trial to unconstitutionally punish ACORN on a very bipartisan basis, Judge Gershon was able to ignore the lynch mob and dispassionately apply well-settled legal principles to safeguard core liberties.
For the right wingnut fringe to complain the Democrats somehow got what they wanted, ACORN's refunding, I'd like to point out that Wisconsin's own defenders of the constitution in the Senate voted to subvert the constitution, joining their rabid Republican colleagues. U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes on S.Amdt. 2355 to H.R. 3288 Question: On the Johanns Amendment Number 2355 Prohibiting use of funds to fund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Yea, Feingold (D-WI), Yea. Even Al Franken (D-MN) voted Yea for de-funding. Oops!

But according to digbysblog/Hullabaloo:
And I guess the press is just determined to ignore this finding from the former Massachusetts Attorney General who conducted a recent investigation into the scandal:

The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O'Keefe's and Ms. Giles's comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.

The congress and the press went nuclear based on these tapes and it turns out they were doctored. Shouldn't that count for something?

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