Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
On Nov. 12, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that separate House and Senate Resolutions to bar all funds to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) were unconstitutional Bills of Attainder, which violated ACORN's Fifth Amendment right to due process of law and First Amendment right to freedom of association. (See Rachel Maddow's excellent coverage and explanation of a "Bill of Attainder" here.)
The CCR suit "seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent the government from reallocating funds designated for the organization and its affiliates and a preliminary injunction to stop Congress from singling out a single organization for punishment without proper investigation or due process."
During his Nov. 13 appearance on Democracy Now, CCR Attorney Bill Quigley (video below) warned that if constitutionality of the legislation is not legally challenged, ACORN could be but the first of numerous groups seen as supportive of Democrats whose funding will be challenged, as that rightwing blogs are already looking to target the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as well.
While the suit presents a significant legal challenge, and while there is little doubt that ACORN has been the victim of a GOP witch hunt which, as Brad Friedman and others have reported, included the "phony 'voter fraud' charges" that were at the "heart of the U.S. Attorney purge scandal," the willingness of so many Congressional Democrats to jump at the chance to punish ACORN via this Bill of Attainder may also entail something more subtly insidious...