One of the right’s loudest crusades has been its effort to undermine the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). Following the release of a series of videos showing a handful of ACORN employees behaving inappropriately, conservatives in Congress have done everything they can to single out ACORN to be stripped of all federal funding (while hypocritically opposing the defunding of companies that cover-up rape).
Rep. Alan Grayson challenged his conservative colleagues — and even reduced Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) to incoherent defenses — to prove that the ACORN de-funding measures were an unconstitutional “bills of attainder,” given the fact that they were singling out one organization for punishment without trial. Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that Grayson was right and that the ACORN funding ban is unconstitutional:
A federal judge today issued an injunction preventing the implementation of a congressional ban on funding for ACORN. Judge Nina Gershon concluded that the ban amounted to a “bill of attainder” that unfairly singled out ACORN.
“[The plaintiffs] have been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process of adjudicating guilt,” Gershon wrote in her decision.
Gershon said ACORN had demonstrated “irreperable harm” from the ban, while “the potential harm to the government, in granting the injunction, is less.”
The decision noted that the ban had already prevented ACORN from receiving payment from contracts awarded before the ban took effect.
Reflecting on the ruling, Glenn Greenwald writes, “There is an endless list of radical flaws in our political system, including our judicial branch. But in those rare cases when things actually work the way they’re designed to, it’s worth reminding ourselves of why the Constitution is such a vital document and why it’s so crucial that it be adhered to and defended.”