Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bill of Attainder Revisited.

A long time ago, I wrote a piece on Bills of Attainder. It was 14 pages long.

This time, I'm going to keep it short, sweet, and too the point.

I've learned a lot in the last almost two years.

So here goes...

A Bill of Attainder boils down to one key component.

It is any legislation passed in which the legislators assume your guilt without you having ever gone to trial. They then proscribe your punishment in their law.

For example, some states have DUI Registries. It is assumed (and sometimes backed up with studies) that you (the DUI criminal) will commit your crime again. So, since you are guilty of a future offense of driving under the influence, then you must submit to having your name plastered all across the land.

Or, in Hawaii, if you are merely charged with a crime, their Sheriff's website will put you up on their front page. Doesn't matter if you are found not guilty, they still have you up on the internet as presumed guilty.

The easiest way to argue the "punishment" aspect of Bills of Attainder is to realize that our Rights, inalienable as they are, once removed, constitutes punishment. To take someones God given right, is punishment in and of itself. It doesn't matter if the "law" is Civil in nature, or Criminal in nature. The removal of an enjoyment of rights is a punishment.

The other part of Bills of Attainder that needs to be slightly clarified is the area of "targeted legislation."

It is stated in the US Constitution that we are to have Equal Protection. Any legislation that targets and singles out an individual, or an easily ascertainable group of individuals, and creates a law different for them versus the rest of society, is a Bill of Attainder.

Remember, I am not a lawyer. I am a student of the Constitution. IF you feel that there is action that needs to be taken, please consult a Lawyer for guidance.

1 comment:

Avendora said...

It is also attainder if a right (that is not also enjoyed by everyone else) is given without equality.

Congress can't give one group of individuals rights that aren't enjoyed by everyone.