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December 11, 2009. New York, NY - Today, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon granted a preliminary injunction against the United States for unconstitutionally withholding funds from ACORN. In its decision, the court found that there is a likelihood the plaintiffs will be able to show that Congress’ targeted defunding of ACORN violates the Constitution’s prohibition against Bills of Attainder, legislative acts which single out a specific person or group for punishment.
The Court’s ruling stated, “The plaintiffs have raised a fundamental issue of separation of powers. They 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 administrative, process adjudicating guilt... The public will not suffer harm by allowing the plaintiffs to continue work on contracts duly awarded by federal agencies...”
After the preliminary injunction was granted, Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s Executive Director, said, “The court's decision is a victory not only for the many dedicated citizens who work with ACORN to improve their communities and promote responsible lending and homeownership, but for the Constitution and the rights of all Americans.”
According to Jules Lobel, CCR Vice-President and Cooperating Attorney: “This historic decision by the Court affirms the fundamental constitutional principle that the Congress cannot be judge, jury, and executioner.”
CCR Legal Director Bill Quigley added, “This ruling protects not only ACORN but all other organizations or individuals that Congress unfairly targets. The clearly partisan push by the far right to punish those it politically disagrees with has ended here.”
See CCR's ACORN v. U.S.A. webpage for more information on this case.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.