David Cohen (Drexel) had an interesting op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday arguing that the current legislative efforts (at both the federal and state levels) would, if successful, result in unconstitutional bills of attainder.
From David's piece, which is available here ...
"A bill of attainder is a law that inflicts punishment upon a particular individual without a judicial trial. In other words, a bill of attainder is, as the Supreme Court has termed it, a 'trial by legislature' rather than by court.
"The Constitution prohibits both Congress and state legislatures from enacting bills of attainder for two important reasons that go to the heart of our democracy. One, laws that target individuals threaten civil liberties because legislatures do not afford individuals the protections of a trial. Two, bills of attainder conflict with basic notions of separation of powers. . . .
"Though no one is talking about it, this most recent dust-up over federal funding for Planned Parenthood is very clearly an example of an unconstitutional bill of attainder: Congress is singling out Planned Parenthood and punishing the organization for allegedly improper and illegal actions.
"More specifically, a bill of attainder has to meet three legal requirements: The law has to 'determine guilt and inflict punishment,' it must act 'upon an identifiable individual,' and it must do so 'without provision of the protections of a judicial trial.' All these requirements are met here."
While I am not a Constitutional Law expert, David makes a pretty compelling argument. Thoughts?