Supreme Court Strikes Down Republican Feel Good Law

In 2005, in response to a guy claiming to have won the Congressional Medal of Honor, who had not – the Rethugs passed a “feel good” law banning all such future false claims. This was a perfect exercise in making a lot of noise for the plastic patriot set, making a law to punish a minuscule population instead of Minorities. Of course – folks who have never read the Constitution don’t know how it works – so as usual, the Retugs overstepped their bounds.

Supreme Court strikes down Stolen Valor Act

The Supreme Court today struck down the Stolen Valor Actthat made it illegal to falsely claim to be the recipient of military honors and decorations, SCOTUSblog.com reports.

The court found that the statute violates the First Amendment.

The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, says the law, as written, “seeks to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain.”

Kennedy writes that permitting the government to decree this kind of speech as a criminal offense “would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable.”

He notes, however, that Congress might be able to rewrite the law “to achieve the government’s objective in less burdensome ways.”

Judge Strikes Down Welfare Drug Testing in Florida

A Florida Republican law requiring all Welfare recipients to pass drug testing has been put on hold by a Federal Court. The law is unconstitutional, due to the fact that it violates personal protections against the government invading a citizen’s privacy without reasonable evidence of wrongdoing. Statistically, Republican legislators in the state are more likely to use drugs than welfare recipients.

So… In view of the legislators ability to royally screw everything up for everyone…

Why don’t they pass a law that all elected officials in the state are regularly tested?

Federal judge temporarily bars Florida’s welfare drug-test law

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a controversial Florida law requiring all welfare applicants to be drug-tested.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven issued a temporary injunction Monday evening against enforcement of the law’s “suspicionless drug testing” of adults seeking federal welfare.

The law went into effect July 1, but a single father and the American Civil Liberties Union contend in a lawsuit that the new law is unconstitutional and violates Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

“Perhaps no greater public interest exists than protecting a citizen’s rights under the Constitution,” the judge wrote, quoting a 1997 Hawaii case.

Under the law, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services requires the drug tests of adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The aid recipients are responsible for the cost of the screening, which they recoup in their assistance if they qualify.

Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children, but they do not receive a refund for cost of the test.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has championed the law, saying it provides “personal accountability.” He added it was “unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction.”

Florida is not the first state to pass such legislation. Michigan passed a similar law that was found to be unconstitutional by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 for violating the Fourth Amendment…

The GOP-controlled legislature passed the bill, and Scott signed it into law in May 2011.

“The governor obviously disagrees with the decision and he will evaluate his options regarding when to appeal,” said his deputy press secretary Jackie Schutz.

Since campaigning for governor, Scott has said that the drug-testing of welfare recipients “will help to prevent misuse of Florida tax dollars” and make sure the money goes to the children.

“Research shows higher drug use among individuals receiving government assistance, and drug abuse also forces children into welfare assistance,” Scott said while signing the bill into law.

The ACLU said the state’s own study found that of the 2,000 people who took the state drug test, only a small percentage tested positive.

“It shows that a little bit more than 2% of the welfare applicants tested positive for drugs where it’s about 8½% in the general public,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

ACORNS Jumping In The Courts!

Three news items about ACORN and their fight against the right wing today -

This First one is un-Constitutional, and I don’t think could stand up under Court challenge. ESPECIALLY since the SCOTUS granted “person-hood” to corporations. This one is a violation of the corporate person’s Civil Rights – and might be subject to Criminal, as well as Civil penalties in my view.

ACORN Gives Up Ohio Business License, Won’t Return

The community organizing group ACORN has agreed to give up its Ohio business license and not return under another name, as it has in other states, under a settlement struck with a libertarian center that sued it.

U.S. District Judge Herman Weber, in Cincinnati, signed off on the deal, which settles claims brought by the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law against ACORN’s voter registration practices. Other terms of the deal are confidential.

The center alleged in a lawsuit filed in 2008 that ACORN’s voter registration drives amounted to organized crime because the group turned in a pattern of fraudulent forms.

Center attorney Maurice Thompson said restricting ACORN’s ability to support or enable other groups to ”do what they do” was crucial to the deal, especially in a state he characterized as ”ground zero” to their voter advocacy efforts.

This one is from Breitbart “hisself” – which means it doesn’t have much credibility.

Court Dismisses ACORN Suit vs. ‘Pimp’, ‘Hooker’ and Breitbart.com

A state court in Baltimore has dismissed ACORN’s lawsuit against James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Breitbart.com LLC after the plaintiffs failed to serve the complaint on the defendants within Maryland’s 120-day limit.

And last, but not least, Constitutional vindication of ACORN. Now, those of you with strong stomachs can read the one from Faux News, with a decided “Fair and Balanced” slant from the Faux Outhouse News Outlet… Continue reading

ACORN Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Article 5, Section 9 US Constitution - No Bills of Attainer or Ex Post Facto Laws

House Ban on Acorn Grants Is Ruled Unconstitutional

The federal government must continue to provide grant money to the national community organizing group Acorn, a federal court ruled Friday, saying that the House violated the Constitution when it passed a resolution barring the group from receiving federal dollars.

A judge at the United States District Court in Brooklyn issued a preliminary injunction that nullifies the resolution and requires the government to honor existing contracts with the group and review its applications for new grants unless the Obama administration appeals the decision.

The court ruled that the resolution amounted to a “bill of attainder,” a legislative determination of guilt without trial, because it specifically punishes one group.

That provision plays a crucial, but rarely necessary, role in maintaining the balance of powers, said Eric M. Freedman, a professor of constitutional law at Hofstra Law School. “It says that the Congress may not act as judge, jury and executioner. That is precisely what the Congress sought to do in this case, and the district court was entirely right to enjoin it.”

In the opinion, Judge Nina Gershon wrote of Acorn, “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 even administrative, process adjudicating guilt.”

The Justice Department said it was still reviewing the ruling Friday night.

Judge Gershon’s opinion made a point of separating the court’s ruling from the controversy surrounding Acorn, which is short for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

The House acted after the organization came under fire for a series of embarrassing scandals, most notably the disclosure by conservative activists of videotape showing Acorn counselors giving mortgage advice to people posing as a pimp and a prostitute interested in setting up a brothel. Even before that, Republicans attacked the group, accusing it of voter registration fraud in 2008.

Jules Lobel, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the suit on behalf of Acorn, said the resolution was the first time Congress had ever singled out one group for punishment. “Whenever you challenge a statute of Congress, it’s always a significant political battle,” Mr. Lobel said.

The chief executive of Acorn, Bertha Lewis, issued a statement calling the ruling a victory for the group and “the citizens who work through Acorn to improve their communities and promote responsible lending and homeownership.”

In a lawsuit filed last month, Acorn argued that it was penalized by Congress “without an investigation” and had been forced to cut programs that counsel struggling homeowners and to lay off workers.

What is amazing to me is the Democrats who were stupid enough, and chickenshit enough to be cowed into voting for this ban.

And I’m wondering why a Law which bans corrupt companies – including Federal Contractors who have stolen billions in taxpayer money in Iraq…

Has never been passed.

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