Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Cutting Off Funding to Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Violate the Constitution
by Hans von Sparkovsky
The Daily Signal
Some critics of the attempt to stop federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion provider, are now making the erroneous claim that to do so would be unconstitutional.
However, that claim, as expressed by Drexel law professor David S. Cohen, who says that cutting off federal funding would be an unconstitutional bill of attainder (a legislative act punishing someone without a trial), is nonsense.
Cohen seems unfamiliar with ACORN v. U.S., a 2010 decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that shows, as Ed Whelan (president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center) says, that Cohen “doesn’t know what a bill of attainder is.”
This case raised the exact same issues that Cohen raises in his commentary. ACORN and the ACORN Institute sued after a continuing appropriations resolution and subsequent appropriations laws barred federal funding for ACORN and all of its affiliates, subsidiaries, and allied organizations.
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Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative.