Thursday, March 19, 2009

House Passed Bonus Tax Doubtful Constitutionality

It's doubtful the tax will pass constitutional muster. Carl Cameron on a Fox News report noted the tax focuses on a select group, as a punishment. He pointed out the Constitution forbids bill of attainder.


What a bunch of hypocrits who voted yes on the new and clearly non-uniform tax.

Update March 20, 2009 Fox News 10:45 am

Joey Jackson... Will not pass constitutional muster... a punitive measure, intent is clear, give back the money... just as outraged too, don't care about constitutionality...

David Wohl... 8 banks, narrow group and punitive, might be unconstitutional a bill of attainder. Senate, different, not as narrow, might pass muster.

Net the Truth Online

House votes to tax bonuses

To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients.

Congress Invites Court Challenge With AIG Taxation Plan, Lawyers Say
Legal scholars warn that Congress could have a tough time defending itself in court if it tries to tax away the AIG bonuses.

Lawmakers outraged over the AIG bonuses have told the people who got the money to watch out -- the government will get it back one way or the other, even if it means taxing the heck out of their paychecks.

But legal scholars say Congress will have a tough time defending itself in court if it goes down that road.

Not only would Congress be retroactively meddling with contractual agreements, they say, but it would be passing laws that would essentially target a specific group of employees.

Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor, said targeting those employees through taxes would invite a valid court challenge.

"It could well trigger years of litigation," he said. "Just because a company or individual is unpopular does not mean the government can retroactively impose punitive measures against them. ... There's a host of difficult contractual and constitutional and statutory barriers that would have to be overcome by Congress."

Two of those difficulties, lawyers say, lie in Article I of the U.S. Constitution -- a section stating Congress cannot pass any "Bill of Attainder" or "ex post facto" law.

A Bill of Attainder is an act of the legislature that singles out and punishes a group or individual without trial. An ex post facto law retroactively changes the legal consequences of an act.

"It's a Bill of Attainder. It can't be done," Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., told FOX News when asked about proposals in the Senate to tax AIG.

Republican Senators help pass Administration economic stimulus measure

Senate clears way to pass stimulus bill
By Janet Hook and James Oliphant | Washington Bureau
7:10 PM CST, February 9, 2009,0,4621340.story

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