bill of attainder

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Bill of Attainder

A special legislative enactment that imposes a death sentence without a judicial trial upon a particular person or class of persons suspected of committing serious offenses, such as Treason or a felony.

A bill of attainder is prohibited by Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the Constitution because it deprives the person or persons singled out for punishment of the safeguards of a trial by jury.

bill of attainder

n. a legislative act which declares a named person guilty of a crime, particularly treason. Such bills are prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.

bill of attainder

formerly, a legislative act finding a person guilty without trial of treason or felony and declaring him attainted. See ATTAINDER.

BILL OF ATTAINDER, legislation, punishment. An act of the legislature by which one or more persons are declared to be attainted, and their property confiscated.
     2. The Constitution of the United States declares that no state shall pass any bill of attainder.
     3. During the revolutionary war, bills of attainder, and ox post facto acts of confiscation, were passed to a wide extent. The evils resulting from them, in times of more cool reflection, were discovered to have far outweighed any imagined good. Story on Const. Sec. 1367. Vide Attainder; Bill of Pains and Penalties.

References in periodicals archive ?
Before the trial could conclude and the Lords come to judgement, the Commons abandoned the treason charges in favour of a bill of attainder.
In response to the argument that the legislation was a bill of attainder, the Court found that Nixon was a "legitimate class of one" because Congress acted on the basis of permissible reasons--the preservation of presidential records--that at the time applied only to him.
Similarly, they initially prevailed on the bill of attainder argument that would have let them provide long-distance service without even attempting to open their local markets, but ultimately lost on that issue as well.
The Supreme Court's retreat from any meaningful non-delegation analysis in the modern era threatens to undermine the integrity of the Bill of Attainder Clause, which is a vitally important provision for the reasons given above.
228) Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist has described a bill of attainder as a "precise legal term[]" that refers to "a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial.
As such, his role in developing precedent through the use of signing statements and impacting the future use of the tool is relatively minor, especially since the bill of attainder issue is clear in the Constitution.
149) Comment, 'The Bounds of Legislative Specification: A Suggested Approach to the Bill of Attainder Clause' (1962) 72 Yale Law Journal 330, 355.
In a bill of attainder taking (as compared to a legitimate one in which the three essential elements of due process, public use and compensation are followed) the legislature acts judicially, arbitrarily judging that a taking should occur in defiance of due process, with no regard for public use or compensation.
This arguably made the amendment a bill of attainder and therefore unconstitutional.
legislature shall pass any Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law.
Fearful of what might happen to his own family, on May 10 Charles assented to the bill of attainder.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.