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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

bill of attainder

formerly, a legislative act finding a person guilty without trial of treason or felony and declaring him attainted. See ATTAINDER.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
That raises the legal concept of a bill of attainder: "a legislative act which convicts specific persons or an ascertainable class and punishes them for crimes without judicial trial." Bills of attainder, Puno noted in his essay, originated in England around the year 1300.
"singling out" that the Bill of Attainder Clause prohibits.
(4 Wall.) 277, 323 (1867) (defining a bill of attainder as a congressionally imposed punishment without trial).
303 (1946)(Congress may not create a bill of attainder by means of an appropriations measure denying money to pay salaries of named officials); Reid v.
There is little argument that the bill of attainder is an obscure aspect of the Constitution.
Article I, section 3 (providing that impeachment and conviction does not preclude criminal prosecution) and Article I, section 9 (prohibiting Congress from adopting a bill of attainder).
the Bill of Attainder Clause and the Ex Post Facto Clause to prevent the
The Bill of Attainder Clauses, applicable to both federal and state governments, prevent legislatures from inflicting criminal punishments on specific, identified individuals or groups (without a judicial hearing); "special legislation" clauses in state constitutions prohibit or hamper statutes that impose special burdens, or (in some states) statutes that confer special benefits, on particular individuals, groups, or geographic areas; (43) various constitutional requirements of uniformity prevent disparate treatment of different states or regions; (44) and the equal protection requirement serves as a constitutional backstop that may be invoked to scrutinize both federal and state official action that seems excessively targeted against identified individuals or classes.
In any case, no bill of attainder has ever included a comprehensive set of procedural protections for the accused.
Moreover, Amar must also be correct that a law can be a bill of attainder if it designates a specific group of persons: so, for instance, a law barring "all members of the Amar family" from holding public office would be an attainder just as much as if each member of the family were individually listed in the text of the statute.
(4) No bill of attainder, or ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
(7) I read his classics on flag desecration, (8) the Bill of Attainder Clause, (9) and reverse discrimination.