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Saturday, December 12, 2009

ACORN Funding Strip Ruled Unconstitutional

The folks at ACORN won a legal victory yesterday.

The U.S. government's move this fall to cut off funding to ACORN was unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Friday, handing the embattled group a legal victory.

U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon issued the preliminary injunction against the government, saying it's in the public's interest for the organization to continue receiving federal funding.ACORN claimed in its lawsuit that Congress' decision to cut off its funding was unconstitutional because it punitively targeted an individual organization.

Gershon said in her ruling that ACORN had raised a "fundamental issue of separation of powers. 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."

This is an important ruling for wonks of the law and the Supreme Court. It's also a small PR victory for ACORN. It is however a largely symbolic victory. First, at the end of September, the funding was installed again. Second, ACORN gets most of its funding from private sources and not the federal government. Third, it isn't the court of law where ACORN is losing but the court of public opinion.

On that front, this court victory brings them small comfort. They continue to be engulfed by sea of bad press. That won't change because of this ruling and so this is still an organization on the brink of collapse.

1 comment:

AG said...

The thing is, Congress can't de-fund ACORN but they can deny funding to groups that have committed crimes. Problem is that would include almost every single defense contractor. Heck it would probably include almost everyone who does business with the government.

The only alternative is executive action. They get to choose who gets the money once Congress appropriates it for whatever purpose. Somehow I don't think Obama is inclined to do the bidding of people like James Inhofe.

I guess the Republicans can make this a campaign issue and if enough independents and moderates care it could work.

As for ACORN's public image. Somehow I doubt that's something they care about. They already think the forces of the rich and powerful are against them, so why would they care what the media says about them?