A Lawyer Objects To Congress Passing A Bill Of Attainder, Even Against Nazis. Who's Next?
December 19, 2014, 06:54 PM
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From: A Definitely Anonymous Lawyer [Email him]

Congress passed, and the president signed, legislation cutting off the Social Security Checks of elderly Nazis, many of them former US citizens, deported for lying on their immigration forms about whether they had been Nazis:

President Barack Obama on Thursday capped a swift and forceful response to an Associated Press investigation by signing into law a measure that bars suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving U.S. Social Security benefits.

AP's investigation, which was the impetus for the No Social Security for Nazis Act, found that dozens of former Nazis collected millions of dollars in retirement benefits after being forced to leave the United States…

President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks, AP, December 18, 2014

Now, nobody wishing to maintain a career or avoid being a social outcast will dare stand up for the rights of these "Nazis. But this article fails to note that these men (apparently) paid into the system for most of their working lives, a system which purports to operate as an insurance scheme. I am unaware of any political test for the collection of benefits.

Now, it is also clear that these men were convicted of nothing other than lying on some immigration form, the kind of thing the president himself appears willing to waive (and indeed his own Uncle Onyango and Aunt Zeituni did, if I'm not mistaken, when they sought asylum here.)

If the US government wants to take the very questionable legal position that their citizenship (a requirement for participation in the social security system) was revokable ab initio based on that false statement, so be it; as in the typical insurance case, all premiums paid are to be returned to the assured because the coverage was illusory.

In any event, this entire episode has the appearance of being a bill of attainder, which is explicitly prohibited by that quaint old piece of paper known as the US Constitution. Do any of those clowns on Capitol Hill ever bother to read the damned thing?

This law clearly meets the test set forth in US v Lovett, in which the Supreme Court held that “Congress may not forbid the payment of a salary to a specific individual, as it would constitute an unconstitutional bill of attainder.”

The way that the US government treated John Demjanjuk was amongst its most shameful acts, but this comes very close.

James Fulford writes: I know it seems weird to apply Martin Niemoller’s famous “First they came for the…” speech to “First they came for the Nazis”, but targeted political attacks are normal for Obama and Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

Operation Choke Point, in which the FDIC is trying to cut off banking services to firearms sellers—a legal business—has this little known addition:

However, the documents released by Issa show that the government lumped the entire firearms industry in with other “high risk” targeted businesses including pornography, drug paraphernalia, escort services, racist materials, ponzi schemes and online gambling.[Holder's gun grab via Operation Choke Point, By Emily Miller, FOX 5, June 02, 2014]
I’m all for the Second Amendment, but if the government is trying to defund “racist” materials, that violates the First Amendment.  If you violate the principles of justice to get to some elderly Nazis, then you get the situation described in Robert Bolt's play, A Man For All Seasons, about the martyrdom of St. Thomas More:
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?