Congress Invites Court Challenge With AIG Taxation Plan, Lawyers Say

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Revmitchell, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    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.

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  2. targus

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    It seems that this administration is running on emotion rather than intellect.

    And the media kept telling us how smart these guys are.
     
  3. OldRegular

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    When you have no intellect, and it appears no morals, what would you run on?

    The democrat Congress passed a $700+ billion with a B porkulus bill that the Republicans were not allowed to read that had a provision, at the insistence of the administration, allowing payment of these bonuses. Now acting like the third world politicians they are they pass a bill knowing it is in violation of the Constitution to take the money back. But then, when have they ever worried about the limitations of the Constitution?

    How much were the bonuses, about $165 million. The democrats are getting ready to rob the taxpayers in this country of about $3,5 trillion with a T in the budget submitted by O'bama the 1st. Meanwhile he is off campaigning while chaos rules in DC. This is what he called "change with a difference".
     
  4. Matt Black

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    I note a Republican senator has called for banking bosses to either resign or commit suicide; whilst I sympathise with the emotion behind his outburst, I think he's perhaps being a tad harsh. Only a tad, though: I prefer the remedy for this sort of thing in medieval times:

    (I am indebted to the following entry from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 1125, a period during which the realm was likewise much troubled by the vexing presence of robber knights:)

    “In this year sent the King Henry before Christmas, from Normandy to England, and bade that all the mint-men that were in England should be mutilated in their limbs; that was, that they should lose each of them their right hand, and their testicles beneath. This was because the man that had a pound could not lay out a penny at a market. And the Bishop Roger of Salisbury sent over all England, and bade them all to come to Winchester at Christmas. When they came thither, they were all taken one by one, and deprived each of the right hand and of the testicles beneath. All this was done within the Twelfth-Night. And that was done all in perfect justice, because that they had undone all the land with the great quantity of base coin that they had all bought.”

    A law that I think perhaps needs re-looking at in this undone realm of England at least; if it's taxpayers' money that's being used to pay these obscene bonuses for spectacular incompetence, then the taxpayers of this land are entitled to it back - I wish our rather supine Parliament would follow Congress' lead in this regard. I don't think, despite the premise of the OP, that this would be legally challengeable in the courts here (since Parliament is supreme) and it would not be interfering with the bankers' contractual rights (they still get paid the bonus), just taxing them very heavily on money which morally they haven't earned in the first place.
     
  5. LeBuick

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    The administration hasn't done anything yet. The house is the only ones whose done anything.

    I do agree the house is running on emotion which is their biggest mistake. They didn't need to advertise what they were doing, they could have just added it to Obama budget and no one would have questioned it. However, the way they went about this I think any first year law student could get this law reversed.
     
  6. LeBuick

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    You would think this was an election year with some of the comments they've been making. I don't like seeing them get those bonuses paid with tax payers (read the poor and less fortunate in society) but I would never want to see them commit suicide. I would like to see them come to Christ.
     
  7. Robert Snow

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    On the surface it would seem imprudent to attempt to attach money from these contracts. However, unions are often told to renegotiate contracts when the damage done to the company is deemed to be lethal. It's a tough call.
     
  8. targus

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    True, Obama is just the empty suit rubber stamp taking his marching orders from Pelosi.

    Did you catch Obama on Leno when he was asked about the 90% tax on AIG bonuses.

    First he said to Leno that he had a "good answer" to peoples' concerns over the government targeting a specific group of people to tax as punishment... and then proceeded to vomit a bunch of his old campaign talking points.

    The appearance on Leno was just a continuation of the campaign because that is all Obama knows how to do.

    He certainly doesn't have a clue as to how to lead.
     
  9. Salty

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  10. Crabtownboy

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