A bill of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without a judicial trial upon named individuals or those of an easily ascertainable class. The present case applies this definition to a legislative act which specifically designates Communists as individuals unfit to hold union office and punishes them by forcing them to choose between loss of their union position and criminal sanctions. A bill of attainder necessarily denies the victim due process of law. But the bill of attainder clause is in the Constitution for the specific purpose of insuring that no one is tried and convicted by the legislature.Section 504 of the Landrum-Griffin Act is a bill of attainder. The effect and function of section 504 is to punish specific individuals by depriving them of their union positions; it is therefore unconstitutional.
Mark F. Anderson,
Constitutional Law—Bill of Attainder—Section 504 of the Landrum-Griffin Act Held: Unconstitutional—United States v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437 (1965),
45 Neb. L. Rev. 819
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