Federal judge halts ban on ACORN funding

Big news yesterday from The Hill’s blog:

A federal judge today issued an injunction preventing the implementation of a congressional ban on funding for ACORN.

Judge Nina Gershon concluded that the ban amounted to a “bill of attainder” that unfairly singled out ACORN.

“[The plaintiffs] 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 of adjudicating guilt,” Gershon wrote in her decision.

Gershon said ACORN had demonstrated “irreperable harm” from the ban, while “the potential harm to the government, in granting the injunction, is less.

You can download a pdf file of the ruling at the Center for Constitutional Rights site.

Conservative heads are exploding. I await an outraged statement from ACORN-obsessed Representative Steve King (IA-05), even though ACORN has done nothing wrong.

Credit should go to the 75 House Democrats who had the courage to vote against this unconstitutional bill. Sadly, Iowa’s Democratic representatives Bruce Braley, Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell joined the stampede to cut off ACORN.

Speaking of which, Editor & Publisher recently published an outstanding piece by Christopher R. Martin and Peter Dreier on the media’s “false framing” of ACORN.

I was very sorry to read this week that Editor & Publisher is shutting down after more than 100 years in business.

UPDATE: I missed this story:

This week, an independent review of ACORN (pdf here), run by by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, found serious but correctable problems with the organization that were organizational, not criminal in nature, and that reflected an overall lack of coordinated national management and unified purpose–the exact opposite of the centralized, highly disciplined super-secret organization that conservatives have long fantasized about.

While the report pulls no punches in citing nine significant reports that need to be made, it says that “The following nine (9) recommendations, discussed in detail in Section VII, are neither an epitaph nor an absolution for ACORN, but are a roadmap to reform and renewal, if implemented in their entirety in concert with other measures to regain the public’s trust.”

Regarding the videos used to attack ACORN, the report finds that “The released videos offer no evidence of a pattern of illegal conduct by ACORN employees,” that “The ACORN employees captured on video were members or part-time staff. They were not organizers or supervisory level employees,” and that “There is no evidence that any action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by ACORN employees on behalf of the videographers.”

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No new vote this year on Polk County courthouse

Polk County supervisors are going to spend more time reviewing the options for addressing the needs of the overcrowded courthouse before putting another referendum before the voters. Click the link to see some options being considered.

Given the way the April 29 vote turned out, there was little chance that Polk County voters would approve the same plan this November in any case.

It is unfortunate that poor planning and mismanagement of other projects involving the county have created such an atmosphere of public distrust. The courthouse proposal was a sensible approach to meeting real needs of the judicial system.

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Polk County residents, don't forget to vote on Tuesday

On Tuesday, April 29, Polk County is holding a referendum on whether to renovate and expand the Polk County Courthouse. Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

I am voting yes, because the current facility poses a fire hazard and a threat to the safety of the judges, courthouse employees, and members of the public.

Delaying construction on this facility will only increase the eventual cost while increasing the chance of death or injury in the meantime.

The Des Moines Register is also urging readers to vote yes on the referendum and published lots of information about the proposal in Monday’s edition.

UPDATE: Around 7:15 pm on Monday, I received a robocall paid for by Citizens for Reasonable Justice, which made the case for voting no on this referendum, and directed me to their website:


I think it’s disingenuous for them to say let’s just wait until after the recession is over and then adopt a more modest plan for renovating the courthouse.

First, we all know these anti-tax groups will fight any proposal to spend money on this, no matter how big, no matter what the phase of the economic cycle.

Second, if we kick the can down the road for another five years, the cost of adding on to the courthouse will increase, not decrease.

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