In a recent conversation with one of our new members they explained to me that they had been given the opportunity through one of the Urban League’s programs to receive some job training that would help them to get a better job. They applied for that opportunity and received an interview for the job training program. At the time of the interview they were told that they would not be allowed to participate in the program because they had received a sexual conviction. I spent some time today contacting that Urban League office. While talking to the office staff I found out it was not the policy of the Urban League to deny anyone access to their programs, but instead that their programs are funded through a federal grant from the Department of Labor. The Department of Labor has said that no one with a sex crime conviction can be involved in programs that receive any federal funding from their agency.
To me, this makes absolutely no sense that the federal government is willing to fund training programs for all those who have had criminal convictions in their past with the exception of the people with the lowest re-offense rate of any convicted group. Does this seem like discrimination based on fear, hatred, and bigotry, either by the legislative body, or the people in charge of the rulemaking within the Department of Labor to you? This is also the same government that is denying housing to people with sex crimes. Again, this is not based on a statistical threat to the public, it is based solely on the myths that make people involved in sex crimes are thought to be more dangerous than anyone else with a criminal conviction. Myths that are based on a lie. (http://sosen.org/blog/2015/07/07/destroyed-families-destroyed-lives-all-because-of-a-lie.html)
This backward thinking by federal officials only adds to the problems of homelessness and joblessness which has been proven to increase the re-offense rates for all people with felony/criminal convictions. From where I stand, this is an obvious violation of Article 1 Section 9 of our Constitution in that, No Ex-post facto Law or Bill of Attainder may be passed. Obviously denying one group of people access to government funded programs Is in fact, a bill of attainder/lesser pains and penalties.
Within the U.S. Constitution the clauses forbidding attainder laws serve two purposes. First, they reinforced the separation of powers by forbidding the legislature to perform judicial or executive functions—since the outcome of any such acts of legislature would of necessity take the form of a Bill of Attainder. Second, they embody the concept of due process, which was partially reinforced by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The text of the Constitution, Article I, Section 9; Clause 3 is “No Bill of Attainder or Ex-post facto Law shall be passed”.
Just exactly what is a Bill of Attainder, and would a law passed or a rule or regulation made by a government organization fall under the definition of a Bill of Attainder?
According to former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist: a Bill of Attainder is a precise legal term which had a meaning under English law at the time the United States Constitution was adopted. A Bill of Attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them without benefit of a judicial trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because they understood that the traditional role of a court was to judge an individual case, first to determine guilt, and only thereafter to impose punishment.
In Cummings v. Missouri, 71 US 277 (1867) the court wrote “A Bill of Attainder, is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without judicial trial and includes any legislative act which takes away the life, liberty or property of a particular named or easily ascertainable person or group of persons because the legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment” Through the opinion in Cummings we see the justification for the Bill of Attainder prohibition – it is a means to protect individual liberty and private property (or interest in private property, namely future wages)
The fact that the Department of Labor has set up restrictions either by law or by their rule-making specifically aimed at people with sex crimes and is denying them access to education that would allow them to apply for higher paying jobs, quite obviously is in fact a Bill of Attainder.
There is also a similar case where Congress attempted to ban a group of people from using food stamp’s Dept. of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528 (1973) This law was found to be unconstitutional under the 14th amendment equal protection clause. In that case the court stated “The legislative history that does exist, however, indicates that that amendment was intended to prevent so-called “hippies” and “hippie communes” from participating in the food stamp program. See H.R.Conf.Rep. No. 91-1793, p. 8; 116 Cong.Rec. 44439 (1970) (Sen. Holland). The challenged classification clearly cannot be sustained by reference to this congressional purpose. For if the constitutional conception of “equal protection under the laws” means anything, it must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot constitute a legitimate governmental interest. Thereby denying education to people with sex crimes can be viewed as a violation of the 14th amendment equal protection clause as well as Article I, Section 9; Clause 3
If this is the case of rulemaking on the part of the Department of Labor, it may open up their rulemakers to being charged with a federal crime Under title 18 U.S.C. section 241 conspiracy against rights, as well as title 18 U.S.C. section 242 Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law and under title 18 USC section 245 federally protected activities. Section 1 E. a participant in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. People with criminal convictions for sex crimes are a easily defined group/class and a subclass of felons. Felons have been found to be a class of people by the US courts.
So my next question is, where are the organizations like the ACLU and independent constitutional attorneys that are going to take on this quite obvious violation of the constitutional rights of certain individuals by our government agencies?