ACORN has just filed a lawsuit in New York challenging as “unconstitutional” its loss of federal funds after its role in a child prostitution scandal was exposed. Earlier, it sued those who exposed its role in that scandal for $2 million, claiming that the exposure violated its privacy rights under state audiotaping laws. ACORN claims that Congress’s vote to cut off federal funds to ACORN is an unconstitutional bill of attainder.
ACORN is a left-wing group that launched President Obama’s career as a community organizer (ACORN stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Obama has long-standing ties to ACORN, and an ACORN affiliate received received $800,000 from Obama’s campaign. Earlier, a liberal prosecutor (and fervent Obama supporter) threatened to punish those who exposed ACORN’s scandalous actions, while turning a blind eye to ACORN’s wrongdoing. Now, however, Obama is quite rationally distancing himself from ACORN, which has become an embarrassment to its one-time supporters.
Legal scholars like Hans Von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation have explained why Congress’s cut-off of funds to ACORN was perfectly constitutional. It is easy to see why Congress would not want scarce federal funds to go to ACORN, which has a long history of terrible financial mismanagement, waste of funds, financial fraud, vote fraud, and tax evasion. Congress had many legitimate, non-punitive reasons for cutting off funds to ACORN.
ACORN’s lawsuit is brought by the radically left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). CCR’s founder, William Kunstler, was very open about the fact that he believed in civil liberties only for left-wingers in capitalist societies, not for dissidents of any stripe in Communist countries. A classic example was his attitude towards dissidents in South Vietnam. Many of these dissidents were liberals who had once criticized the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government. After communist North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam, the dissidents began politely criticizing the human-rights abuses of the new government. They were promptly sent to re-education camps, where they were starved or tortured to death. The new Communist government turned out to be far crueler than the old right-wing government, which had at least allowed dissidents to live.
When some liberals, like Joan Baez, criticized this oppression against dissidents they had once worked with, William Kunstler refused to do so, saying that once a communist regime took power, he was not in favor of criticizing it for any human-rights abuses it committed. Kunstler said, “I don’t believe in criticizing socialist governments publicly, even if there are human-rights violations.” To Kunstler, civil liberties were just a tool to be used to bring down capitalist governments and pave the way for a communist “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Once such a dictatorship was in power, there was no more need for civil liberties or individual freedoms of any kind, since individual freedom could only prove an obstacle to the socialist transformation of society.