bill of attainder

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

bill of attainder (plural bills of attainder)

  1. (law) A legislative determination imposing punishment without trial.
    • 1920, Francis Charles Montague, The History of England, from the Accession of James I to the Restoration, page 1663:
      They resolved to copy a Tudor precedent and to proceed against him by bill of attainder. Doubts of law and defects of evidence would thus be cured
    • 1998, Daniel E. Troy, Retroactive Legislation‎, page 56:
      Coupled with the Constitution's proscription of ex post facto laws is a similar prohibition against bills of attainder.
    • 2009 Saturday, March 21, Jim McTague, “Would a Tax on Bonuses Be Constitutional?”, Barron's:
      That the tax would take effect after some of the payments were made also raises issues. Says former Attorney General Richard Thornburg, also in an e-mail: "Such legislation could well run afoul of constitutional restrictions on bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, laws impairing the obligations of contract, unauthorized takings of property and the like.

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