Prohibited Government Acts: A Reference Guide to the United States Constitution

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 - Law - 173 pages

Traces the history of, and analyzes, the current status of the law on a number of prohibited acts forbidden to the federal government as prescribed in Article I, Section 9, of the United States Constitution. Most of these represent constraints on Congress with the exception of the statement that no money may be drawn from the U.S. Treasury except by appropriation, which increases the power of Congress. The provisions include prohibitions against suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus except in cases of emergency and against passing bills of attainder and ex post facto laws. These prohibitions secure important freedoms for the citizens of the United States.

Among the other prohibitions discussed are a delay in stopping the slave trade, forbidding taxes on exports between states, forbidding giving preferences to ports of one state, and forbidding public officers from accepting things of value from foreign countries. Several of these provisions, such as those concerning bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and the writ of habeas corpus laws are the bedrock of our free society. The provision on the need for appropriations enhances the role of Congress and sets up potential conflicts between it and the other two branches of government, conflicts that might lead to highly significant cases that will help to clarify to doctrine of the separation of powers. A table of cases, bibliographic essay, and an index to enable further pursuit of key topics is included to aid students, legal, and constitutional scholars.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Constitutional Convention
The Civil War Era
Bills of Attainder and Ex Post Facto Laws
Taxes on Exports
No Money to Be Drawn from the Treasury but by Appropriation
Titles and Gifts Prohibited

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 19 - Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent when done, criminal, and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was when committed.
Page 7 - The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year 1808, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
Page 8 - Slavery discourages arts and manufactures. The poor despise labor when performed by slaves. They prevent the immigration of whites, who really enrich and strengthen a country. . They produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They brinę* the judgment of Heaven on a country.
Page 60 - Whatever respect might have been felt for the State sovereignties, it is not to be disguised that the framers of the Constitution viewed with some apprehension the violent acts which might grow out of the feelings of the moment...
Page 149 - No executive department or other Government establishment of the United States shall expend, In any one fiscal year, any sum in excess of appropriations made by Congress for that fiscal year, or involve the Government in any contract or other obligation for the future payment of money in excess of such appropriations unless such contract or obligation is authorized by law.
Page 100 - Every person who shall make any such contract or engage in any such combination or conspiracy, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor...
Page 13 - I will now add what I do not like. First, the omission of a bill of rights, providing clearly, and without the aid of sophisms...
Page 6 - To bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate, without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole...
Page 82 - ... it pronounces upon the guilt of the party, without any of the forms or safeguards of trial ; it determines the sufficiency of the proofs produced, whether conformable to the rules of evidence or otherwise ; and it fixes the degree of punishment in accordance with its own notions of the enormity of the offence. " Bills of this sort,

About the author (2002)

JACK STARK is a legislative attorney. He is the editor of this series, Reference Guides to the United States Constitution. He is the author of The Wisconsin State Consitution (Greenwood, 1997) and The Iowa State Constitution (Greenwood, 1998).

Bibliographic information