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Appeals Court Temporarily Reinstates ACORN Funding Ban

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In this Oct. 6, 2009 file photo, an Acorn sign hangs in New Orleans on a blighted house in the Lower Ninth Ward. (AP)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday temporarily blocked a judge's ruling that it was unconstitutional for Congress to cut funding to the activist group ACORN.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan will remain in place until full arguments on the issue can be heard during the summer.

Rep. Darrell Issa, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has led the charge against taxpayer funding for ACORN, cheered the ruling.

"I applaud the Court of Appeals for immediately addressing the effects of Judge Gershon's attempt to legislate from the bench," he said in a written statement. "With today's action by the Appeals Court, the Obama administration must take immediate steps to re-implement the funding ban for ACORN Congress put into law."

"In recent months, ACORN has undergone a rebranding campaign to disguise itself and its affiliates," Issa added. "As a result, the White House and all federal agencies must be extremely vigilant to ensure that rebranded organizations who have continued to make deals and maintain connections to ACORN don't receive taxpayer dollars."

U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon has ruled twice in the past six months that the funding cutoff was unconstitutional.

The Brooklyn judge said ACORN was punished by Congress without having gone through processes to decide whether money had been handled inappropriately.

A series of secretly taped videos filmed at ACORN offices around the country last year caught employees giving advice to a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute, sparking a national scandal and helping drive the organization to near ruin.

On Wednesday, attorney Mark Stern argued for the Justice Department that Congress did nothing wrong when it took action last year against ACORN after it identified "widespread mismanagement."

Attorney Jules Lobel of the Center for Constitutional Rights said that funding for economically distressed people who receive government subsidies for homes was being blocked and that the money needed to be freed or some people would be homeless.