Congressmen Call on Justice Department to Appeal ACORN Ruling

Two congressmen called on the Justice Department Monday to appeal a recent decision in federal district court that found the government's move to cut off funding to ACORN was unconstitutional.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., described the Dec. 11 decision by Judge Nina Gershon as "preposterous."

"The district court's decision is troubling in many respects, but most significantly, if allowed to stand, it would effectively excise from the Constitution Congress' express Spending Clause power to refuse to appropriate federal funds to an organization that has shown itself likely to misuse those funds in the future," the letter reads. "Such a conclusion is nothing short of preposterous."

Gershon, who issued a preliminary injunction against the government, ruled it was in the public interest for ACORN to continue receiving federal funding.

"They have been singled out by Congress for punishment that directly and immediately affects their ability to continue to obtain federal funding, in the absence of any judicial, or even administrative, process adjudicating guilt," Gershon said in her ruling.

In its lawsuit, ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, claimed Congress' decision to ban funding to the group was unconstitutional because it targeted an individual organization.

The law that stopped ACORN's federal funding had been set to expire or be extended for a second time on Dec. 18.

Gershon's ruling, meanwhile, was the result of "left-wing activist judge," said Issa, adding that ACORN is not fit to receive federal funds.

"This left-wing activist judge is setting a dangerous precedent that left-wing political organizations plagued by criminal accusations have a constitutional entitlement to taxpayer dollars," Issa said in a statement released Monday.

Justice Department spokeswoman Beverley Lumpkin told The Associated Press the agency was reviewing Gershon's decision and declined to comment further.

In a statement, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said the ruling was a "victory for the constitutional rights" of all Americans.