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United States v. Lovett

United States Supreme Court
328 U.S. 303 (1946)


Lovett, Watson, and Dodd (plaintiffs) worked for the federal government (defendant). The Urgent Deficiency Appropriation Act of 1943 provided that after November 15, 1943, no salary would be paid to the plaintiffs out of appropriated funds unless the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, reappointed them. The plaintiffs were named in the bill because of certain congressmen’s thoughts about the plaintiffs’ beliefs, loyalties, or Communist associations. After November 15, the plaintiffs continued to work in their government positions without being formally reappointed. Pursuant to the act, they did not receive compensation for their work. The plaintiffs sued the federal government, arguing, among other things, that the act constituted an impermissible bill of attainder. The United States argued that Congress’s appropriations power is not justiciable. The court of claims ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

Concurrence (Frankfurter, J.)

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