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COURT DECISION
United States v. Lovett
1946

Full name: United States v. Lovett

Click here to read the decision



JUSTICES IN MAJORITY
Hugo Black
Felix Frankfurter
Stanley Forman Reed

NOT PARTICIPATING
Robert H. Jackson

Note: Court justices do not represent any political party. The color of each judge's name represents the political party of the president who appointed the judge.

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What the case was about

The court ruled that Congress could not deny pay to individual government employees.

What inpired the case

In 1943, the House Committee on American Activities determined that three government employees, including Robert Lovett, were guilty of subversive activities. Congress then passed an appropriations bill which contained a provision denying pay to the employees.

Ruling - Congress can't control salaries

The court ruled the act was directed at individuals who were being punished "because the legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment", and they would not have had the opportunity for a jury trial.

That made the denial of pay a bill of attainder, which the constitution prohibits.

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