Capitol Unrest, Legislative Response, and the Bill of Attainder Clause [January 22, 2021] [open pdf - 771KB]
From the Document: "On January 6, 2021, a crowd gathered on the U.S. Capitol grounds, breached police barriers, entered and occupied portions of the Capitol building, and clashed with law enforcement. The incident resulted in at least five deaths, dozens of injuries, and damage to federal property. Members of Congress and the Vice President, who were counting electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election, were forced to evacuate in response to the unrest. Following the incident, some Members of Congress and other commentators have called for accountability for the individuals directly involved in the incident, as well as for others, potentially including elected officials, who may have incited or supported the unrest. Many of those calls for accountability raise complex legal issues. [...] Lawmakers and commentators have also explored imposing liability under other legal authorities, including by passing new legislation or seeking to bar certain individuals from holding office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. This Legal Sidebar addresses one of the more novel issues that these proposals may raise. The Bill of Attainder Clause prohibits Congress from enacting legislation that inflicts punishment on an individual basis without a judicial trial. This Sidebar provides an overview of the Bill of Attainder Clause and presents certain related legal considerations for Congress as the legislature responds to the Capitol unrest."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10567
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/