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RE: [dvd-discuss] O'Connor quoted at USA Today from Eldred oral argument

Where in the Constitution is this restriction limited
to criminal laws only?  The the entirety of the clause
is as I posted it and it just says "no ex post facto
Law".  Now unless "Law-with-a-capital-L" is defined
somewhere as referring solely to criminal law, I don't
see the source for this limitation to this restriction ...

-Richard M. Hartman

186,000 mi/sec: not just a good idea, it's the LAW!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Timothy Phillips [mailto:hrothgar@telepath.com]
> Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 9:09 PM
> To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
> Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] O'Connor quoted at USA Today from 
> Eldred oral
> argument
> On Thursday, October 10, 2002, at 02:55 PM, Richard Hartman wrote:
>  >
>  >  Make _what_ call??  There is no call to
>  >  be made!  The Constitution expressly
>  >  forbids retroactive legislation in
>  >  Section 9, paragraph 3: "No bill of
>  >  attainder or ex post facto Law
>  >  shall be passed."
>  >  Where is Congress granted the power to
>  >  make a "call" about retroactivity?
> Technically, the prohibition against ex-post facto laws 
> applies only to 
> criminal laws.
> Precisely this question came up during the controversy over the Evans 
> patent.
> Thomas Jefferson, who had signed "An Act for the Relief of Oliver 
> Evans", was
> annoyed when the courts interpreted the law retroactively 
> against people 
> who
> had set up Evans's invention during the time between the judicial 
> invalidation
> of Evans's first patent and the issuing of the new one.  He 
> thought that 
> the
> spirit of the principle against ex post facto laws was 
> applicable to the 
> case,
> but recognized that the Constitutional prohibition applied only to 
> criminal laws:
> 	I did not expect the retrospection which has been
> 	given to the reviving law...
> 	The sentiment that ex post facto laws are against
> 	natural right, is so strong in the United States, that
> 	few, if any, of the State constitutions have failed to
> 	proscribe them.  The federal constitution indeed
> 	interdicts them in criminal cases only; but they are
> 	equally unjust in civil as in criminal cases, and the
> 	omission of a caution which would have been right,
> 	does not justify the doing what is wrong.    Nor ought
> 	it to be presumed that the legislature meant to use
> 	a phrase in an unjustifiable sense, if by rules of
> 	construction it can be ever strained to what is just.
> 	...Laws, moreover, abridging the natural right of
> 	the citizen, should be restrained by rigorous con-
> 	struction within their narrowest limits.
> 		--Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson, 
> August 13th, 1813.
> Yes, that is the same letter as the one containing his famous "taper" 
> apothegm.
> Tim Phillips
> <hrothgar@telepath.com>