The ACLU Appeals Verdict in Its Case Against the Higher Education Act
By Brooke Heath
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed an appeal asking a federal court to reconsider its verdict in a case challenging the Higher Education Act's Aid Elimination Penalty. This penalty denies financial aid to any student who has been convicted of a drug offense. The ACLU argues that the penalty is unconstitutional and has asked the court to take another look at the constitutional validity of the act.
During the original motion, the ACLU fought against the Higher Education Act's Aid Elimination Penalty, saying that denying convicted students federal student aid is a second criminal punishment for those who have already served sentences imposed by the courts. The ACLU argued that this directly violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In October of 2006, District Court Judge Charles Kornmann upheld the Aid Elimination Penalty, ruling that insufficient evidence had been presented to prove the law violated the double jeopardy clause.
Since being endorsed by Congress in 2000, the Higher Education Act's Aid Elimination Penalty has blocked federal aid for more than 200,000 would-be students, according to the ACLU.
"The law's purpose is to impose a second criminal punishment on students who have already served their sentences, which makes it unconstitutional," said Adam Wolf, an attorney with the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project. "Judges must assess, not ignore, lawmakers' intentions. All we ask is that the court consider the evidence."
According to a press release from the ACLU, the recent appeal was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and comes from a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of the thousands of students affected by the Aid Elimination Penalty, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and three specific individuals who were denied financial aid under the act. The appeal requests that the district court be ordered to reconsider the legislative history of the act and reassess whether the law is, indeed, a violation of the Constitution's double jeopardy stipulation.
"The Aid Elimination Penalty represents the culmination of a decade of legislative efforts to impose an additional criminal punishment on students who have already paid their debts to society," said Wolf. "The penalty's legislative history makes clear that this law is an affront to the constitutional rights of students."
Article Title : The ACLU Appeals Verdict in Its Case Against the Higher Education Act
Comment not found for this article.
Share this story:
EdFed introduces… Awareness… Learnal
At, EdFed, we proudly introduce 'articles on student loans' and 'Learnal - the journal to learn from', our free newsletter on student loan management, which is sure to keep you informed of the latest events and happenings in the student loan market. To receive your copy of the above just use the RSS feed below and add this to your "My Yahoo", blogs, newstickers, and other similar channels accepting distributable content.
Click here to sign up for our Weekly Newswire now!
How EdFed Helped others!
The bottom line is EdFed saved me thousands of dollars on my federal student loans. I had already consolidated most of my federal loans through another company, and I thought I was done. I didn't realize I needed to do another consolidation until my Loan Specialist at EdFed explained my interest rates and their borrower benefits. I knew I
couldn't go wrong by choosing EdFed. Their payment incentives will save me over $30,000 on my federal student loans. Thank you EdFed.
- Mark W. San Antonio, TX
Student Loan Consolidation Info - How to Choose the Right Loan Company
The Career Resources column is presented by Granted, America's leading job search engine dedicated to getting people jobs.
Education is one of the most basic right of any human, but with the increase in prices and the costs involved in education this has made these rights turn into a privilege which very few can enjoy. Any normal person today in the whole of United States has to take an education loan at one point of time to pay for their education fees.