bill of attainder

noun phrase

: a legislative act that imposes punishment without a trial

Examples of bill of attainder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This broader remit avoids violating the Constitution’s bill of attainder clause, which prohibits legislation from imposing a punishment on a specific person or group of people without a trial. Aynne Kokas, Foreign Affairs, 3 Apr. 2024 And a September report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service noted that China’s Huawei Technologies and Russia’s Kaspersky Lab had previously failed in challenging restrictions on their U.S. businesses based on bill of attainder arguments. Eva Dou, Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2024 The law’s failure to target any company but TikTok is a key issue in the company’s own legal challenge, which says the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on bills of attainder, or laws that punish a specific business or person without a judicial proceeding. Lisa Bonos, Anchorage Daily News, 4 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bill of attainder.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1787, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bill of attainder was in 1787

Dictionary Entries Near bill of attainder

Cite this Entry

“Bill of attainder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Legal Definition

bill of attainder

see bill sense 1

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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