I believe that police are regulated by the state, but could the national government pass a bill that penalized a police officer through suspension? (for committing whatever crime the bill outlaws)

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    Not all police are regulated by states. But the federal government can only suspend employees of the federal government. State-regulated police officers are not employed by the federal government and so cannot be suspended by it. They can, of course, be fined, imprisoned, placed on probation, or subject to any other criminal sanction available under federal law. Furthermore, congress can't pass bills to punish individuals. They can only specify punishments generally; the application of a punishment requires judicial action.
    – phoog
    Nov 1, 2015 at 4:44

1 Answer 1


Both Congress and the state legislatures are expressly forbidden by the Constitution from passing bills of attainder. That means neither can ever pass a law that names an individual and says "they are suspended." It is so important that it's one of the very few restrictions on government that the original Constitution (before any amendments) prohibited in bot state and federal governments. (Also, a "bill" is not a law. It's what a legislature is considering making a law.)


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