Plaut v. Spendthrift Farm, Inc., 514 U.S. 211, 28 (1995)

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238

PLAUT v. SPENDTHRIFT FARM, INC.

Opinion of the Court

590, 601-602 (1935) (Takings Clause invalidates a bankruptcy law that abrogates a vested property interest). See also United States v. Security Industrial Bank, 459 U. S. 70, 78 (1982).

Finally, we may respond to the suggestion of the concurrence that this case should be decided more narrowly. The concurrence is willing to acknowledge only that "sometimes Congress lacks the power under Article I to reopen an otherwise closed court judgment," post, at 240-241. In the present context, what it considers critical is that 27A(b) is "exclusively retroactive" and "appli[es] to a limited number of individuals." Post, at 241. If Congress had only "provid[ed] some of the assurances against 'singling out' that ordinary legislative activity normally provides—say, prospectivity and general applicability—we might have a different case." Post, at 243.

This seems to us wrong in both fact and law. In point of fact, 27A(b) does not "single out" any defendant for adverse treatment (or any plaintiff for favorable treatment). Rather, it identifies a class of actions (those filed pre-Lampf, timely under applicable state law, but dismissed as time barred post-Lampf ) which embraces many plaintiffs and defendants, the precise number and identities of whom we even now do not know. The concurrence's contention that the number of covered defendants "is too small (compared with the number of similar, uncovered firms) to distinguish meaningfully the law before us from a similar law aimed at a single closed case," post, at 244 (emphasis added), renders the concept of "singling out" meaningless.

More importantly, however, the concurrence's point seems to us wrong in law. To be sure, the class of actions identified by 27A(b) could have been more expansive (e. g., all actions that were or could have been filed pre-Lampf ) and the provision could have been written to have prospective as well as retroactive effect (e. g., "all post-Lampf dismissed actions, plus all future actions under Rule 10b-5, shall be timely if brought within 30 years of the injury"). But it escapes us

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