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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Enemy Combatant Detainees:

Enemy Combatant Detainees:

Date: September 26, 2006
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K & Thomas, Kenneth R
Description: In Rasul v. Bush, a divided Supreme Court declared that “a state of war is not a blank check for the president” and ruled that persons deemed “enemy combatants” have the right to challenge their detention before a judge or other “neutral decision-maker.” This report provides an overview of the CSRT procedures, summarizes court cases related to the detentions and the use of military commissions, and summarizes the Detainee Treatment Act, analyzing how it might affect detainee-related litigation in federal court.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

Date: October 2, 2006
Creator: Garcia, Michael John
Description: Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with U.S. statutes and treaties such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the 1949 Geneva Conventions. Congress approved additional guidelines concerning the treatment of detainees via the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), which was enacted pursuant to both the Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006 (P.L. 109-148), and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-163). Among other things, the DTA contains provisions that (1) require Department of Defense (DOD) personnel to employ United States Army Field Manual guidelines while interrogating detainees, and (2) prohibit the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of persons under the detention, custody, or control of the United States Government.” These provisions of the DTA, which were first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the “McCain Amendment.” This report discusses the McCain Amendment, as modified and subsequently enacted into law.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Data Security Breaches: Context and Incident Summaries

Data Security Breaches: Context and Incident Summaries

Date: September 28, 2006
Creator: Tehan, Rita
Description: Personal data security breaches are being reported with increasing regularity. Within the last few years, numerous examples of data such as Social Security numbers, bank account, credit card, driver’s license numbers, and medical and student records have been compromised. A major reason for the increased awareness of these security breaches is a California law that requires notice of security breaches to the affected individuals. This law, implemented in July 2003, was the first of its kind in the nation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. Assistance to Women in Afghanistan and Iraq: Challenges and Issues for Congress

U.S. Assistance to Women in Afghanistan and Iraq: Challenges and Issues for Congress

Date: January 5, 2006
Creator: Margesson, Rhoda & Kronenfeld, Daniel
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
U.S. Assistance to Women in Afghanistan and Iraq: Challenges and Issues for Congress

U.S. Assistance to Women in Afghanistan and Iraq: Challenges and Issues for Congress

Date: January 5, 2006
Creator: Margesson, Rhoda & Kronenfeld, Daniel
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Amendments: 109th Congress

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Amendments: 109th Congress

Date: September 22, 2006
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Description: Enacted in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was designed to enable any person -- individual or corporate, regardless of citizenship -- to request, without explanation or justification, presumptive access to existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records on any topic. The statute specified nine categories of information that may be permissibly exempted from the rule of disclosure. Disputes over the accessibility of requested records could be ultimately settled in court. The statute has become a somewhat popular tool of inquiry and information gathering for various quarters of American society. This report details the history of the Act, as well as relevant legislation and incidences and the efforts to amend the Act.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court

Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court

Date: September 26, 2006
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Thomas, Kenneth
Description: There have been inconsistent opinions in the District Court for the District of Columbia as to whether detainees who are suspected of connections to terrorist actions have any enforceable rights to challenge their treatment and detention. This report describes issues surrounding the writ of habeas corpus as it relates to detaining and imprisonment in matters of counterterrorism. This report also includes several legal cases and pieces of legislation in regards to this issue.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

Date: October 2, 2006
Creator: Garcia, Michael John
Description: Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with related U.S. statutes and treaties. Certain provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the "McCain Amendment." This report discusses the McCain amendment and also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment

Date: September 25, 2006
Creator: Garcia, Michael John
Description: Controversy has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with related U.S. statutes and treaties. Certain provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA), first introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as the "McCain Amendment." This report discusses the McCain amendment and also discusses the application of the McCain Amendment by the DOD in the updated 2006 version of the Army Field Manual.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities

Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities

Date: May 20, 2008
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegates, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegates with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to "nonfederal entities." For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congress and U.S. Policy on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees: Recent Legislation and Implementation

Congress and U.S. Policy on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees: Recent Legislation and Implementation

Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma
Description: The passage of the reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act in October 2008 reasserted congressional interest in influencing the Bush Administration's policy toward North Korea. In addition to reauthorizing funding at original levels, the bill expresses congressional criticism of the implementation of the original 2004 law and adjusts some of the provisions relating to the Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea and the U.S. resettlement of North Korean refugees. Some outside analysts have pointed to the challenges of highlighting North Korea's human rights violations in the midst of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, as well as the difficulty in effectively reaching North Korean refugees as outlined in the law. Further, the law may complicate coordination on North Korea with China and South Korea.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Endangered Species Act and Private Property

The Endangered Species Act and Private Property

Date: March 7, 1993
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: If the 103rd Congress embarks upon an effort to reauthorize the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it will run into an old acquaintance: the property rights issue. As now written, the ESA has at least the potential to curtail property rights (whatever its actual impact as implemented may be). This report explores the legal repercussions of those impacts, especially whether they constitute takings of property under the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: June 12, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Description: This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights -- major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: July 13, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Description: Human rights has long been a principal area of U.S. concern in its relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC). Policy makers are at odds regarding whether or not the U.S. policy of engagement with China has produced meaningful political reform. This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights - major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports

Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Krouse, William J.
Description: This report briefly describes a provision known as the "Tiahrt" amendment, a rider on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) appropriations that prohibits ATF from disclosing firearm trace data and multiple handgun sales reports data for any purpose other than supporting a criminal investigatoin or agency licensing proceeding. The Tiahrt amendment is so called because its sponsor is Representative Todd Tiahrt. A coalition of 210 city mayors favors the repeal of this rider, but there is much opposition to that motion.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Haiti: Efforts to Restore President Aristide, 1991-1994

Haiti: Efforts to Restore President Aristide, 1991-1994

Date: May 11, 1995
Creator: Taft-Morales, Maureen
Description: This report tracks the efforts to restore to office President Aristide of Haiti between the years 1991-1994. During this period, the main U.S. foreign policy concern was the restoration of the democratic process to Haiti. Closely related to this was the issue of Haitians attempting to flee to the United States by boat. Congressional concerns focused on human rights, Haitian migration, socioeconomic conditions, and drug trafficking.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

Date: November 30, 1998
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: In Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the new York State Crime Victims Board, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York State's "Son of Sam" law was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. This report examines the Supreme Court decision and then considers whether its rationale renders the federal law unconstitutional. Concluding that it likely does, the report considers whether it would be possible to enact a constitutional Son-of-Sam statute. Finally, the report takes note of some state Son-of-Sam statutes that have been enacted since the Supreme Court decision.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Date: June 1, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Description: On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administration, and ongoing international and Congressional concerns of the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Date: October 16, 2009
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Access to Government Information in the United States

Access to Government Information in the United States

Date: August 31, 2009
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: The U.S. Constitution makes no specific allowance for any one of the three branches of the federal government to have access to information held by the others. No provision in the U.S. Constitution expressly establishes a procedure for public access to government information. Congress has legislated various public access laws. Among these laws are two records access statutes, The Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and two meetings access statutes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report offers an overview of the four information access laws noted above, and provides citations to additional resources related to these tools.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Freedom of Information Act and Nondisclosure Provisions in Other Federal Laws

The Freedom of Information Act and Nondisclosure Provisions in Other Federal Laws

Date: September 24, 2010
Creator: Stevens, Gina
Description: This report discusses Congressional considerations regarding how to balance the federal government's growing need for sensitive or confidential business information, the public's right of access to information about government activities, and the private sector's interest in keeping its sensitive or proprietary information protected from public disclosure. The report discusses this issue in light of particularly the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other similar legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress

Date: January 28, 2011
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Description: This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Date: April 19, 2011
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: Iraq's political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions has been accomplished through a series of elections that began in 2005. However, disputes regarding various communities' claims on power and economic resources has contributed to popular frustration and continued political unrest. This report discusses these issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues

Date: January 12, 2012
Creator: Siskin, Alison
Description: As Congress considers addressing some of the problems in the nation's immigration system, the detention of noncitizens in the United States may be an issue as Congress may choose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained) and resources. There are many policy issues surrounding detention of aliens. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) increased the number of aliens subject to mandatory detention, and raised concerns about the justness of mandatory detention, especially as it is applied to asylum seekers arriving without proper documentation. Additionally, as DHS increases its ability to identify aliens who are subject to removal from local jails in more remote locations, the nationwide allocation of detention space may become an issue.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department