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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 112th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones and, finally, briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122251/
Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
This report examines the constitutional and statutory protections related to free exercise of religion, including current Supreme Court interpretations, as well as judicial and legislative avoidance of defining the parameters of religious belief. It also discusses significant examples of existing religious exemptions in current law, such as employment nondiscrimination, health care, and public accommodations law. Finally, it analyzes recent federal judicial decisions that have considered the religious freedom rights of commercial entities whose owners have religious objections to the contraceptive coverage requirement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284518/
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The report addresses all Supreme Court decisions concerning enemy combatants and also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287956/
China, Internet Freedom, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Congressional interest in how Internet use in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is tied to human rights concerns in several ways: as a U.S. policy tool for promoting rights in China; though use of the Internet political dissidents and political repression; the role of U.S. Internet companies in spreading freedom and complying with PRC censorship; and the development of U.S. Internet freedom policies globally. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc98026/
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report provides a background to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, the Authorization to use Military Force act, and the President's power to detain "enemy combatants." It then gives a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals and an overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to national security. It concludes by discussion Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc93921/
Gun Control: Statutory Disclosure Limitations on ATF Firearms Trace Data and Multiple Handgun Sales Reports
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26332/
Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc40258/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
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." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29495/
Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause
This report analyzes the constitutional issues associated with standing (a restraint on the power of federal courts to render decisions), specifically related to cases arising under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment regarding religion. It provides a background on the doctrine of standing, including the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of various types of standing: standing to sue as a citizen, as a taxpayer, and on behalf of another party. It also examines the current standing rules related to the Establishment Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc97978/
Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court decided four search and seizure cases during its October 2012 term: Florida v. Jardines, Florida v. Harris, Bailey v. United, and Missouri v. McNeely. This report discusses the prior precedents in each case as well as the decision reached by the Court. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462605/
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iran, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491379/
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress
This report reviews and discusses President Obama's Open Government Initiative and the Open Government Directive. The report then analyzes both agency response to the OGI and the OGD, and examines whether the OGD's requirements can meet the stated goals of the Administration. The report discusses the three central tenets of the Administration's OGD--transparency, public participation, and collaboration--and analyzes each one individually to determine whether agencies are meeting these requirements and whether the requirements may improve the effectiveness of the federal government. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490864/
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented. The report concludes by discussing Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462046/
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
This report provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, including the findings of an Independent Study Group (ISG) with respect to the increased sharing of satellite intelligence data. There follows a discussion of legal considerations, including whether satellite reconnaissance might constitute a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; an overview of statutory authorities, as well as restrictions that might apply; and a brief description of executive branch authorities and Department of Defense directives that might apply. The report concludes by suggesting policy issues Congress may consider as it deliberates the potential advantages and pitfalls that may be encountered in expanding the role of satellite intelligence for homeland security purposes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463237/
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report analyzes the existing law and authority to detain U.S. persons, including American citizens and resident aliens, as well as other persons within the United States who are suspected of being members, agents, or associates of Al Qaeda or possibly other terrorist organizations as "enemy combatants." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc463062/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 110th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96738/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96739/
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: Legal Background and Recent Amendments
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National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse of the Legal Background and Recent Amendments
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Condemnation of Private Property for Economic Development: Legal Comments on the House-Passed Bill (H.R. 4128) and Bond Amendment
The prohibition on economic development condemnations extends not only to land taken for the explicit purpose of economic development but also to land subsequently so used. The latter coverage raises the possibility that although a parcel was initially condemned for a non-prohibited purpose, its use years later for a prohibited one would trigger the two-year cut-off of federal funds. Nor does there seem to be any proportionality requirement between the prohibited condemnations and the length and scope of the federal funds suspension. If Congress’ Spending Power includes a proportionality requirement for conditions on federal funds, as the Court suggests, the absence of proportionality in some of the bill’s applications may raise a constitutional issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8250/
The U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens
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Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
Restrictions on travel to Cuba have been a key and often contentious component in U.S. efforts to isolate the communist government of Fidel Castro for much of the past 40 years. Under the Bush Administration, enforcement of U.S. restrictions on Cuba travel has increased, and restrictions on travel and on private remittances to Cuba have been tightened. Several legislative initiatives have been introduced in the 109th Congress that would ease restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. These bills would, among other things, lift overall restrictions on travel to Cuba, lift the overall embargo, and ease restrictions on exporting agricultural commodities to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9388/
The U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens
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Data Security: Federal Legislative Approaches
This report discusses the core areas addressed in federal legislation, including the scope of coverage (who is covered and what information is covered); data privacy and security safeguards for sensitive personal information; requirements for security breach notification (when, how, triggers, frequency, and exceptions); restrictions on social security numbers (collection, use, and sale); credit freezes on consumer reports; identity theft penalties; causes of action; and preemption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9019/
U.S.-Vietnam Relations: Background and Issues for Congress
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Obscenity: A Legal Primer
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Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would have eased U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba, but were not completed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96742/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96741/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 111th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96740/
Cuba: U.S. Restrictions on Travel and Remittances
The first half of this report looks at the background of U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba over the last 40 years. The second half of this report looks at several initiatives from the 110th Congress that would ease U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462925/
Data Security: Federal Legislative Approaches
This report discusses the core areas addressed in federal legislation, including the scope of coverage (who is covered and what information is covered); data privacy and security safeguards for sensitive personal information; requirements for security breach notification (when, how, triggers, frequency, and exceptions); restrictions on social security numbers (collection, use, and sale); credit freezes on consumer reports; identity theft penalties; causes of action; and preemption. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462159/
Cuba: Issues for the 109th Congress
This report, which will be updated regularly, examines issues in U.S.-Cuban relations and tracks legislative initiatives on Cuba in the 109th Congress. The 109th Congress will likely continue an active interest in Cuba concerning human rights, debate over economic sanctions (especially on travel), food and agricultural exports to Cuba, terrorism issues, Radio and TV Marti, bilateral anti-drug cooperation, and migration issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9371/
Cuba: Issues for the 109th Congress
This report, which will be updated regularly, examines issues in U.S.-Cuban relations and tracks legislative initiatives on Cuba in the 109th Congress. The 109th Congress will likely continue an active interest in Cuba concerning human rights, debate over economic sanctions (especially on travel), food and agricultural exports to Cuba, terrorism issues, Radio and TV Marti, bilateral anti-drug cooperation, and migration issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9370/
U.S. Assistance to Women in Afghanistan and Iraq: Challenges and Issues for Congress
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Cuba After Fidel Castro: U.S. Policy Implications and Approaches
In the new context of Fidel’s transfer of power, there are two broad policy approaches to contend with political change in Cuba: a stay-the-course or status-quo approach that would maintain the U.S. dual-track policy of isolating the Cuban government while providing support to the Cuban people; and an approach aimed at influencing the Cuban government and Cuban society through increased contact and engagement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9518/
Cuba After Fidel Castro: U.S. Policy Implications and Approaches
In the new context of Fidel’s transfer of power, there are two broad policy approaches to contend with political change in Cuba: a stay-the-course or status-quo approach that would maintain the U.S. dual-track policy of isolating the Cuban government while providing support to the Cuban people; and an approach aimed at influencing the Cuban government and Cuban society through increased contact and engagement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9519/
Bangladesh: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses the key issues regarding U.S.-Bangladesh Relations. U.S. policy toward Bangladesh emphasizes support for political stability and democracy; social and economic development; and improvement of human rights. The United States has long-standing supportive relations with Bangladesh and has viewed Bangladesh as a moderate voice in the Islamic world. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9527/
Papua, Indonesia: Issues for Congress
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Data Security: Federal and State Laws
Security breaches involving electronic personal data have come to light largely as a result of the California Security Breach Notification Act, a California notification law that went into effect in 2003. In response, the states and some Members have introduced bills that would require companies to notify persons affected by such security breaches. By December 2005, 35 states had introduced data security legislation and 22 states had enacted data security laws. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9022/
U.S. Assistance to Women in Afghanistan and Iraq: Challenges and Issues for Congress
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Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt, U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9396/
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
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The War Crimes Act: Current Issues
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Pakistan-U.S. Relations
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Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
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Arrest and Detention of Material Witnesses: Federal Law In Brief and Section 12 of the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3199)
This report is an overview of the law under the federal material witness statute which authorizes the arrest of material witnesses, permits their release under essentially the same bail laws that apply to federal criminal defendants, but favors their release after their depositions have taken. A list of citations to comparable state statutes and a bibliography of law review articles and notes are appended. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7306/
Arrest and Detention of Material Witnesses and the USA PATRIOT Act and Terrorism Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3199): A Sketch
Section 12 of the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3199), as reported by the House Judiciary Committee, directed the Department of Justice to review the detention of individuals under the federal material witness statute, including their length of detention], conditions of access to counsel, frequency of access to counsel, offense at issue, and frequency of appearance before a grand jury. This report illustrates the level of controversy easily generated by material witness statutes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7361/
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt. U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122295/
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of Egyptian politics and current issues in U.S.-Egyptian relations. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt. U.S.-Egyptian relations are complex and multi-faceted, and this report addresses the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103184/
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt, as well as addressing the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306543/