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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Balanced Budget and Spending Limitations: Proposed Constitutional Amendments in the 97th Congress
Expenditures and revenue limitation proposals link Federal spending and taxation to some measure of economic performance, such as the rate of economic growth or percentage levels of GNP or national income. The report presents this issue brief reviews, the various approaches to balance the budget and to impose spending limitations offered as constitutional amendments’ in the 97 congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8820/
Legal Analysis of President Reagan's Proposed Constitutional Amendment on School Prayer
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The Eighteen Year Old Vote: The Twenty-sixth Amendment and Subsequent Voting Rates of Newly Enfranchised Age Groups
This report traces the progress of proposals to expand the right to vote to citizens between the ages of 18 and 21, culminating in the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1971. It also reviews the voting rates of the newly enfranchised age group and compares them to voting rates of other age groups. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8805/
Constitutional Conventions: Political and Legal Questions
This report discusses the applications that have been passed by 32 of the necessary 34 State legislatures to convene a convention to propose an amendment prohibiting abortion. Because this process for amending the Constitution has never been used, several unresolved legal and policy questions arise governing the convening and the authority of such a convention. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs9057/
Selected Bicentennial Celebrations Commemorating the 200th Anniversaries of the U.S. Constitution and of the U.S. Congress
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Legislative Prayer and School Prayer: The Constitutional Difference
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Legislative Prayer and School Prayer: The Constitutional Difference
The Supreme Court's decisions holding government-sponsored prayer in the public schools to violate the First Amendment's establishment clause but prayer in legislative assemblies to be constitutional are sometimes lifted up as contradictory. This report summarizes the relevant decisions and identifies the distinctions the Court has drawn between the two situations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26057/
Federal Gun Control Laws: The Second Amendment and Other Constitutional Issues
This report examines the historical, legal, and constitutional arguments for and against an individual right to bear firearms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Those who favor federal gun control laws tend to assert that the Second Amendment has been correctly interpreted by the courts to confer only a collective right, which may be exercised through state militias. Those who oppose gun control laws tend to assert that the Second Amendment should be interpreted to grant an individual right to bear arms for lawful purposes, subject to appropriately minimal restrictions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26076/
The Brady Handgun Control Act: Constitutional Issues
The Brady Handgun Control Act established a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, during which local law enforcement can make reasonable efforts to conduct background checks in available records and block and sales to convicted felons and other disqualified persons. This report reviews the background of federal gun control legislation, analyzes the conflict in the courts over the constitutionality under the Tenth Amendment of the duties placed on local law enforcement, and considers the implications of the decisions for Brady Act enforcement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26060/
The Assault Weapons Ban: Review of Federal Laws Controlling Possessions of Certain Firearms
This report reviews the 1994 assault weapons ban, which is effective for ten years on 19 types of semiautomatic assault weapons. The Act builds upon a 60-year history of federal regulation of firearms. The report also summarizes the pre-1994 federal gun control laws, analyzes the major cases relating to constitutional and statutory challenges to these laws, and reviews judicial and legislative developments since enactment of the ban. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26068/
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options
One of the most persistent political issues facing Congress in recent years is whether to require that the budget of the United States be in balance. Although a balanced federal budget has long been held as a political ideal, the accumulation of large deficits in recent years has heightened concern that some action to require a balance between revenues and expenditures may be necessary. The debate over a balanced budget measure actually consists of several interrelated debates, which this report addresses. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs392/
Ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
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Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible
Several courts in the various circuits have considered whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination applies to fear of incrimination in foreign countries, and they have come to divergent conclusions. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. Balsys, and on June 25, 1998, decided that a witness may not invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in which only a foreign prosecution is possible. This report provides background on United States v. Balsys and examines the court's opinion. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821091/
Constitution of the United States; Recent Writings: Bibliography-in-Brief
This bibliography contains recent publications discussing the history, development, and application of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821598/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1153/
Victims' Rights Amendment: Proposals to Amend the United States Constitution in the 106th Congress
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Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
"Soft money" has become one of the major issues in the area of campaign financing in federal elections. The controversy surrounding this issue is due to the perception that soft money may be the largest loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Soft money is broadly defined as funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws; that would be impermissible, under the FECA, to spend directly in federal elections and that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs6363/
Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment
Federal protection of the environment must hew to the same constitutional strictures as any other federal actions. In the past decade, however, the Supreme Court has invigorated several of these strictures in ways that present new challenges to congressional drafters of environmental statutes. This report reviews six of these newly emergent constitutional areas, with special attention to their significance for current and future environmental legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1186/
The Americans with Disabilities Act: Eleventh Amendment Issues
This report provides a brief overview of the Eleventh Amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1147/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
As in the 105th Congress, many of the 106th Congress bills focus on political party soft money--subjecting contributions, expenditures, or transfers of national political parties to the limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the FECA. Other bills would restrict corporate and labor union soft money. Another major reform proposal would subject certain types of advocacy communications to FECA regulation, either fully or just insofar as disclosure requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1154/
Victims' Rights Amendment in the 106th Congress: Overview of Suggestions to Amend the Constitution
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Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the protection of the flag issue from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 until the present consideration of an amendment to the Constitution in the 106th Congress. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichmann, which struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1459/
Election Projections: First Amendment Issues
Media projections may be based both on exit polls and on information acquired as to actual ballot counts. The First Amendment would generally preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from interviewing voters after they exit the polls. It apparently would also preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from reporting the results of those polls. Congress, could, however, ban voter solicitation within a certain distance from a polling place, and might be able to include exit polling within such a ban. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1637/
Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements
Campaign finance reform legislation often contains provisions that would impose additional reporting and disclosure requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). For example, S. 27 (McCain/Feingold), would require disclosure of disbursements of expenditures over $10,000 for “electioneering communications,” which are defined to include broadcast ads that “refer” to federal office candidates, with identification of donors of $500 or more. S. 22 (Hagel/Landrieu) would increase and expedite current disclosure requirements under FECA. H.R. 380 (Shays/Meehan) would lower the current FECA threshold for contribution reporting from $200 to $50 and impose reporting requirements for soft money disbursements by persons other than political parties. This report will discuss some of the constitutional issues relating to these and other such disclosure requirements. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1640/
Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power
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Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment
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Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1461/
Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
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Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1627/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs1453/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2592/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because such funds are generally unregulated and perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). More specifically, soft money is considered to be funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2593/
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement
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The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement
This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding bills under Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution (known as the Origination Clause). It also describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced and looks at the application of the Clause to other types of legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824600/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press....” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2241/
Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
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Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment
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A Tax Limitation Constitutional Amendment: Issues and Options Concerning a Super-Majority Requirement
Proposals to limit the federal government’s authority to raise taxes have been made several times in recent years. Most frequently, these proposals call for limits on Congress’s ability to pass revenue measures. Typically, limitation proposals would allow increases in tax revenues only under one of two circumstances. First, tax revenues could increase under existing tax laws as a result of economic upturns. Alternatively, they could increase because of a new law, but only if it were passed by a super-majority (typically two-thirds or three-fifths). Questions about how such proposals might be applied in practice have not been clearly answered. Congress has previously considered such proposals in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. In each case the proposal has failed to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary for passage. Most recently, the House considered H.J.Res. 96 on June 12, 2002. The measure failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds, 227-178. This report will be updated to reflect any further legislative actions on such proposals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3422/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2594/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2595/
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. 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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2242/
Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2322/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2596/
Federalism, State Sovereignty and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power
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Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment
This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs3930/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because such funds are generally unregulated and perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). More specifically, soft money is considered to be funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4385/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4386/
Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4049/
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money
Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4387/
Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs5393/
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