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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options

Date: March 20, 1997
Creator: Saturno, James V
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Date: September 30, 1997
Creator: Huckabee, David C
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible

Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible

Date: July 16, 1998
Creator: Wallace, Paul S., Jr.
Description: 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.
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Constitution of the United States; Recent Writings: Bibliography-in-Brief

Constitution of the United States; Recent Writings: Bibliography-in-Brief

Date: August 12, 1998
Creator: Roe, Tangela G.
Description: This bibliography contains recent publications discussing the history, development, and application of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
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Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: February 4, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: 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.
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Victims' Rights Amendment: Proposals to Amend the United States Constitution in the 106th Congress

Victims' Rights Amendment: Proposals to Amend the United States Constitution in the 106th Congress

Date: May 12, 2000
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: August 10, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: "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.
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Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Date: September 8, 2000
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Description: 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.
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The Americans with Disabilities Act: Eleventh Amendment Issues

The Americans with Disabilities Act: Eleventh Amendment Issues

Date: October 25, 2000
Creator: Jones, Nancy Lee
Description: This report provides a brief overview of the Eleventh Amendment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: December 11, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: 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.
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Victims' Rights Amendment in the 106th Congress: Overview of Suggestions to Amend the Constitution

Victims' Rights Amendment in the 106th Congress: Overview of Suggestions to Amend the Constitution

Date: January 12, 2001
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Date: January 22, 2001
Creator: Luckey, John R
Description: 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.
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Election Projections: First Amendment Issues

Election Projections: First Amendment Issues

Date: January 23, 2001
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: 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.
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Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements

Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements

Date: March 20, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: 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.
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Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power

Federalism and the Constitution: Limits on Congressional Power

Date: March 21, 2001
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment

Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment

Date: April 24, 2001
Creator: Shampansky, Jay R
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Date: July 18, 2001
Creator: Luckey, John R
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends

Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends

Date: August 3, 2001
Creator: Costello, George
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: September 28, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: 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.
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: November 5, 2001
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: January 25, 2002
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: March 14, 2002
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

Date: May 6, 2002
Creator: Saturno, James V
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

Date: May 10, 2002
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Description: 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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department