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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

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

Date: March 15, 2011
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Description: Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Origination Clause because it provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." The meaning and application of this clause has evolved through practice and precedent since the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a "bill for raising revenue." This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding that constitutes such a bill. Second, this report describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced. Finally, this report looks at the application of the Origination Clause to other types of legislation.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Selected Theories of Constitutional Interpretation

Selected Theories of Constitutional Interpretation

Date: February 15, 2011
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Description: This report examines theories of constitutional interpretation, the role of the judiciary in this interpretation, and constitutional protections for fundamental rights.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty

The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty

Date: February 8, 2011
Creator: Archick, Kristin & Mix, Derek E.
Description: This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 112th Congress.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Military Personnel and Freedom of Religion: Selected Legal Issues

Military Personnel and Freedom of Religion: Selected Legal Issues

Date: February 1, 2011
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck & Brougher, Cynthia
Description: This report provides an overview of the requirements of the First Amendment related to military personnel's religious exercise. It analyzes current constitutional and statutory requirements regarding religious exercise, and provides a framework for how Congress and the courts might consider future issues that arise related to service members' religious exercise. Specifically, the report examines the limitations placed on service members in uniform in the exercise of their religious beliefs. It also examines the role of military chaplains and the legal challenges associated with publicly funding religious personnel. The report analyzes efforts by Congress and the Department of Defense to address the constitutional concerns that are raised by these issues.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

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

Date: January 20, 2011
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
Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview

Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview

Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Description: This report briefly explores the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), which requires imposition of a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment for recidivists convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g). Section 924(e) applies only to those defendants who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses. The report includes descriptions of constitutional challenges to the application of section 924(e), which have been generally unsuccessful.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power

Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power

Date: July 12, 2010
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Description: The lines of authority between states and the federal government are, to a significant extent, defined by the United States Constitution and relevant case law. In recent years, however, the Supreme Court has decided a number of cases that would seem to reevaluate this historical relationship. This report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, focusing on a number of these "federalism" cases.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty

The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty

Date: November 9, 2009
Creator: Archick, Kristin
Description: This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 111th Congress.
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
Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

Date: September 15, 2009
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Description: This report analyzes the constitutional issues associated with standing, specifically related to cases arising under the Establishment Clause. It provides a background on the doctrine of standing, including the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of various types of standing, including standing to sue as a citizen, as a taxpayer, and on behalf of another party.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department