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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty
In December 2007, leaders of the European Union (EU) signed the Lisbon Treaty, which seeks to reform the EU's governing institutions and decisionmaking processes to enable a larger EU to operate more effectively. This new treaty represents the latest stage in a reform process begun in 2002 and essentially replaces the proposed EU "constitution" that foundered after French and Dutch voters rejected it in referendums in 2005. In June 2008, Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty, and have thrown its future into doubt. This report provides background information on EU reform efforts and possible implications for U.S.-EU relations that may be of interest in the second session of the 110th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10595/
The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress
This report looks at how Article V of the Constitution allows Congress to propose amendments, specifically the process of organizing an Article V Convention, a method which has never been used and which is only breifly outlined in the Constitution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96728/
The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress
This report identifies and examines historical issues related to the Article V Convention, which allows amendments to be added to the Constitution via Congressional vote or votes by the people. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96730/
Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
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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/metacrs5394/
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/
Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment
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Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment
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Super-Majority Voting Requirement for Tax Increases: An Overview of Proposals for a Constitutional Amendment
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Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs4050/
Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
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Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
No Description digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs2322/
Federal Tort Reform Legislation: Constitutionality and Summaries of Selected Statutes
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The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress
This report looks at how Article V of the Constitution allows Congress to propose amendments -- specifically the process of organizing an Article V Convention, a method that has never been used and which is only briefly outlined in the Constitution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc284469/
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options
One of the most persistent political issues facing Congress in recent decades 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. This report provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for a balanced budget constitutional amendment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96697/
A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options
One of the most persistent political issues facing Congress in recent decades 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. This report provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for a balanced budget constitutional amendment. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc96696/
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/
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/
Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
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Victims' Rights Amendment in the 106th Congress: Overview of Suggestions to Amend the Constitution
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Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power
This report discusses state and federal legislative power generally and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases. The report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases.1 Issues addressed include congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment; limits on congressional powers, such as the Tenth Amendment; state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment; and grant condition imposed under the Spending Clause. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc227952/
Victims' Rights Amendment: Proposals to Amend the United States Constitution in the 106th Congress
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Afghanistan: Elections, Constitution, and Government
In 2004 and 2005, Afghanistan adopted a permanent constitution and elected a president and a parliament. The parliament is emerging as a significant force in Afghan politics, as shown in debates over a new cabinet and the 2006 budget. See CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8957/
Afghanistan: Elections, Constitution, and Government
In 2004 and 2005, Afghanistan adopted a permanent constitution and elected a president and a parliament. The parliament is emerging as a significant force in Afghan politics, as shown in debate over a new cabinet proposed in March 2006. However, insurgent violence continues to threaten Afghan stability. See CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8958/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments
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/metadc83825/
The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty
This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 112th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103234/
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/
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/
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/
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/
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. The general intent of BCRA, (effective November 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/metacrs6215/
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 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/metacrs2596/
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/
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/
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/metacrs5848/
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/metacrs5849/
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/metacrs5852/
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/metacrs5851/
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/metacrs4387/
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/metacrs4388/
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/metacrs4389/
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/
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/metacrs5850/
Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29614/
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/
Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Many Members of Congress see continued tension between "free speech" decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. 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/metadc29493/
The Constitutionality of Requiring Photo Identification for Voting: An Analysis of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board
In a splintered decision issued in April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana statute requiring identification for voting, determining that lower courts had correctly decided that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support a facial attack on the constitutionality of the law. Written by Justice Stevens, the lead opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board finds that the law imposes only "a limited burden on voters' rights," which is justified by state interests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10744/