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 Resource Type: Report
 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997: An Overview
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Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
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Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
The Supreme Court has expressed an interest "that Congress be able to legislate against a background of clear interpretive rules, so that it may know the effect of the language it adopts." This report identifies and describes some of the more important rules and conventions of interpretation that the Court applies. Although this report focuses primarily on the Court's methodology in construing statutory text, the Court's approach to reliance on legislative history are also briefly described. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc26119/
Spyware: Background and Policy Issues for Congress
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Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview
This report gives a detailed overview of the military court-martial system, including a discussion of the three types of court-martials: summary, special, and general. It includes a chart showing procedural safeguards in federal and military courts. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc99044/
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview
Recent high profile military-related cases involving U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan, including the deadly attack on Afghan civilians allegedly by a service member, the accidental burning of the Quran, and service members allegedly urinating on Afghan corpses, have resulted in increased public and congressional interest in military discipline and the military justice system. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) authorizes three types of courts-martial: (1) summary court-martial; (2) special court martial; and (3) general court-martial. Depending on the severity of the alleged offense, the accused's commanding officer enjoys great discretion with respect to the type of court-martial to convene. This report discusses the court martial procedure in further detail. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc86578/
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses E-Verify, a program in which participating employers submit information about their new hires (name, date of birth, Social Security number, immigration/citizenship status, and alien number, if applicable) from the I-9 form. This information is automatically compared with information in Social Security Administration and, if necessary, DHS databases to verify identity and employment eligibility. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc700588/
The Endangered Species Act and "Sound Science"
This report provides a context for evaluating legislative proposals through examples of how science has been used in selected cases, a discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process in particular, together with general and agency information quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed agency use of science. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10371/
The Farm Bill: Soil and Water Conservation Issues
This report discusses resource conservation topics, which are a part of the farm bill debate. Debate on existing programs focuses on reauthorization of the Conservation Reserve Program and possible amendments to the reserve, swampbuster, and conservation compliance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs174/
Tax Reform Act of 1986: Public Law 99-514
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Treatment of "Battlefield Detainees" in the War on Terrorism
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Treatment of "Battlefield Detainees" in the War on Terrorism
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Treatment of "Battlefield Detainees" in the War on Terrorism
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WTO Decisions and Their Effect on U.S. Law
Congress has comprehensively dealt with the legal effect of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements and dispute settlement results in the United States in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), P.L. 103-465, which provides that domestic law prevails over conflicting provisions of WTO agreements and prohibits private remedies based on alleged violations of these agreements. As a result, WTO agreements and adopted WTO rulings in conflict with federal law do not have domestic legal effect unless and until Congress or the Executive Branch, as the case may be, takes action to modify or remove the statute, regulation, or regulatory practice at issue. Violative state laws may be withdrawn by the state or, in rare circumstances, invalidated through legal action by the federal government. In addition, the URAA places requirements on federal regulatory action taken to implement WTO decisions and contains provisions specific to the implementation of dispute settlement panel and appellate reports that fault U.S. actions in trade remedy proceedings. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs7955/
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues
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Verizon Communications, Inc. v. Trinko: Telecommunications Consumers Cannot Use Antitrust Laws to Remedy Access Violations of Telecommunications Act
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Pandemic Flu and Medical Biodefense Countermeasure Liability Legislation: P.L. 109-148, Division C (2005)
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Racial Profiling: Legal and Constitutional Issues
Racial profiling is the practice of targeting individuals for police or security detention based on their race or ethnicity in the belief that certain minority groups are more likely to engage in unlawful behavior. Examples of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies suggest that minorities are disproportionately the subject of security-related practices. The issue has periodically attracted congressional interest and several courts have considered the constitutional ramifications of the practice as an "unreasonable search and seizure" under the Fourth Amendment and, more recently, as a denial of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. A variety of federal and state statutes provide potential relief to individuals who claim that their rights are violated by race-based law enforcement practices and policies. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc85441/
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues
Members of the military and U.S. citizens who live abroad are eligible to register and vote absentee in federal elections under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986. The law was enacted to improve absentee registration and voting for this group of voters and to consolidate existing laws. This report summarizes the UOCAVA and details modifications and improvements to the UOCAVA since its inception, as well as related pieces of legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs10560/
The Immigration and Nationality Act: Questions and Answers
The basic United States law governing immigration and naturalization is contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 -- et seq.). This report provides questions and answers to explain the way in which the Immigration and Nationality Act as amended through 1981 regulates the entry of aliens for permanent and temporary residence in the United States, and other major provisions of the law. Emphasis is placed on subjects which have been of particular interest to the Congress in recent years. This supersedes CRS Report No. 81-65 EPW. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs8507/
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517 (Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, or the "Bayh-Dole Act") as well as its provisions and information regarding the implementation of the law. Under this 1980 law, as amended, title to inventions made with government support is provided to the contractor if that contractor is a small business, a university, or other non-profit institution. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc743427/
Capital Punishment: An Overview of Federal Death Penalty Statutes
This report lists the current federal capital offenses and summarizes the procedures for federal civilian death penalty cases. Several laws are relevant to the topic including: P.L. 103-322, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994; the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996; and P.L. 107-197, the Terrorist Bombings Convention Implementation Act of 2002. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824804/
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 109th Congress, which have included problems caused by specific contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and perchlorate, as well as the related issue of the appropriate federal role in providing financial assistance for water infrastructure projects. Congress last reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1996, and although funding authority for most SDWA programs expired in FY2003, broad reauthorization bills have not been proposed, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, and water systems remain busy implementing the 1996 amendments. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824805/
War On Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
This report covers significant legislative and oversight activities of the 108th Congress that concern domestic law enforcement aspects of federal anti-drug policy. It also includes an overview of significant executive branch actions and other current developments of likely interest to the congressional audience that follows this issue. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824754/
Campaign Finance: Issues Before the U.S. Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC
This report provides a summary of the issues presented by 12 groups of appellants in their jurisdictional statements in 2003. Shortly after the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155 (H.R. 2356, 107th Cong.) was enacted in March 2002 (also known as the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation), Senator Mitch McConnell and others filed suit in U.S. District Court for D.C. against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) arguing that provisions of the law are unconstitutional. Ultimately, eleven suits challenging BCRA were brought by more than 80 plaintiffs and consolidated into one lead case, McConnell v. FEC. On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, No. 02-CV-0582 striking down some key provisions of the law as unconstitutional, but on May 19, it issued a stay of its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision. (For information about the decision, see CRS Report RS21511, Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of McConnell v. FEC.) Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court's decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court, which scheduled oral argument for September 8, 2003. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc824548/
Banking and Finance: Legislative Initiatives in the 105th Congress, Second Session
This report reviews major banking and finance issues that are receiving congressional attention in the 2nd session of the 105th Congress. It will be updated periodically to reflect legislative developments. Relevant CRS products are referenced. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metacrs690/
Banking and Finance: Legislative Initiatives in the 105th Congress, Second Session
This report reviews major banking and finance issues that are receiving congressional attention in the 2nd session of the 105th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc820884/
The Endangered Species Act and "Sound Science"
This report provides a context for evaluating legislative proposals through examples of how science has been used in selected cases, a discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process in particular, together with general and agency information quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed agency use of science. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847791/
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
This report discusses key drinking water issues in the 109th Congress, including problems caused by specific contaminants, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and perchlorate, as well as the related issue of the appropriate federal role in providing financial assistance for water infrastructure projects. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc847623/
Campaign Finance Law: The Supreme Court Upholds Key Provisions of BCRA in McConnell v. FEC
This report discusses the Supreme Court's decision in McConnell v. FEC. The court upheld against facial constitutional challenges key portions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), (P.L. 107-155, commonly known as the McCain-Feingold or Shays-Meehan campaign finance reform law). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821572/
The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act: Innovation Issues
This report provides an overview of the the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). It begins by offering a brief overview of the patent system, then identifies and reviews the specific components of this legislation in greater detail. The report closes with further considerations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc276868/
Sugar Program: The Basics
This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287896/
Obstruction of Justice: An Overview of Some of the Federal Statutes That Prohibit Interference with Judicial, Executive, or Legislative Activities
This report discusses obstruction of justice, which is is a federal crime. It describes specific kinds of obstruction, organized by type, and references various relevant laws that have provisions against obstruction. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287910/
Multilateral Development Banks: How the United States Makes and Implements Policy
This report analyzes how the United States makes policy towards the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and identifies ways by which Congress can shape U.S. policy and influence the activities of the banks themselves. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287963/
"Sense of" Resolutions and Provisions
This report discusses the "Sense of" resolutions, which are considered under the normal legislative processes of each chamber applicable to any other legislative vehicle. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc287946/
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations
This report provides: (1) context for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations; (2) analysis of possible trade and investment issues in the negotiations; and (3) discussion of issues for Congress. The U.S.-EU negotiations on TTIP are not public, however, the information and analysis in this report on issues in the negotiations are based on publicly-available information. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc282290/
Body Armor for Law Enforcement Officers: In Brief
This report contains an overview of the Matching Grant Program for Law Enforcement Armor Vests (BPV program). It also provides a discussion of data on law enforcement agencies that require their officers to wear armor vests while on duty, research on why officers may choose to wear armor vests, research on the life cycle for armor vests, data on the use of body armor by law enforcement officers who were killed with a firearm, and research on the effectiveness of armor vests. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306444/
Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: A Sketch
This report examines the source of Congress's contempt power; analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas; and discusses the obstacles that face Congress in enforcing a contempt action against an executive branch official. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306455/
U.S. International Broadcasting: Background and Issues for Reform
This report discusses the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (USIB Act) and the U.S. international broadcasting services were consolidated under the BBG within the United States Information Agency (USIA). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc306503/
Advertising by the Federal Government: An Overview
This report discusses government advertising that can be controversial if it conflicts with citizens' views about the proper role of government. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc332942/
Financial Market Supervision: Canada's Perspective
This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462664/
Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 113th Congress
Immigration reform was an active legislative issue in the first session of the 113th Congress. The Senate passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes provisions on border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, legalization of unauthorized aliens, immigrant visas, nonimmigrant visas, and humanitarian admissions. For its part, the House took a different approach to immigration reform. Rather than considering a single comprehensive bill, the House acted on a set of immigration bills that address border security, interior enforcement, employment eligibility verification and worksite enforcement, and nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. House committees reported or ordered to be reported the following immigration bills: Border Security Results Act of 2013 (H.R. 1417); Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act (H.R. 2278); Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 1772); Agricultural Guestworker (AG) Act (H.R. 1773); and Supplying Knowledge-based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas (SKILLS Visa) Act (H.R. 2131). This report discusses these and other immigration-related issues that received legislative action or have been of significant congressional interest in the 113th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491280/
Piracy: A Legal Definition
This report first examines the historical development of the offense of piracy, as defined by Congress and codified in the United States Code. The focus then turns to how contemporary international agreements define piracy. Finally, the report highlights developments in two trials involving charges of piracy in the federal district court in Norfolk, VA, United States v. Said and United States v. Hasan, specifically focusing on how the courts interpreted the definition of piracy under 18 U.S.C. ยง 1651. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491492/
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. In doing so, it outlines a brief history of U.S. family-based immigration policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491047/
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions taken in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute "air pollutants" as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, said the Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly denied a petition seeking CAA regulation of GHGs from new motor vehicles by saying the agency lacked authority over such emissions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490869/
Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of the three broad types of discretion that the Executive can be seen to have as to immigration: (1) express delegations of discretionary authority; (2) discretion in enforcement (commonly known as prosecutorial or enforcement discretion); and (3) discretion in interpreting and applying statutes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490953/
Brief History of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Efforts in the 109th and 110th Congresses to Inform Policy Discussions in the 113th Congress
This report opens with brief legislative histories of "comprehensive immigration reform" (CIR) in the 109th and 110th Congresses. A comparative overview of key CIR provisions in the three bills that received floor action in the 109th and 110th Congresses follows. In addition to a narrative discussion of how the bills addressed the main provisions of CIR, the report provides a table that presents a comparative summary of the key features of the bills. The report concludes with observations contrasting the 2006-2007 period with the context of today's CIR debate. The report also provides an appendix that summarizes the three major CIR bills. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462339/
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 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461929/
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 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462113/
Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues
This report describes the regulatory framework for permitting the use of unmanned vehicles and the potential rulemaking that will occur over the next few years. It also discusses theories of takings and property torts as they relate to drone flights over or near private property and the privacy interests implicated by drone surveillance conducted by private actors and the potential countervailing First Amendment rights to gather and receive news. Finally, this report explores possible congressional responses to these privacy concerns, discusses how the FAA has approached these concerns, and identifies additional potential legal issues. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462458/