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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
State and Local Economic Sanctions: Constitutional Issues
This report discusses the Constitutionality and ongoing legal concerns of sanctions enacted by states and localities restricting their agencies from conducting economic transactions with firms that do business with or in foreign countries whose conduct the jurisdictions find objectionable.
Nondiscrimination in Environmental Regulation: A Legal Analysis
This report will examine the relevant legal authorities that may be asserted to address disproportionate impacts that result from how an agency implements environmental regulations, including the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and various environmental and conservation statutes. It will discuss administrative efforts to address "environmental justice," a term used by some advocates to refer to the distribution of environmental quality across various demographic groups, including the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Plan EJ 2014. It will also analyze the use of these authorities to prevent such impacts and the likelihood of success for future challenges under each legal theory.
Immigration Detainers: Legal Issues
"This report surveys the various authorities governing immigration detainers, including the standard detainer form (Form I-247) sent by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to other law enforcement agencies. The report also discusses key legal issues raised by immigration detainers, including whether Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) detainer regulations and practices are beyond its statutory authority; whether states and localities are required to comply with immigration detainers; who has custody of aliens subject to detainers; and whether detainer practices violate aliens' constitutional rights. In considering these topics, it is important to note that Form I-247 and DHS's detainer practices have changed several times since 2010, and that decisions on the merits have not yet been issued in many cases challenging the use of detainers in conjunction with the Secure Communities program" (p. 6).
Suits Against Terrorist States by Victims of Terrorism
This report provides background on the doctrine of State immunity and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA); details the evolution of the terrorist State exception and some of the resulting judicial decisions; describes legislative efforts to help claimants satisfy their judgments; summarizes the decision in the hostages' suit against Iran and Congress's efforts to intervene; summarizes what has happened with Iraq's assets, and provides an overview of proposed legislation
Federal Pollution Control Laws: How Are They Enforced?
This report focuses on enforcement of federal environmental pollution control requirements under the Clean Air Act (CAA); the Clean Water Act (CWA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); and other statutes for which EPA is the primary federal implementing agency.1 The report provides a brief synopsis of the statutory framework that serves as the basis for pollution control enforcement, including an overview of the key players responsible for correcting violations and maintaining compliance. Implementation and enforcement of pollution control laws are interdependent and carried out by a wide range of actors including federal, state, tribal, and local governments; the regulated entities themselves; the courts; interest groups; and the general public.
Iran Sanctions
This report analyzes U.S. and international sanctions against Iran and, in so doing, provides examples, based on a wide range of open source reporting, of companies and countries that conduct business with Iran. It also discusses the effectiveness of sanctions on Iran.
Suits Against Terrorist States by Victims of Terrorism
This report provides background on the doctrine of State immunity and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA); details the evolution of the terrorist State exception and some of the resulting judicial decisions; describes legislative efforts to help claimants satisfy their judgments; summarizes the decision in the hostages' suit against Iran and Congress's efforts to intervene; summarizes what has happened with Iraq's assets, and provides an overview of proposed legislation.
Department of Defense Facilities Energy Conservation Policies and Spending
This report reviews energy conservation legislation and Executive Orders that apply to the Department of Defense, directives and instructions to the military departments and agencies on implementing the legislation and orders, Defense spending on facility energy over the last decade, annual Defense appropriations that fund energy-conservation improvements, and Defense energy conservation investments.
Offshore Oil and Gas Development: Legal Framework
This report explains the nature of U.S. authority over offshore areas pursuant to international and domestic law. It also describes the laws, at both the state and federal levels, governing the development of offshore oil and gas and the litigation that has flowed from development under these legal regimes. Also included is an outline of recent changes to the authorities regulating offshore development, as well as a discussion of recent executive action and legislative proposals concerning offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report presents policy and oversight issues for Congress arising from maritime territorial disputes involving China in the South China Sea (SCS), East China Sea (ECS), and an additional dispute over whether China has a right under international law to regulate U.S. and other foreign military activities in its maritime Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Supreme Court Accepts Five Environmental Cases During Its 2008-2009 Term
In the Supreme Court's 2008-2009 term, which likely will conclude in late June, 2009, the Court has accepted for argument five environmental cases--an unusually large number out of the roughly 85 cases accepted for argument. The reason for this interest in environmental cases at this particular time is speculative; the Court generally does not explain why it accepts cases. This report reviews the cases, decided and undecided, and then briefly comments.
Federal Authority to Regulate the Compounding of Human Drugs
This report will examine the FDA's regulation of drug compounding and will discuss relevant legal authorities. The report will conclude by discussing potential limits to the FDA's authority to regulate human drug compounding.
Securities Fraud Class Action Certification: Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc.
This report discusses requirements for securities fraud class action certification. The report also specifically examines each of the decisions made in the Halliburton cases, which proceeded through two complete rounds in federal district court, court of appeals, and the Supreme Court.
The Workforce Investment Act and the One-Stop Delivery System
This report focuses on Titles I and II of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), both of which authorize programs to provide job search, education, and training activities for individuals seeking to gain or improve their employment prospects.
Bond v. United States: Validity and Construction of the Federal Chemical Weapons Statute
This report discusses the case of Bond v. United States, and implications in regards to the Necessary and Proper Clause. Carol Anne Bond, upon discovering that her husband had impregnated another woman, repeatedly dusted the woman's mail box, front door knob, and car door handles with a toxic chemical. Mrs. Bond was indicted in federal court and pled guilty to possessing a chemical weapon, but reserved the right to appeal. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected her constitutional challenge. A concurring member of the panel, however, urged the Supreme Court to clarify the nearly century-old pronouncement in Missouri v. Holland.
The Exon-Florio National Security Test for Foreign Investment
This report covers the recent background of the Exon-Florio provision with special regards to issues faced in the 112th Congress. The Exon-Florio provision grants the President the authority to block proposed or pending foreign acquisitions of "persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States" that threaten to impair the national security.
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report presents data estimating since 1986 the number of unauthorized aliens who have been living in the United States. There have been a variety of estimates of the unauthorized resident alien population over this period, sometimes with substantially different results. This report is limited to analyses of the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and of the American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau so that there are basic standards of comparison over time.
U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia
This report examines the U.S. and EU reactions to the crisis in Ukraine, focusing on the EU's hesitation to issue severe sanctions on par with the U.S. prior to the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. The report discusses the EU's new, wider-ranging sanctions in the wake of MH17 and its implications on U.S.-EU relations.
Water Infrastructure Projects Designated in EPA Appropriations: Trends and Policy Implications
This report discusses appropriations for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water infrastructure programs, focusing on congressional special project designations in the account that funds these programs. While some Members of Congress, interest groups, and Administration officials are critical of these types of congressional actions, there is little indication that the practice will cease. Information on the programmatic history of EPA involvement in assisting wastewater treatment and drinking water projects also is provided in two appendixes.
Asylum Policies for Unaccompanied Children Compared with Expedited Removal Policies for Unauthorized Adults: In Brief
This report focuses on unaccompanied alien children as asylum seekers. To bring clarity to the unique policies toward unaccompanied children, this report compares their treatment to that of unauthorized adults and families with children in the specific contexts of asylum and expedited removal.
In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Dismissals of Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)
This report summarizes the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and jurisdiction in cases against foreign defendants and analyzes the recent court of appeals decision.
Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for Disaster Response, Recovery, and Mitigation Projects
This report discusses the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) as it applies to projects for which federal funding to recover from or prepare for a disaster has been requested by local, tribal, or state grant applicants. Specifically, the report provides an overview of the NEPA process as it applies to such projects, identifies the types of projects (categorized by federal funding source) likely to require environmental review, and delineates the types of projects for which no or minimal environmental review is required (i.e., those for which statutory or regulatory exemptions apply) and those likely to require more in-depth review.
Transportation Security: Issues for the 113th Congress
This report discusses aviation security, transit and passenger security, port and maritime security.
Gasoline Prices: Causes of Increases and Congressional Response
This report, after analyzing factors that have contributed to high gasoline prices, describes the major legislative initiatives and discusses the issues involved.
Legislative Options for Financing Water Infrastructure
This report discusses several options being considered by Congress to address the financing needs of local communities for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects, and to decrease or close the gap between available funds and projected needs.
The Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: Contemporary Ratification Issues
This report examines the legislative history of the various proposals that ultimately emerged as the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and both identifies and provides an analysis of contemporary factors that may bear on its present and future viability.
U.S. Sanctions on Burma: Issues for the 113th Congress
This report provides a brief history of U.S. policy towards Burma and the development of U.S. sanctions, a topical summary of those sanctions, and an overview of actions taken to waive or ease those sanctions by the Obama Administration. The report concludes with a discussion of actions taken by the 112th Congress and options for the 113th Congress.
State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues
This report summarizes the Washington and Colorado marijuana legalization laws and evaluates whether, or the extent to which, they may be preempted by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) or by international agreements. It also highlights potential responses to these recent legalization initiatives by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and identifies other noncriminal consequences that marijuana users may face under federal law.
Compulsory DNA Collection: A Fourth Amendment Analysis
This report examines compulsory DNA collection by law enforcement and its implications in regards to 4th amendment protections by examining legal precedents and considering the contemporary scientific understanding of DNA.
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.
Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Review of Fluoridation and Regulation Issues
This report discusses the potential benefits and adverse effects associated with the fluoridation of drinking water supplies. It also discusses the regulation of fluoride in drinking water to protect against adverse health effects from exposure to higher levels of fluoride, and it reviews the status of federal efforts to update the health risk assessment for fluoride and the primary drinking water standard for fluoride.
Administrative Agencies and Claims of Unreasonable Delay: Analysis of Court Treatment
This report discusses judicial remedies available for delayed agency actions that are somewhat limited. Generally, a court is restricted to ordering an agency to act by a specific deadline. The following sections outline the timing requirements imposed by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), discuss the available judicial remedies when actions are found to be unreasonably delayed, and provide an examination of cases where courts have been asked to compel agency action. Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of legislative tools that Congress can use to try to set agency priorities.
Congressional Participation in Article III Courts: Standing to Sue
This report seeks to provide an overview of Congress's ability to participate in litigation before Article III courts. The report is limited to a discussion of Congress's participation in litigation as either a plaintiff (e.g., the party initiating the suit alleging some sort of harm or violation of law) or as a third-party intervener (e.g., a party who is seeking to join litigation already initiated by another plaintiff).
Rising Energy Competition and Energy Security in Northeast Asia: Issues for U.S. Policy
This report analyzes how China, Japan, and South Korea's pursuits to bolster their energy security impacts U.S. interests. It also examines decisions being made by Asian states now that will significantly shape global affairs in the future, how these decisions might play out, and how Congress and the executive branch might play a role in those decisions.
Safe Drinking Water Act: A Summary of the Act and Its Major Requirements
This report summarizes the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its major programs and regulatory requirements. It excerpts, with several additions, the SDWA chapter of CRS Report RL30798, Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statues Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which provides summaries of the principal environmental statutes administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This report includes the drinking water security provisions added to the SDWA by the Public Heath Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
The Fair Labor Standards Act: Continuing Issues in the Debate
This reports details the history of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It focuses on the administration of the act and the interpretation of provisions, which Congress has left to the discretion of the Secretary of Labor. It also considers judicial decisions, which make up a substantial part of wage/hour issues and have an impact upon enforcement of the statute.
Unaccompanied Alien Children: Demographics in Brief
This report discusses children coming to the United States who are not accompanied by parents or legal guardians and who lack proper immigration documents has raised complex and competing sets of humanitarian concerns and immigration control issues. This report focuses on the demographics of unaccompanied alien children while they are in removal proceedings.
Unauthorized Aliens Residing in the United States: Estimates Since 1986
This report presents data estimating since 1986 the number of unauthorized aliens who have been living in the United States.
International Trade and Finance: Key Policy Issues for the 113th Congress, Second Session
This report highlights major international trade and finance issues that the 113th Congress may address. This report presents broader congressional oversight of the economic and political context of the current U.S. participation in the global economy.
The No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation
This report provides an overview of the operation of the government's watchlists, examine some of the legal issues implicated by challenges to the No Fly list, and describe recent case law on the matter.
International Law and Agreements: Their Effect Upon U.S. Law
This report provides an introduction to the roles that international law and agreements play in the United States. International law is derived from two primary sources — international agreements and customary practice.
U.S.-EU Cooperation on Ukraine and Russia
This report discusses the United States, and European Union policies with Russia in response to the crisis in Ukraine.
EPA Regulations: Too Much, Too Little, or On Track?
This report provides background information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory activity during the Obama Administration to help address these issues. It examines major or controversial regulatory actions taken by or under development at EPA since January 2009, providing details on the regulatory action itself, presenting an estimated timeline for completion of the rule (including identification of related court or statutory deadlines), and, in general, providing EPA's estimates of costs and benefits, where available. The report includes tables that show which rules remain under development, and an appendix that describes major or controversial rules that are now final.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act: Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
This report begins with a brief overview of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), its organization into various titles, and the major programs and program requirements specified under each title. It then identifies and describes selected amendments made to the HEA and other laws by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA).
Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific relevant topics.
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.
Search and Seizure Cases in the October 2012 Term of the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court decided four search and seizure cases during its October 2012 term: Florida v. Jardines, Florida v. Harris, Bailey v. United, and Missouri v. McNeely. This report discusses the prior precedents in each case as well as the decision reached by the Court.
An Overview of the "Patent Trolls" Debate
This report reviews the current debate and controversy surrounding "patent assertion entities" (PAEs) and their effect on innovation, examines the reasons for the rise in PAE litigation, and explores the legislative options available to Congress if it decides that these are issues that should be addressed.
International Drug Control Policy
This report provides an overview of U.S. international drug control policy. It describes major international counternarcotics initiatives and evaluates the broad array of U.S. drug control policy tools currently in use. The report also considers alternative counterdrug policy approaches to international drug control initiatives and raises several counterdrug policy issues and considerations for policy makers.
The Constitutionality of Campaign Finance Regulation: Buckley v. Valeo and Its Supreme Court Progeny
This report first discusses the key holdings enunciated by the Supreme Court in Buckley, including those upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court's extension of Buckley in several subsequent cases, evaluating them in various regulatory contexts: contribution limits, expenditure limits, disclosure requirements, and political party soft money and electioneering communication restrictions.