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The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides historical background of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including the role of the previous Commission. It discusses the Council's current mandate and structure, as well as U.S. policy and congressional actions. Finally, it highlights possible policy issues for the 112th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Date: February 4, 2014
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background, Legislation, and Policy Issues

Description: This report provides background on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), discusses the categories of records FOIA exempts from public release, and analyzes statistics on FOIA administration. It also provides background on several legal and policy issues related to FOIA, including the release of controversial records, the growth in use of certain FOIA exemptions, and the adoption of new technologies to improve FOIA administration. The report concludes with an examination of potential FOIA-related policy options for the 113th Congress.
Date: January 23, 2014
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

No Second Amendment Cases for the Supreme Court's 2014-2015 Term...Yet

Description: This report discusses the reluctance by the Supreme Court to take cases involving the Second Amendment. Commentators have observed that the Court appears to have become "gun shy" regarding this issue, given that it has not taken up a Second Amendment case since its landmark rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. City of Chicago in 2010.
Date: October 23, 2014
Creator: Chu, Vivian S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Ebola Outbreak: Quarantine and Isolation Authority

Description: This legal sidebar discusses recent quarantine policies announced by several states, including New York and New Jersey, for travelers arriving from areas affected by the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, which have raised legal and constitutional questions about federal and state authority to order quarantine and isolation measures.
Date: October 28, 2014
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background

Description: This report discusses the USA PATRIOT Act (107-56) and its expanded authority to issue national security letters (NSLs). A report by the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG) found that in its pre-amendment use of expanded USA PATRIOT Act authority the FBI had "used NSLs in violation of applicable NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies," but that no criminal laws had been broken.
Date: January 3, 2014
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Description: This report examines the constitutional and statutory protections related to free exercise of religion, including current Supreme Court interpretations, as well as judicial and legislative avoidance of defining the parameters of religious belief. It also discusses significant examples of existing religious exemptions in current law, such as employment nondiscrimination, health care, and public accommodations law. Finally, it analyzes recent federal judicial decisions that have considered the religious freedom rights of commercial entities whose owners have religious objections to the contraceptive coverage requirement.
Date: March 21, 2014
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings

Description: This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The report addresses all Supreme Court decisions concerning enemy combatants and also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance.
Date: April 21, 2014
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Garcia, Michael John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents

Description: This report analyzes the existing law and authority to detain U.S. persons, including American citizens and resident aliens, as well as other persons within the United States who are suspected of being members, agents, or associates of Al Qaeda or possibly other terrorist organizations as "enemy combatants."
Date: January 23, 2014
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. It briefly provides a political history of modern Egypt, an overview of its political institutions, and a discussion of the prospects for democratization in Egypt, as well as addressing the following current topics: the Arab-Israeli peace process, Iraq, terrorism, democratization and reform, human rights, trade, and military cooperation.
Date: June 5, 2014
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department