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U.S.-EU Data Privacy: From Safe Harbor to Privacy Shield

Description: This report provides background on U.S. and European Union (EU) data protection policies and the Safe Harbor Agreement, discusses the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling, and reviews the key elements of the newly-proposed Privacy Shield. It also explores various issues for Congress, including implications for U.S. firms of Safe Harbor's invalidation and the role of the Judicial Redress Act in helping to ameliorate U.S.-EU tensions on data privacy and protection issues.
Date: May 19, 2016
Creator: Weiss, Martin A. & Archick, Kristin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Access to Government Information in the United States: A Primer

Description: This report offers an introduction to the four access laws and provides citations to additional resources related to these statutes. It includes statistics on the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and on litigation related to FOIA. In addition, this report provides some examples of the methods Congress, the President, and the courts have employed to provide or require the provision of information to one another, as well as a list of resources related to transparency, secrecy, access, and nondisclosure.
Date: March 18, 2016
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy & Greene, Michael
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: July 31, 2015
Creator: Doyle, Charles
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: This report provides historical background of the 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 113th Congress, including the overall effectiveness of the Council in addressing human rights situations, implications for U.S. membership, and U.S. financial contributions to the Council.
Date: April 30, 2013
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Terrorism Investigations

Description: This report provides background information on key elements of the FBI terrorism investigative process, based on publicly available information. This report sets forth possible considerations for Congress as it executes its oversight role, including the extent to which intelligence has been integrated into FBI operations to support its counterterrorism mission and the progress the Bureau has made on its intelligence reform initiatives.
Date: April 24, 2013
Creator: Bjelopera, Jerome P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Authority to Regulate Firearms: A Legal Overview

Description: Courts have been confronted with the question of whether federal laws can be applied to intrastate possession and intrastate transfers of firearms, or whether such application exceeds the authority of Congress. This report explores these cases and how courts have analyzed these as-applied challenges under the Supreme Court's Commerce Clause jurisprudence primarily set forth in United States v. Lopez.
Date: April 5, 2013
Creator: Chu, Vivian S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): Background and Policy Options for the 113th Congress

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. The report 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 Congress.
Date: March 8, 2013
Creator: Ginsberg, Wendy
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public Access to Data from Federally Funded Research: Provisions in OMB Circular A-110

Description: The results of scientific studies are used in making many governmental policy decisions. While the studies are often published, the data on which they are based may not be, even for federally funded research. Before 1999, academic and nonprofit performers of such research were permitted but not required to make their data available to the public through provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In October 1998, a provision in P.L. 105-277 changed that, requiring that such data be made publicly available. This report provides background on the 1999 revisions to federal policy, a discussion of the impacts of those changes, and an analysis of the issues raised by them.
Date: March 1, 2013
Creator: Fischer, Eric A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department