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The "Son of Sam" Case: Legislative Implications

Description: In Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the new York State Crime Victims Board, the U.S. Supreme Court held that New York State's "Son of Sam" law was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and press. This report examines the Supreme Court decision and then considers whether its rationale renders the federal law unconstitutional. Concluding that it likely does, the report considers whether it would be possible to enact a constitutional Son-of-Sam statute. Finally, the report takes note of some state Son-of-Sam statutes that have been enacted since the Supreme Court decision.
Date: November 30, 1998
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

China and "Falun Gong"

Description: “Falun Gong,” also known as “Falun Dafa,”1 combines an exercise regimen with meditation and moral tenets. The “Falun Gong” movement has led to the largest and most protracted public demonstrations in China since the democracy movement of 1989. On April 25, 1999, an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 adherents assembled in front of Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party leadership compound, and participated in a silent protest against state repression of their activities. On July 21, 1999, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, fearful of the spread of social unrest, outlawed the movement and began to arrest Falun Gong protesters.
Date: November 1, 2002
Creator: Lum, Thomas
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Relations: Six Key Questions in the Continuing Policy Debate

Description: This report provides background information and a general overview of the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy. It includes a discussion of some traditional arguments about how international human rights concerns might be integrated with other foreign policy factors. It also includes a discussion of the definition of human rights, of U.S. international obligations to promote human rights, and the apparatus and procedures available to the U.S. Government for implementing human rights policy. Particular attention is paid to congressional actions, not only in debating and holding hearings on human rights issues, but especially in enacting laws to assure that U.S. foreign policy formulation and practice include consideration of the status of human rights in other countries.
Date: December 10, 1981
Creator: Bite, Vita
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bringing Peace to Chechnya?: Assessments and Implications

Description: A consistent theme of U.S. and other international criticism of Russia is that Russian troops use excessive and indiscriminate force to quell separatism in Chechnya and commit serious human rights abuses. There appeared to be fewer Administration suggestions to Russia that it should open peace talks with “moderate” separatists, more tolerance for Russia’s argument that it primarily was battling terrorism in Chechnya, and some hope that elections and rebuilding in Chechnya could contribute to a “political settlement.” But some in the Administration also argue that Russia is showing declining interest in the adoption of Western democratic and human rights “values,” and that such slippage could ultimately harm bilateral relations.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congress and U.S. Policy on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees: Recent Legislation and Implementation

Description: The passage of the reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act in October 2008 reasserted congressional interest in influencing the Bush Administration's policy toward North Korea. In addition to reauthorizing funding at original levels, the bill expresses congressional criticism of the implementation of the original 2004 law and adjusts some of the provisions relating to the Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea and the U.S. resettlement of North Korean refugees. Some outside analysts have pointed to the challenges of highlighting North Korea's human rights violations in the midst of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, as well as the difficulty in effectively reaching North Korean refugees as outlined in the law. Further, the law may complicate coordination on North Korea with China and South Korea.
Date: October 22, 2008
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Amendments: 109th Congress

Description: Enacted in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was designed to enable any person -- individual or corporate, regardless of citizenship -- to request, without explanation or justification, presumptive access to existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records on any topic. The statute specified nine categories of information that may be permissibly exempted from the rule of disclosure. Disputes over the accessibility of requested records could be ultimately settled in court. The statute has become a somewhat popular tool of inquiry and information gathering for various quarters of American society. This report details the history of the Act, as well as relevant legislation and incidences and the efforts to amend the Act.
Date: September 22, 2006
Creator: Relyea, Harold C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Detention of U.S. Citizens

Description: In 1971, Congress passed legislation to repeal the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 and to enact the following language: “No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” The new language, codified at 18 U.S.C. §4001(a), is called the Non-Detention Act. This statutory provision received attention after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the Administration designated certain U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” and claimed the right to detain them indefinitely without charging them, bringing them to trial, or giving them access to counsel. In litigation over Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla, both designated enemy combatants, the Administration has argued that the Non-Detention Act restricts only imprisonments and detentions by the Attorney General, not by the President or military authorities.
Date: April 28, 2005
Creator: Fisher, Louis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Applying the FCC's Indecency Restriction to Cable Television

Description: Various federal officials have spoken in favor of extending the Federal Communication Commission’s indecency restriction, which currently applies to broadcast television and radio, to cable and satellite television. This report examines whether such an extension would violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.
Date: December 1, 2005
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Comparison of California's Financial Information Privacy Act of 2003 with Federal Privacy Provisions

Description: The California Financial Information Privacy Act,1 enacted on August 28, 2003, and effective on July 1, 2004, governs the rights of California residents with respect to the dissemination of nonpublic personal information by financial institutions. In some respects, it diverges from two federal laws that impose restrictions on the dissemination of nonpublic personally identifiable customer information by financial information.
Date: January 6, 2004
Creator: Murphy, M. Maureen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department