Congressional Research Service Reports - 326 Matching Results

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Wireless Privacy and Spam: Issues for Congress
Wireless communications devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are ubiquitous. Some consumers, already deluged with unwanted commercial messages, or “spam,” via computers that access the Internet by traditional wireline connections, are concerned that such unsolicited advertising is expanding to wireless communications, further eroding their privacy. Congress continues to debate how to protect wireless subscribers further, and several bills were considered in the 108th Congress.
The Endangered Species Act and Claims of Property Rights "Takings"
This report first outlines the ESA provisions most relevant to the act’s impacts on private property, and then surveys the major ESA-relevant principles of Fifth Amendment takings law. The report then proceeds to its core topic: the court decisions adjudicating whether government measures based on the ESA effect a taking of property under the Fifth Amendment. The cases address four kinds of ESA measures: (1) restrictions on land uses that might adversely affect species listed as endangered or threatened; (2) reductions in water delivery to preserve lake levels or instream flows needed by listed fish; (3) restrictions on the defensive measures a property owner may take to protect his/her property from listed animals; and (4) restrictions on commercial dealings in members of listed species.
The Endangered Species Act and Claims of Property Rights "Takings": A Summary of the Court Decisions
This report first outlines the ESA provisions most relevant to the act’s impacts on private property, and then surveys the major ESA-relevant principles of Fifth Amendment takings law. The report then proceeds to its core topic: the court decisions adjudicating whether government measures based on the ESA effect a taking of property under the Fifth Amendment. The cases address four kinds of ESA measures: (1) restrictions on land uses that might adversely affect species listed as endangered or threatened; (2) reductions in water delivery to preserve lake levels or instream flows needed by listed fish; (3) restrictions on the defensive measures a property owner may take to protect his/her property from listed animals; and (4) restrictions on commercial dealings in members of listed species.
The Endangered Species Act and Claims of Property Rights "Takings"
This report first outlines the ESA provisions most relevant to the act’s impacts on private property, and then surveys the major ESA-relevant principles of Fifth Amendment takings law. The report then proceeds to its core topic: the court decisions adjudicating whether government measures based on the ESA effect a taking of property under the Fifth Amendment. The cases address four kinds of ESA measures: (1) restrictions on land uses that might adversely affect species listed as endangered or threatened; (2) reductions in water delivery to preserve lake levels or instream flows needed by listed fish; (3) restrictions on the defensive measures a property owner may take to protect his/her property from listed animals; and (4) restrictions on commercial dealings in members of listed species.
Sexual Violence in African Conflicts
This report focuses on conflicts in Africa in which sexual violence is reported to be widespread or systematic. It describes the context in which such violence takes place, selected cases where it is currently occurring, and U.S. policy responses. The report concludes with a discussion of potential policy considerations, including the design and effectiveness of U.S. programs; coordination between agencies and between international donors; and the question of whether policy responses to sexual violence can be separated from the broader context in which such violence occurs. The report includes a detailed case study of DRC, which has drawn particular attention from the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress.
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the gun legislation in the 190th Congress. It presents the views of a contentious debate, with strong advocates for and against the further federal regulation of firearms.
Palestinian Education and the Debate Over Textbooks
No Description Available.
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate over the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. The report provides background information and analysis over the pros and cons of the debate and gun related statistics. It is a contentious debate, with strong advocates for and against the further federal regulation of firearms.
Undisclosed U.S. Detention Sites Overseas: Background and Legal Issues
No Description Available.
Bringing Peace to Chechnya?: Assessments and Implications
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.
Privacy: Key Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
No Description Available.
Privacy: An Abbreviated Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping
No Description Available.
Social Unrest in China
No Description Available.
Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy
Following a review of such broad policy issues, this report treats specific human rights issues of current interest. Discussions of controversy over the selection of an Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs and of human rights policy at the international financial institutions are followed by reviews of U.S. human rights policy toward Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Africa, and the Soviet Union.
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 112th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones and, finally, briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance.
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress
This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications
This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights, major human rights issues, PRC human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iraq, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action.
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iran, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action.
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress
This report reviews and discusses President Obama's Open Government Initiative and the Open Government Directive. The report then analyzes both agency response to the OGI and the OGD, and examines whether the OGD's requirements can meet the stated goals of the Administration. The report discusses the three central tenets of the Administration's OGD--transparency, public participation, and collaboration--and analyzes each one individually to determine whether agencies are meeting these requirements and whether the requirements may improve the effectiveness of the federal government.
Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause
This report analyzes the constitutional issues associated with standing, specifically related to cases arising under the Establishment Clause. It provides a background on the doctrine of standing, including the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of various types of standing, including standing to sue as a citizen, as a taxpayer, and on behalf of another party.
Analysis of Selected Legislative Proposals Addressing Guantanamo Detainees
This report discusses the approaches that selected legislative proposals take regarding Guantanamo detainees.
Analysis of Selected Legislative Proposals Addressing Guantanamo Detainees
This report discusses the approaches that selected legislative proposals take regarding Guantanamo detainees.
Free Exercise of Religion by Secular Organizations and Their Owners: Implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
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.
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background
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.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented. The report concludes by discussing Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
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."
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
This report provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, including the findings of an Independent Study Group (ISG) with respect to the increased sharing of satellite intelligence data. There follows a discussion of legal considerations, including whether satellite reconnaissance might constitute a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; an overview of statutory authorities, as well as restrictions that might apply; and a brief description of executive branch authorities and Department of Defense directives that might apply. The report concludes by suggesting policy issues Congress may consider as it deliberates the potential advantages and pitfalls that may be encountered in expanding the role of satellite intelligence for homeland security purposes.
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.
Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights
Iraq's political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions has been accomplished through a series of elections that began in 2005. However, disputes regarding various communities' claims on power and economic resources has contributed to popular frustration and continued political unrest. This report discusses these issues.
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
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.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment - of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection to obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes "advocacy of the use of force or of law violation ... where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues
This report discusses issues for Congress in regards to the potential reform of the nation's immigration system. The detention of noncitizens in the United States will likely be an issue. Under the law, there is broad authority to detain aliens while awaiting a determination of whether the noncitizen should be removed from the United States.
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
This report provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, including the findings of an Independent Study Group (ISG) with respect to the increased sharing of satellite intelligence data.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
This report provides a background to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012, the Authorization to use Military Force act, and the President's power to detain "enemy combatants." It then gives a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals and an overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to national security. It concludes by discussion Congress's role in prescribing rules for wartime detention as well as legislative proposals in the 112th Congress to address the detention of U.S. persons.
China, Internet Freedom, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Congressional interest in how Internet use in the People's Republic of China (PRC) is tied to human rights concerns in several ways: as a U.S. policy tool for promoting rights in China; though use of the Internet political dissidents and political repression; the role of U.S. Internet companies in spreading freedom and complying with PRC censorship; and the development of U.S. Internet freedom policies globally.
Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause
This report analyzes the constitutional issues associated with standing (a restraint on the power of federal courts to render decisions), specifically related to cases arising under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment regarding religion. It provides a background on the doctrine of standing, including the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of various types of standing: standing to sue as a citizen, as a taxpayer, and on behalf of another party. It also examines the current standing rules related to the Establishment Clause.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented.
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues
As Congress considers addressing some of the problems in the nation's immigration system, the detention of noncitizens in the United States may be an issue as Congress may choose to reevaluate detention priorities (i.e., who should be detained) and resources. There are many policy issues surrounding detention of aliens. The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) increased the number of aliens subject to mandatory detention, and raised concerns about the justness of mandatory detention, especially as it is applied to asylum seekers arriving without proper documentation. Additionally, as DHS increases its ability to identify aliens who are subject to removal from local jails in more remote locations, the nationwide allocation of detention space may become an issue.
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
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. It also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
The detainee provisions passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 affirm that the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizes the detention of persons captured in connection with hostilities. This report provides a background to the legal issues presented, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals. An overview of U.S. practice during wartime to detain persons deemed dangerous to the national security is presented.
Closing the Guantanamo Detention Center: Legal Issues
This report provides an overview of major legal issues that are likely to arise as a result of executive and legislative action to close the Guantanamo detention facility. It discusses legal issues related to the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees, the continued detention of such persons in the United States, and the possible removal of persons brought to the United States. It considers selected constitutional issues that may arise in the criminal prosecution of detainees. Issues discussed include detainees’ right to a speedy trial, the prohibition against prosecution under ex post facto laws, and limitations upon the admissibility of hearsay and secret evidence in criminal cases.
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
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. It also discusses notable circuit court opinions addressing issues of ongoing relevance.
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
This report discusses federal laws governing consumer financial information held by financial companies, Gramm-Leach-Bliley's privacy provisions, and public and industry reaction.
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background
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.
Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides an overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt and U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. The United States has provided significant military and economic assistance to Egypt since the late 1970s. U.S. policymakers are now debating complex questions about the future of U.S.-Egypt relations, and these debates and events in Egypt are shaping consideration of appropriations and authorization legislation in the 114th Congress.
The U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens
No Description Available.
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse of the Legal Background and Recent Amendments
No Description Available.
National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: Legal Background and Recent Amendments
No Description Available.