Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse


Federalism, State Sovereignty, and the Constitution: Basis and Limits of Congressional Power

Description: This report discusses state and federal legislative power generally and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases. The report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases.1 Issues addressed include congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment; limits on congressional powers, such as the Tenth Amendment; state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment; and grant condition imposed under the Spending Clause.
Date: September 23, 2013
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options

Description: One of the most persistent political issues facing Congress in recent decades is whether to require that the budget of the United States be in balance. Although a balanced federal budget has long been held as a political ideal, the accumulation of large deficits in recent years has heightened concern that some action to require a balance between revenues and expenditures may be necessary. This report provides an overview of the issues and options that have been raised during prior consideration of proposals for a balanced budget constitutional amendment.
Date: July 8, 2011
Creator: Saturno, James V. & Lynch, Megan Suzanne
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. 924(e)): An Overview

Description: This report briefly explores the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e), which requires imposition of a minimum 15-year term of imprisonment for recidivists convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g). Section 924(e) applies only to those defendants who have three prior state or federal convictions for violent felonies or serious drug offenses. The report includes descriptions of constitutional challenges to the application of section 924(e), which have been generally unsuccessful.
Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Doyle, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Description: This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the flag protection issue, from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 through current consideration of a constitutional amendment. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichman, that struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.
Date: January 20, 2011
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Military Personnel and Freedom of Religion: Selected Legal Issues

Description: This report provides an overview of the requirements of the First Amendment related to military personnel's religious exercise. It analyzes current constitutional and statutory requirements regarding religious exercise, and provides a framework for how Congress and the courts might consider future issues that arise related to service members' religious exercise. Specifically, the report examines the limitations placed on service members in uniform in the exercise of their religious beliefs. It also examines the role of military chaplains and the legal challenges associated with publicly funding religious personnel. The report analyzes efforts by Congress and the Department of Defense to address the constitutional concerns that are raised by these issues.
Date: February 1, 2011
Creator: Mason, R. Chuck & Brougher, Cynthia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Legal Standing Under the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

Description: 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.
Date: April 5, 2011
Creator: Brougher, Cynthia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Presidential Signing Statements: Constitutional and Institutional Implications

Description: Presidential signing statements are official pronouncements issued by the President contemporaneously to the signing of a bill into law that, in addition to commenting on the law generally, have been used to forward the President's interpretation of the statutory language; to assert constitutional objections to the provisions contained therein; and, concordantly, to announce that the provisions of the law will be administered in a manner that comports with the administration's conception of the President's constitutional prerogatives. This report focuses on the use of signing statements by recent administrations, with particular emphasis on the Administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Date: January 4, 2012
Creator: Garvey, Todd
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department