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Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities

Description: Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegates, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegates with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to "nonfederal entities." For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges.
Date: May 20, 2008
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Constitutionality of Requiring Photo Identification for Voting: An Analysis of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

Description: In a splintered decision issued in April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana statute requiring identification for voting, determining that lower courts had correctly decided that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support a facial attack on the constitutionality of the law. Written by Justice Stevens, the lead opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board finds that the law imposes only "a limited burden on voters' rights," which is justified by state interests.
Date: May 19, 2008
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty

Description: In December 2007, leaders of the European Union (EU) signed the Lisbon Treaty, which seeks to reform the EU's governing institutions and decisionmaking processes to enable a larger EU to operate more effectively. This new treaty represents the latest stage in a reform process begun in 2002 and essentially replaces the proposed EU "constitution" that foundered after French and Dutch voters rejected it in referendums in 2005. In June 2008, Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty, and have thrown its future into doubt. This report provides background information on EU reform efforts and possible implications for U.S.-EU relations that may be of interest in the second session of the 110th Congress.
Date: July 3, 2008
Creator: Archick, Kristin
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: Many Members of Congress see continued tension between "free speech" decisions of the Supreme Court, which protect flag desecration as expressive conduct under the First Amendment, and the symbolic importance of the United States flag. Consequently, every Congress that has convened since those decisions were issued has considered proposals that would permit punishment of those who engage in flag desecration. 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 of punishing expressive conduct.
Date: June 28, 2006
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flag Protection: A Brief History and Summary of Recent 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: June 28, 2006
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Farm Product "Check-Off" Programs: A Constitutional Analysis

Description: This report begins with a brief introduction to check-off programs and then describes many of the First Amendment principles that have been discussed in checkoff cases. Next is an analysis of the first two challenges that reached the Supreme Court, as well as a brief discussion of subsequent lower court decisions. This report concludes with a discussion of Johanns v. Livestock Marketing Association and its possible implications for check-off programs.
Date: June 21, 2005
Creator: Vina, Stephen R
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name

Description: It is unclear whether making a “.xxx” domain mandatory would violate the First Amendment. Some propose making use of a “.xxx” domain voluntary, but others propose that Congress make it mandatory. The latter proposal raises the question whether a mandatory separate domain would violate the First Amendment, and this report focuses on that question.
Date: January 3, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of Proposals to Prohibit the Sale or Rental to Minors of Video Games with Violent or Sexual Content or "Strong Language"

Description: It has been proposed that Congress prohibit the sale or rental to minors of video games that are rated “M” (mature) or “AO” (adults-only) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. This board is a non-governmental entity established by the Interactive Digital Software Association, and its ratings currently have no legal effect.
Date: January 18, 2006
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Conventions: Political and Legal Questions

Description: This report discusses the applications that have been passed by 32 of the necessary 34 State legislatures to convene a convention to propose an amendment prohibiting abortion. Because this process for amending the Constitution has never been used, several unresolved legal and policy questions arise governing the convening and the authority of such a convention.
Date: July 8, 1985
Creator: Huckabee, David C. & McCoy, Meredith
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan: Elections, Constitution, and Government

Description: In 2004 and 2005, Afghanistan adopted a permanent constitution and elected a president and a parliament. The parliament is emerging as a significant force in Afghan politics, as shown in debate over a new cabinet proposed in March 2006. However, insurgent violence continues to threaten Afghan stability. See CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman.
Date: May 1, 2006
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan: Elections, Constitution, and Government

Description: In 2004 and 2005, Afghanistan adopted a permanent constitution and elected a president and a parliament. The parliament is emerging as a significant force in Afghan politics, as shown in debates over a new cabinet and the 2006 budget. See CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman.
Date: May 25, 2006
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Balanced Budget and Spending Limitations: Proposed Constitutional Amendments in the 97th Congress

Description: Expenditures and revenue limitation proposals link Federal spending and taxation to some measure of economic performance, such as the rate of economic growth or percentage levels of GNP or national income. The report presents this issue brief reviews, the various approaches to balance the budget and to impose spending limitations offered as constitutional amendments’ in the 97 congress.
Date: April 3, 1981
Creator: Schick, Allen & Strickland, Daniel P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Eighteen Year Old Vote: The Twenty-sixth Amendment and Subsequent Voting Rates of Newly Enfranchised Age Groups

Description: This report traces the progress of proposals to expand the right to vote to citizens between the ages of 18 and 21, culminating in the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1971. It also reviews the voting rates of the newly enfranchised age group and compares them to voting rates of other age groups.
Date: May 20, 1983
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Charitable Choice: Legal and Constitutional Issues

Description: This report provides analysis of a number of factual, civil rights, and constitutional questions that have been raised regarding charitable choice in general. The analysis is generally focused on those provisions enacted as part of the 1996 welfare reform law. More recent charitable choice rules may give rise to the same or similar concerns. Primarily, this report focuses on civil rights concerns that have arisen in the context of charitable choice and First Amendment issues, as well as recent legal developments related to charitable choice.
Date: January 27, 2006
Creator: Welborn, Angie A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Excited Utterances, "Testimonial" Statements, and the Confrontation Clause

Description: The United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument this term in appeals from two state supreme court cases, Hammon v. Indiana and Davis v. Washington, concerning the admissibility of “excited utterance” statements made by non-testifying witnesses at criminal trials. In the landmark Crawford v. Washington case in 2004, the Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause forbids hearsay “testimonial” evidence from being introduced against the accused unless the witness is unavailable to testify and the defendant has had a prior opportunity to crossexamine the witness. However, the Crawford Court declined to provide a comprehensive definition of “testimonial,” leaving such task “for another day.”
Date: December 14, 2005
Creator: Yeh, Brian T
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department