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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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress

Description: This report offers perspectives for Congress on the Article V Convention, opening with an overview of the provisions in Article V that established the convention procedure. The report further examines its origins at the Constitutional Convention of 1787; the history of the convention alternative, focusing on three major 20th century campaigns to convene a constitutional convention; and the role of the states in the Article V Convention process.
Date: October 22, 2012
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Article V Convention to Propose Constitutional Amendments: Contemporary Issues for Congress

Description: Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two ways to amend the nation's fundamental charter. Congress, by a two-thirds vote of both houses, may propose amendments to the states for ratification, a procedure that has been used for all 27 current amendments. This report identifies a range of policy questions Congress might face if an Article V Convention seemed imminent.
Date: March 29, 2016
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Item Type: Report
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 20, 2011
Creator: Saturno, James V. & Lynch, Megan Suzanne
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The European Union's Reform Process: The Lisbon Treaty

Description: This report provides information on the Lisbon Treaty and possible U.S.-EU implications that may be of interest to the 112th Congress.
Date: February 8, 2011
Creator: Archick, Kristin & Mix, Derek E.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: The lines of authority between states and the federal government are, to a significant extent, defined by the United States Constitution and relevant case law. In recent years, however, the Supreme Court has decided a number of cases that would seem to reevaluate this historical relationship. This report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, focusing on a number of these "federalism" cases.
Date: July 12, 2010
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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.
Item Type: Report
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.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Description: 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.
Date: September 8, 2014
Creator: Ruane, Kathleen Ann
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

Description: Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Origination Clause because it provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." The meaning and application of this clause has evolved through practice and precedent since the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a "bill for raising revenue." This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding that constitutes such a bill. Second, this report describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced. Finally, this report looks at the application of the Origination Clause to other types of legislation.
Date: March 15, 2011
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Item Type: Report
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
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Selected Theories of Constitutional Interpretation

Description: This report examines theories of constitutional interpretation, the role of the judiciary in this interpretation, and constitutional protections for fundamental rights.
Date: February 15, 2011
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department