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A Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment: Background and Congressional Options

Description: One of the most persistent political issues facing Congress in recent years 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. The debate over a balanced budget measure actually consists of several interrelated debates, which this report addresses.
Date: March 20, 1997
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fifth Amendment Privilege Against SelfIncrimination May Not Be Extended in Cases Where Only a Foreign Prosecution Is Possible

Description: Several courts in the various circuits have considered whether the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination applies to fear of incrimination in foreign countries, and they have come to divergent conclusions. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in United States v. Balsys, and on June 25, 1998, decided that a witness may not invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in which only a foreign prosecution is possible. This report provides background on United States v. Balsys and examines the court's opinion.
Date: July 16, 1998
Creator: Wallace, Paul S., Jr.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: February 4, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: "Soft money" has become one of the major issues in the area of campaign financing in federal elections. The controversy surrounding this issue is due to the perception that soft money may be the largest loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Soft money is broadly defined as funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws; that would be impermissible, under the FECA, to spend directly in federal elections and that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: August 10, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment

Description: Federal protection of the environment must hew to the same constitutional strictures as any other federal actions. In the past decade, however, the Supreme Court has invigorated several of these strictures in ways that present new challenges to congressional drafters of environmental statutes. This report reviews six of these newly emergent constitutional areas, with special attention to their significance for current and future environmental legislation.
Date: September 8, 2000
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: As in the 105th Congress, many of the 106th Congress bills focus on political party soft money--subjecting contributions, expenditures, or transfers of national political parties to the limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements of the FECA. Other bills would restrict corporate and labor union soft money. Another major reform proposal would subject certain types of advocacy communications to FECA regulation, either fully or just insofar as disclosure requirements.
Date: December 11, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This report is divided into two parts. The first gives a brief history of the protection of the flag issue from the enactment of the Flag Protection Act in 1968 until the present consideration of an amendment to the Constitution in the 106th Congress. The second part briefly summarizes the two decisions of the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. Johnson and United States v. Eichmann, which struck down the state and federal flag protection statutes as applied in the context punishing expressive conduct.
Date: January 22, 2001
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Election Projections: First Amendment Issues

Description: Media projections may be based both on exit polls and on information acquired as to actual ballot counts. The First Amendment would generally preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from interviewing voters after they exit the polls. It apparently would also preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from reporting the results of those polls. Congress, could, however, ban voter solicitation within a certain distance from a polling place, and might be able to include exit polling within such a ban.
Date: January 23, 2001
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements

Description: Campaign finance reform legislation often contains provisions that would impose additional reporting and disclosure requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). For example, S. 27 (McCain/Feingold), would require disclosure of disbursements of expenditures over $10,000 for “electioneering communications,” which are defined to include broadcast ads that “refer” to federal office candidates, with identification of donors of $500 or more. S. 22 (Hagel/Landrieu) would increase and expedite current disclosure requirements under FECA. H.R. 380 (Shays/Meehan) would lower the current FECA threshold for contribution reporting from $200 to $50 and impose reporting requirements for soft money disbursements by persons other than political parties. This report will discuss some of the constitutional issues relating to these and other such disclosure requirements.
Date: March 20, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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: July 18, 2001
Creator: Luckey, John R.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: September 28, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Description: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. 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: November 5, 2001
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because these generally unregulated funds are perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Generally, soft money is funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: January 25, 2002
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Description: Soft money is a major issue in the campaign finance reform debate because such funds are generally unregulated and perceived as resulting from a loophole in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). More specifically, soft money is considered to be funds that are raised and spent according to applicable state laws, which FECA prohibits from being spent directly on federal elections, but that may have an indirect influence on federal elections. This Issue Brief discusses three major types of soft money: political party soft money, corporate and labor union soft money, and soft money used for issue advocacy communications.
Date: March 14, 2002
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

Description: This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding bills under Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution (known as the Origination Clause). It also describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced and looks at the application of the Clause to other types of legislation.
Date: May 10, 2002
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Item Type: Report
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department