Congressional Research Service Reports - 131 Matching Results

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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
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

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
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
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

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
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

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

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

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

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

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

Description: The report discusses state and federal legislative power generally, and focuses on a number of these "federalism" cases. Issues addressed include congressional power under the Commerce Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment; limits on congressional powers, such as the Tenth Amendment; and state sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.
Date: February 1, 2008
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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. 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 7, 2009
Creator: Luckey, John R.
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 Recent Supreme Court Decisions and Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Description: This report 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. A 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 3, 2005
Creator: Luckey, John
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

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