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Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
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Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
The Supreme Court has expressed an interest "that Congress be able to legislate against a background of clear interpretive rules, so that it may know the effect of the language it adopts." This report identifies and describes some of the more important rules and conventions of interpretation that the Court applies. Although this report focuses primarily on the Court's methodology in construing statutory text, the Court's approach to reliance on legislative history are also briefly described.
War on Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
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War on Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
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War on Drugs: Legislation in the 108th Congress and Related Developments
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Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report reviews the status of energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation introduced during the 109th Congress. Action in the second session has focused on appropriations bills; the first session focused on omnibus energy policy bill H.R. 6 and several appropriations bills. this report describes several major pieces of legislation, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Transportation Equity Act. For each bill listed in this report, a brief description and a summary of action are given, including references to committee hearings and reports. Also, a selected list of hearings on renewable energy is included.
Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
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Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
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Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
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Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
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Safe Drinking Water Act: Implementation and Issues
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The Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act ("Byrd Amendment")
This report discusses the controversy over the CDSOA in three parts. First, it covers briefly the background of the law, its effects, and the WTO dispute settlement case. Second, it discusses the congressional debate on the pros and cons of repealing the measure. Third, options for Congress are discussed.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues
Members of the military and U.S. citizens who live abroad are eligible to register and vote absentee in federal elections under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986. The law was enacted to improve absentee registration and voting for this group of voters and to consolidate existing laws. This report summarizes the UOCAVA and details modifications and improvements to the UOCAVA since its inception, as well as related pieces of legislation.
Terrorism Risk Insurance: An Overview
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The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues
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The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues
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The Commodity Futures Modernization Act (P.L. 106-554)
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) enacted the most sweeping amendments to derivatives law since the creation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in 1974. Provisions included major changes in the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) regarding the regulation of exchange-traded futures contracts, over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, and “security futures,” contracts based on individual stocks (which were previously prohibited).
Anti-Tax-Shelter and Other Revenue-Raising Tax Proposals Considered in the 108th Congress
Several bills introduced in the 108th Congress included revenue-raising provisions, particularly those aimed at tax shelters that are generally used by corporations. In 2003, anti-sheltering provisions were included in several bills. This report is an overview of the revenue-raising provisions in the original reported versions of H.R. 2896 and S. 1637 and the final anti-sheltering bill as enacted.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act: Background and Issues for the 107th Congress
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Extraterritorial Application of American Criminal Law
Crime is ordinarily proscribed, tried and punished according to the laws on the place where it occurs. American criminal law applies beyond the geographical confines of the United States, however, under some limited circumstances. The federal exceptions to the general rule usually involve crimes like drug trafficking, terrorism, or crimes committed aboard a ship or airplane. State prosecution for overseas misconduct is limited almost exclusively to multijurisdictional crimes, i.e., crimes where some elements of the offense are committed within the state and others are committed abroad. The Constitution, Congress, and state law define the circumstances under which American criminal law may be used against crimes occurring, in whole or in part, outside the United States
Pandemic Flu and Medical Biodefense Countermeasure Liability Legislation: P.L. 109-148, Division C (2005)
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Pandemic Flu Liability Limitation Legislation
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036 and S. 659, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, H.R. 1036, S. 659, S. 1805, S. 1806, 108th Congress: Legal Analysis
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Domestic Federal Law Enforcement Coordination: Through the Lens of the Southwest Border
This report discusses the law enforcement task forces and intelligence information sharing centers. The report focuses on those task forces and information sharing efforts that respond to federal counterdrug and counterterrorism priorities in the Southwest border region.
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
Congressional interest in facilitating U.S. technological innovation led to the passage of P.L. 96-517, Amendments to the Patent and Trademark Act, commonly referred to as the "Bayh-Dole Act" after its two main sponsors former Senators Robert Dole and Birch Bayh. Under this 1980 law, as amended, title to inventions made with government support is provided to the contractor if that contractor is a small business, a university, or other non-profit institution. This report discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517, its provisions, and implementation of the law.
The Bayh-Dole Act: Selected Issues in Patent Policy and the Commercialization of Technology
Report that discusses the rationale behind the passage of P.L. 96-517, its provisions, and implementation of the law.
Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law
This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
Authority of State and Local Police to Enforce Federal Immigration Law
This report discusses the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law through the investigation and arrest of persons believed to have violated such laws. It describes current provisions in federal law that permit state and local police to enforce immigration law directly, analyzes major cases concerning the ability of states and localities to assist in immigration enforcement, and briefly examines opinions on the issue by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice.
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, an Overview
This report gives a detailed overview of the military court-martial system, including a discussion of the three types of court-martials: summary, special, and general. It includes a chart showing procedural safeguards in federal and military courts.
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview
This report gives a detailed overview of the military court-martial system, including a discussion of the three types of court-martials: summary, special, and general. It includes a chart showing procedural safeguards in federal and military courts.
Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview
Recent high profile military-related cases involving U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan, including the deadly attack on Afghan civilians allegedly by a service member, the accidental burning of the Quran, and service members allegedly urinating on Afghan corpses, have resulted in increased public and congressional interest in military discipline and the military justice system. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) authorizes three types of courts-martial: (1) summary court-martial; (2) special court martial; and (3) general court-martial. Depending on the severity of the alleged offense, the accused's commanding officer enjoys great discretion with respect to the type of court-martial to convene. This report discusses the court martial procedure in further detail.
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses E-Verify, a program in which participating employers submit information about their new hires (name, date of birth, Social Security number, immigration/citizenship status, and alien number, if applicable) from the I-9 form. This information is automatically compared with information in Social Security Administration and, if necessary, DHS databases to verify identity and employment eligibility.
The Endangered Species Act and "Sound Science"
This report provides a context for evaluating legislative proposals through examples of how science has been used in selected cases, a discussion of the nature and role of science in general, and its role in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) process in particular, together with general and agency information quality requirements and policies, and a review of how the courts have viewed agency use of science.
Racial Profiling: Legal and Constitutional Issues
Racial profiling is the practice of targeting individuals for police or security detention based on their race or ethnicity in the belief that certain minority groups are more likely to engage in unlawful behavior. Examples of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies suggest that minorities are disproportionately the subject of security-related practices. The issue has periodically attracted congressional interest and several courts have considered the constitutional ramifications of the practice as an "unreasonable search and seizure" under the Fourth Amendment and, more recently, as a denial of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection guarantee. A variety of federal and state statutes provide potential relief to individuals who claim that their rights are violated by race-based law enforcement practices and policies.
Financial Market Supervision: Canada's Perspective
This report presents an overview of Canada's financial system and its supervisory framework and draws some distinctions between that system and the current U.S. framework.
Piracy: A Legal Definition
This report first examines the historical development of the offense of piracy, as defined by Congress and codified in the United States Code. The focus then turns to how contemporary international agreements define piracy. Finally, the report highlights developments in two trials involving charges of piracy in the federal district court in Norfolk, VA, United States v. Said and United States v. Hasan, specifically focusing on how the courts interpreted the definition of piracy under 18 U.S.C. § 1651.
U.S. Family-Based Immigration Policy
This report provides an examination of family-based immigration policy. In doing so, it outlines a brief history of U.S. family-based immigration policies, discusses current law governing admissions, and summarizes recommendations made by previous congressionally mandated committees charged with evaluating immigration policy. It then presents descriptive figures on legal immigrants entering the United States during the past decade and discusses the sizable queue of approved immigrant petitioners waiting for an immigrant visa. It closes by discussing selected policy issues.
Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology
This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions taken in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute "air pollutants" as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, said the Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly denied a petition seeking CAA regulation of GHGs from new motor vehicles by saying the agency lacked authority over such emissions.
Executive Discretion as to Immigration: Legal Overview
This report provides an overview of the three broad types of discretion that the Executive can be seen to have as to immigration: (1) express delegations of discretionary authority; (2) discretion in enforcement (commonly known as prosecutorial or enforcement discretion); and (3) discretion in interpreting and applying statutes.
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance.
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance.
Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues
This report describes the regulatory framework for permitting the use of unmanned vehicles and the potential rulemaking that will occur over the next few years. It also discusses theories of takings and property torts as they relate to drone flights over or near private property and the privacy interests implicated by drone surveillance conducted by private actors and the potential countervailing First Amendment rights to gather and receive news. Finally, this report explores possible congressional responses to these privacy concerns, discusses how the FAA has approached these concerns, and identifies additional potential legal issues.
Bills of Attainder: The Constitutional Implications of Congress Legislating Narrowly
This report discusses congressional bills of attainder, defined by the Supreme Court as "law[s] that legislatively determine guilt and inflict punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial." The report specifically examines the two main criteria courts use to determine whether legislation is a bill of attainder: specificity and punishment.
SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program
This report examines the program's origin and development, including the decision to (1) supplement the original Prior Approval Program with the Preferred Surety Bond Guarantee Program that provides a lower guarantee rate (70%) than the Prior Approval Program (80% or 90%) in exchange for allowing preferred sureties to issue SBA-guaranteed surety bonds without the SBA's prior approval; and (2) increase the program's bond limit.
Sugar Program: The Basics
This report discusses the sugar program that provides a price guarantee to the processors of sugarcane and sugar beets, and in turn, to the producers of both crops.
Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues
This report describes the regulatory framework for permitting the use of unmanned vehicles and the potential rulemaking that will occur over the next few years. It also discusses theories of takings and property torts as they relate to drone flights over or near private property and the privacy interests implicated by drone surveillance conducted by private actors and the potential countervailing First Amendment rights to gather and receive news. Finally, this report explores possible congressional responses to these privacy concerns, discusses how the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approached these concerns, and identifies additional potential legal issues.
Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification
This report discusses the employment verification program that started out as a pilot program in November 1997 and it is currently authorized until September 30, 2015, in accordance with P.L. 112-176.
Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2015
This report shows in tabular form how much the Administration requested and how much Congress appropriated for U.S. payments to the multilateral development banks (MDBs) since 2000. It also provides a brief description of the MDBs and the ways they fund their operations.