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Access to Government Information In the United States
The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report provides background on the issue of government transparency and examines relevant litigation.
Access to Government Information In the United States
The Constitution of the United States makes no specific allowance for any one of the co-equal branches to have access to information held by the others and contains no provision expressly establishing a procedure for, or a right of, public access to government information. Nonetheless, Congress has legislated various public access laws. These include two records access statutes — the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act — and two meetings access statutes — the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Government in the Sunshine Act. This report provides background on the issue of government transparency and examines relevant litigation.
Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate
No Description Available.
Supreme Court Nominations Not Confirmed, 1789-2004
No Description Available.
Points of Order in the Congressional Budget Process
The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 created a process that Congress uses each year to establish and enforce the parameters for budgetary legislation. This report summarizes points of order under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as amended, as well as related points of order established in the budget resolutions adopted by Congress in 2007 and 2008, the Rules of the House for the 110th Congress, and the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990. In addition, it describes how points of order are applied and the processes used for their waiver in the House and Senate.
Constitutional Constraints on Congress' Ability to Protect the Environment
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.
Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination
This report provides an overview of the major issues which have been raised recently in the Senate regarding the Judicial Nominations, Filibusters, and the Constitution: When a Majority Is Denied Its Right to Consent and in the press concerning the constitutionality of a Senate filibuster (i.e., extended debate) of a judicial nomination.
Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination
This report provides an overview of the major issues which have been raised recently in the Senate regarding the Judicial Nominations, Filibusters, and the Constitution: When a Majority Is Denied Its Right to Consent and in the press concerning the constitutionality of a Senate filibuster (i.e., extended debate) of a judicial nomination.
The Constitutionality of Requiring Photo Identification for Voting: An Analysis of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board
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.
Compliance with the HIPAA Medical Privacy Rule
As of April 14, 2003, most health care providers (including doctors and hospitals) and health plans are required to comply with the new Privacy Rule mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), and must comply with national standards to protect individually identifiable health information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule creates a federal floor of privacy protections for individually identifiable health information; establishes a set of basic consumer protections; institutes a series of regulatory permissions for uses and disclosures of protected health information; permits any person to file an administrative complaint for violations; and authorizes the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.
The Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides for the listing and protection of species that are found to be “endangered” or “threatened” – species that might become extinct. The listing of a species as endangered triggers the prohibitions in the Act against “taking” (killing or harming) individuals of the protected species, unless a permit is obtained to take individuals incidental to an otherwise lawful proposed action, or an exemption for the proposed action is obtained. Unauthorized taking of a listed species can result in civil or criminal penalties. These prohibitions and potential penalties can affect various activities, including development and use of land, with attendant economic impacts.
The Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides for the listing and protection of species that are found to be “endangered” or “threatened” – species that might become extinct. The listing of a species as endangered triggers the prohibitions in the Act against “taking” (killing or harming) individuals of the protected species, unless a permit is obtained to take individuals incidental to an otherwise lawful proposed action, or an exemption for the proposed action is obtained. Unauthorized taking of a listed species can result in civil or criminal penalties. These prohibitions and potential penalties can affect various activities, including development and use of land, with attendant economic impacts.
Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court
There have been inconsistent opinions in the District Court for the District of Columbia as to whether detainees who are suspected of connections to terrorist actions have any enforceable rights to challenge their treatment and detention. This report describes issues surrounding the writ of habeas corpus as it relates to detaining and imprisonment in matters of counterterrorism. This report also includes several legal cases and pieces of legislation in regards to this issue.
Excited Utterances, "Testimonial" Statements, and the Confrontation Clause
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.”
Exporting Software and the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law: Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.
Generally speaking, United States patent law does not have extraterritorial effect. The exception, however, is § 271(f) of the Patent Act, which makes it an act of patent infringement to manufacture within the United States the components of a patented invention and then export those disassembled parts for combination abroad into an end product. This report discusses Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp. (550 U.S. ___ , No. 05-1056, decided April 30, 2007), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that software companies are not liable for patent infringement under § 271(f) when they export software that has been embodied in machine-readable, physical form (a CD-ROM, for example), with the intent that such software be copied abroad for installation onto foreign-manufactured computers.
Guantanamo Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court
This report provides an overview of the Combatant Status Review Tribunal procedures, summarizes court cases related to the detentions and the use of military commissions, and summarizes the Graham Amendment and analyzes how it might affect detainee-related litigation in federal court.
The Liability Exemptions in the Senate Brownfields Bill (S. 350)
No Description Available.
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act Contracts and
No Description Available.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Discipline Legislation in the 106th Congress
No Description Available.
Overview of State Charter School Laws
No Description Available.
Proposed Bankruptcy Legislation to Address Natural Disaster Victims
No Description Available.
"Property Rights" Bills Take a Process Approach: H.R. 992 and H.R. 1534
In the 105th Congress, the property rights agenda has shifted from "compensation" to "process" bills. While the former would ease the standards for when property owners harmed by government action are compensated, the new approach simply streamlines how federal courts handle such claims. This report examines the three leading process bills -- H.R. 992, House-passed H.R. 1534, and Senate-reported H.R. 1534. The bills embody two process approaches: allowing property owners suing the United States to bring invalidation and compensation claims in the same court, and lowering abstention and ripeness barriers when suing local governments in federal court for property rights violations.
Property Rights: Comparison of H.R. 9 as Passed and S. 605 as Reported
No Description Available.
Property Rights: House Judiciary Committee Reports H.R. 2372
No Description Available.
The Property Rights Implementation Act of 1998
No Description Available.
Safe Harbor for Service Providers Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
No Description Available.
Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
This report provides background information on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and discusses U.S. trade negotiating objectives, procedures for congressional-executive notification and consultation, and expedited legislative procedures.
Data Security: Federal Legislative Approaches
This report discusses the core areas addressed in federal legislation, including the scope of coverage (who is covered and what information is covered); data privacy and security safeguards for sensitive personal information; requirements for security breach notification (when, how, triggers, frequency, and exceptions); restrictions on social security numbers (collection, use, and sale); credit freezes on consumer reports; identity theft penalties; causes of action; and preemption.
Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance
This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has, to date, opened cases exclusively in Africa. Cases concerning 25 individuals are open before the Court, pertaining to crimes allegedly committed in six African states: Libya, Kenya, Sudan (Darfur), Uganda (the Lord's Resistance Army, LRA), the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic. This report provides background on current ICC cases and examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa.
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has, to date, opened cases exclusively in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Statute of the ICC, also known as the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002, and established a permanent, independent Court to investigate and bring to justice individuals who commit war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. As of October 2010, 114 countries-including 31 African countries, the largest regional block-were parties to the Statute. The United States is not a party. This report provides background on current ICC cases and examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Schaffer v. Weast
This report discusses the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is the main federal program concerning the education of children with disabilities. It authorizes state and local aid for special education and related services for children with disabilities and contains detailed due process protections for children with disabilities and their parents. On December 3, 2004, President Bush signed “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Improvement Act” (P.L. 108-446), a major reauthorization and revision of IDEA. One issue which was not addressed in the reauthorization was whether the parents or the school bears the burden of proof in special education due process hearings. On November 14, 2005, the Supreme Court resolved a split in the circuits and held that the burden of proof in an administrative hearing challenging a child’s individualized education program is on the party seeking the relief.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Counterproliferation: Legal Issues for Ships and Aircraft
No Description Available.
Homeland Security Act of 2002: Legislative History and Pagination Key
No Description Available.
Air Quality: Impacts of Trip Reduction Programs on States and Affected Employers
This report discusses employer trip reduction (ETR) programs, which would require large employers to implement certain transportation control measures as part of a national effort to combat air pollution, largely as a direct result of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
Sport Hunting in Alaska
No Description Available.
Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization, 1949-2004
No Description Available.
Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization, 1949-2004
No Description Available.
Intelligence Community Reorganization: Potential Effects on DOD Intelligence Agencies
No Description Available.
Intelligence Community Reorganization: Potential Effects on DOD Intelligence Agencies
No Description Available.
Intelligence Community Reorganization: Potential Effects on DOD Intelligence Agencies
No Description Available.
Data Security: Federal Legislative Approaches
This report discusses the core areas addressed in federal legislation, including the scope of coverage (who is covered and what information is covered); data privacy and security safeguards for sensitive personal information; requirements for security breach notification (when, how, triggers, frequency, and exceptions); restrictions on social security numbers (collection, use, and sale); credit freezes on consumer reports; identity theft penalties; causes of action; and preemption.
FBI Intelligence Reform Since September 11, 2001: Issues and Options for Congress
No Description Available.
FBI Intelligence Reform Since September 11, 2001: Issues and Options for Congress
No Description Available.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. This report discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996.
The Position of Director of National Intelligence: Issues for Congress
No Description Available.
The Position of Director of National Intelligence: Issues for Congress
No Description Available.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Interactions with Selected Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)1 and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA)2 are two of the most significant federal statutes relating to education. Although both have the goal of improving education — IDEA for children with disabilities and NCLBA for all children — the two statutes take different approaches. IDEA focuses on the individual child, with an emphasis on developing an individualized education program (IEP) and specific services for children with disabilities, while NCLBA takes a more global view, with an emphasis on closing gaps in achievement test scores and raising the aggregate scores of all demographic groups of pupils to specific levels. The relationship of IDEA and NCLBA has become of increasing significance because of the recent reauthorization of IDEA and guidance and regulations from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on NCLBA issues related to the education of children with disabilities. This report will provide a brief overview of IDEA and NCLBA, a discussion of the intersection of selected provisions of IDEA and NCLBA, and a discussion of ED regulations and guidance regarding IDEA and NCLBA. The report concludes with a discussion of possible issues related to the interaction of IDEA and NCLBA.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Interactions with Selected Provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) are two of the most significant federal statutes relating to education. Although both have the goal of improving education — IDEA for children with disabilities and NCLBA for all children — the two statutes take different approaches. IDEA focuses on the individual child, with an emphasis on developing an individualized education program (IEP) and specific services for children with disabilities, while NCLBA takes a more global view, with an emphasis on closing gaps in achievement test scores and raising the aggregate scores of all demographic groups of pupils to specific levels. The relationship of IDEA and NCLBA has become of increasing significance because of this recent reauthorization of IDEA and guidance and regulations from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on NCLBA issues related to the education of children with disabilities. This report will provide a brief overview of IDEA and NCLBA, a discussion of the intersection of selected provisions of IDEA and NCLBA, and a discussion of ED regulations and guidance regarding IDEA and NCLBA. The report concludes with a discussion of possible issues related to the interaction of IDEA and NCLBA.
Legal Developments in International Civil Aviation
This report provides background on U.S. civil aviation agreements, updates the current status of U.S. “Open Skies” negotiations with the EU, and addresses the status of the legal debate concerning both the foreign ownership and control rules and the cabotage laws.