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Access to Government Information In the United States

Description: 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.
Date: April 23, 2007
Creator: Relyea, Harold C. & Kolakowski, Michael W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Points of Order in the Congressional Budget Process

Description: 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.
Date: June 23, 2008
Creator: Saturno, James V.
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
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination

Description: 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.
Date: December 6, 2004
Creator: Shampansky, Jay R
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutionality of a Senate Filibuster of a Judicial Nomination

Description: 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.
Date: October 3, 2003
Creator: Shampansky, Jay R
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

Compliance with the HIPAA Medical Privacy Rule

Description: 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.
Date: April 24, 2003
Creator: Stevens, Gina Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors

Description: 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.
Date: January 5, 2001
Creator: Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Endangered Species Act: Consideration of Economic Factors

Description: 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.
Date: April 15, 2003
Creator: Baldwin, Pamela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court

Description: 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.
Date: September 26, 2006
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Thomas, Kenneth
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

Exporting Software and the Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Patent Law: Microsoft Corp. v. AT&T Corp.

Description: 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.
Date: May 31, 2007
Creator: Yeh, Brian T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Guantanamo Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court

Description: 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.
Date: December 7, 2005
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K. & Thomas, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

"Property Rights" Bills Take a Process Approach: H.R. 992 and H.R. 1534

Description: 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.
Date: June 24, 1998
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department