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Congress's Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure
This report examines the source of the contempt power, reviews the historical development of the early case law, outlines the statutory and common law basis for Congress's contempt power, and analyzes the procedures associated with inherent contempt, criminal contempt, and the civil enforcement of subpoenas. The report also includes a detailed discussion of two recent information-access disputes that led to the approval of contempt citations in the House against then-White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder. Finally, the report discusses both non-constitutional and constitutionally-based limitations on the contempt power.
"Digital Rights" and Fair Use in Copyright Law
This report examines judicial case law which has considered the doctrine of fair use in relation to the First Amendment, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and as a means of protecting private, noncommercial use of digital music and film by consumers. It concludes that when the potential to infringe is great, as it almost always will be in a digital environment, the courts have not been willing to expand fair use to encompass subsidiary uses such as time shifting, space shifting, or personal noncommercial use.
Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name
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.
Electricity Restructuring and the Constitutionality of Retail Reciprocity Requirements
Retail reciprocity requirements have been included in the electricity restructuring legislation of at least four states. These requirements mandate generally that out-of-state utilities which operate in a state “closed” to retail competition cannot market power to retail consumers in the “open” state. Because state reciprocity requirements enacted without congressional authorization are probably unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress would have to include a reciprocity provision in federal electricity restructuring legislation if it wants to support the view that such a provision will increase competition. This report reviews the treatment of state reciprocity requirements by the U.S. Supreme Court and discusses Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause.
Energy and Water Development: FY2014 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
State and Local "Sanctuary" Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement
This report discusses legal issues related to state and local measures that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. It includes legal background and select limitations on immigration enforcement including traditional "sanctuary" policies, declining to honor immigration detainers, shielding juveniles from federal detection, and modifying criminal sentences to avoid immigration consequences.
Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures
This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). As a general rule, government agencies contract with the lowest qualified responsible bidder or offeror. Responsibility is an attribute of the contractor, while price and qualifications are attributes of the bid or offer. Under the FAR, "[n]o purchase or award shall be made unless the contracting officer makes an affirmative determination of responsibility."
A Primer on the Reviewability of Agency Delay and Enforcement Discretion
This report discusses the general legal principles applied in determining whether administrative delays are reviewable in court in these two different contexts and then address whether the procedures outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) are applicable to these delays.
Offices of Inspectors General and Law Enforcement Authority: In Brief
This report identifies the laws and regulations that vest certain offices of inspector general (OIGs) with law enforcement authority, which permits the use of guns and ammunition. This report also describes some of the requirements and expectations of OIGs that have law enforcement authority, and includes some reasons that OIGs have expressed a need for law enforcement authority.
Conducting Foreign Relations Without Authority: The Logan Act
This report discusses the Logan Act, which was intended to prohibit United States citizens without authority from interfering in relations between the United States and foreign governments.
Energy and Water Development: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
Energy and Water Development: FY2010 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
Money Laundering: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1956 and Related Federal Criminal Law
This is an overview of the elements of federal criminal money laundering statutes and the sanctions imposed for their violation.
Energy and Water Development: FY2014 Appropriations
This report discusses the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), for the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), the Department of Energy (DOE), and several independent agencies.
The Federal Arbitration Act: Background and Recent Developments
Enacted in 1925, the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) seeks to ensure the validity and enforcement of arbitration agreements in any “maritime transaction or a contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce.” This report provides a brief legislative history of the FAA, as well as a review of selected cases that have interpreted the FAA. The report also discusses bills introduced during the 107th Congress that would amend the FAA for various purposes. Of the nine measures that have been introduced, five bills would amend the FAA to address arbitration and employment disputes. The remaining bills address arbitration in motor vehicle franchise contracts and arbitration and consumer credit contracts.
Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures
This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It discusses (1) how responsibility determinations relate to other mechanisms that the government relies upon to ensure that contractors are responsible and otherwise eligible for federal contracts; (2) the performance-related and collateral standards used in making responsibility determinations; (3) the procedures for making responsibility determinations; and (4) recently enacted or proposed amendments to the standards or procedures for responsibility determinations.
State and Local "Sanctuary" Policies Limiting Participation in Immigration Enforcement
This report discusses legal issues related to state and local measures that limit law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The report begins by providing a brief overview of the constitutional principles informing the relationship between federal immigration authorities and state and local jurisdictions, including the federal government's power to preempt state and local activities under the Supremacy Clause, and the Tenth Amendment's proscription against Congress directly "commandeering" the states to administer a federally enacted regulatory scheme.
Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Enforcement: Legal Issues
This report begins by discussing the sources of federal power to regulate immigration and, particularly, the allocation of power between Congress and the President in this area. It next addresses the constitutional and other foundations for the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion, as well as the potential ways in which prosecutorial discretion may be exercised in the immigration context. It concludes by addressing potential constitutional, statutory, and administrative constraints upon the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
Central American Asylum Seekers: Impact of 1996 Immigration Law
This report discuses issues related to the significant portion of the Central Americans affected by the IIRIRA revisions still have asylum cases pending and may obtain legal permanent residence by that avenue if they demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution. The Attorney General also has the discretionary authority to grant blanket relief from deportation, but the discretionary forms of relief do not entail legal permanent residence. There is considerable interest in this issue in the 105th Congress, and the Senate passed by a vote of 99 to 1 an amendment to provide relief for certain Central Americans to the D.C. appropriations bill (S.1156).
Uniform Standards in Private Securities Litigation: Limitations on Shareholder Lawsuits
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Money Laundering: An Abridged Overview of 18 U.S.C. 1956 and Related Federal Criminal Law
Money laundering is a federal crime, commonly understood as the process of cleansing the taint from the proceeds of crime. This report describes in detail the various aspects of money laundering in regards to federal criminal law.
Internet Gambling: An Abridged Overview of Federal Criminal Law
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Internet Gambling: Overview of Federal Criminal Law
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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues
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Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends
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9/11 Commission: Current Legislative Proposals for U.S. Immigration Law and Policy
This report briefly discusses some of the major immigration areas under consideration in comprehensive reform proposals suggested by the 9/11 Commission, including asylum, biometric tracking systems, border security, document security, exclusion, immigration enforcement, and visa issuances. It refers to other CRS reports that discuss these issues in depth and will be updated as needed.
9/11 Commission: Current Legislative Proposals for U.S. Immigration Law and Policy
This report briefly discusses some of the major immigration areas under consideration in comprehensive reform proposals suggested by the 9/11 Commission, including asylum, biometric tracking systems, border security, document security, exclusion, immigration enforcement, and visa issuances. It refers to other CRS reports that discuss these issues in depth and will be updated as needed.
The U.N. Law of the Sea Convention and the United States: Developments Since October 2003
On October 31, 2007, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to recommend Senate advice and consent to U.S. adherence to the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Agreement Relating to Implementation of Part XI of that Convention. This followed the statement by President Bush on May 15, 2007, urging “the Senate to act favorably on U.S. accession” to the Convention. CRS Issue Brief IB95010, The Law of the Sea Convention and U.S. Policy, serves as a basic CRS source for discussion of issues related to the United States and the Convention and Agreement, whereas this report focuses on events and issues that emerged since October 2003. It summarizes the committee’s proposed resolution of advice and consent in 2004 and presents some of the issues raised in support of and in opposition to U.S. adherence.
The Budget Enforcement Act of 1997
President Clinton signed two reconciliation acts into law in August 1997 as part of a plan to balance the budget by FY2002. To ensure compliance with this goal, enforcement procedures were included in one of the acts in a title referred to separately as the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA) of 1997. The BEA of 1997 extends procedures under the Budget Enforcement Act (BEA) of 1990 through FY2002
General Overview of United States Antitrust Law
This Report briefly summarizes (1) the primary United States antitrust statutes, and (2) some of the activities which are generally considered to be violations of those laws. There is also some reference to the prohibition against unfair competition and the “unfairness” jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The laws discussed do not constitute all of the statutes which may be applicable to, or implicated in antitrust issues, but rather, are those which are most often utilized.
General Overview of United States Antitrust Law
This report presents brief summaries of (1) the primary United States antitrust statutes, and (2) some of the activities which are generally considered to be violations of those laws. There is also some reference to the prohibition against unfair competition and the "unfairness" jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). There is not, however, any discussion of the extraterritorial reach of the United States antitrust laws. Further, the laws whose descriptions follow do not constitute all of the statutes which are applicable to antitrust issues, but rather, constitute those which are most often utilized.
Insurance Coverage of the World Trade Center: Interpretation of "War Risk" Exclusion Causes Under New York Contract Law
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Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages
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Federal Crime Control: Background, Legislation, and Issues
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Telecommunications Act: Competition, Innovation, and Reform
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Abortion Procedures
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1997, H.R. 1122 was vetoed by President Clinton on October 10, 1997. This legislation would have made it a federal crime, punishable by fine and/or incarceration, for a physician to perform a partial birth abortion unless it was necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury. The partial-birth abortion legislation has stimulated a great deal of controversy. This report provides a brief overview of the abortion methods currently in use for which data have been published and some positions on the partial birth abortion legislation.