Congressional Research Service Reports - 260 Matching Results

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The "National Security Exception" and the World Trade Organization
This report examines the meaning of the national security exception in Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)--a provision also implicated in a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute between Russia and Ukraine; a blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates; and a few other disputes.
District Court Temporarily Blocks Implementation of Asylum Restrictions on Unlawful Entrants at the Southern Border
This report discusses the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) barring the Trump Administration from implementing new asylum restrictions. The asylum restrictions were prompted by reports of a "migrant caravan" traveling through Mexico to the southern border of the United States.
Who Can Serve as Acting Attorney General
This report discusses the two primary arguments raised to challenge the President's decision to name Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General: first, that the Vacancies Act does not apply because another statute, 28 U.S.C. ยง 508, provides that the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) serves as Acting AG in the event of a vacancy; and second, that the Appointments Clause prohibits Whitaker, a non-Senate-confirmed official, from serving as the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Asylum and Related Protections for Aliens Who Fear Gang and Domestic Violence
This report examines asylum claims with specific focus on gang and domestic violence. It provides background on the topic and also outlines the U.S. Attorney General's decision in "Matter of A-B-," as well as recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in light of that ruling.
What Legal Obligations do Internet Companies Have to Prevent and Respond to a Data Breach?
This report discusses obligations of Internet companies under both federal and state law. It also discusses several factors Congress might consider when weighing future legislation.
The United States and the "World Court"
This report reviews the most recent International Court of Justice (ICJ) proceedings against the United States by Iran and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the implications for Congress of the Trump Administration's withdrawal decision.
Deference and its Discontents: Will the Supreme Court Overrule Chevron?
The Chevron deference is a seminal administrative law doctrine established by the Court's opinion in the 1984 case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. As several members of the Supreme Court are critical of the doctrine, this report discusses the possibility of the Court reconsidering Chevron in the near future.
House Passes Bill to Amend the Federal "Crime of Violence" Definition
This report discusses the Community Safety and Security Act of 2018 (CSSA), which was recently passed in the House and which would amend the federal "crime of violence" (COV) definition.
Do Courts Have Inherent Authority to Release Secret Grand Jury Materials?
This report discusses the issue of releasing secret grand jury material. Although a long-established principle that has been deemed essential to the grand jury's functioning and independence is that matters occurring before it are to be kept secret, the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e) establishes exceptions.
Statutory Canon Aimed at International Organization Immunity
This report discusses the upcoming Supreme Court case Jam v. International Finance Corp. The petitioners--a group of Indian nationals from Gujarat--seek to hold International Finance Corp. (IFC) liable for extensive environmental damage throughout their community caused by the construction of a power plant financed and overseen by IFC. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) dismissed their lawsuit, holding, in accordance with the circuit's precedent, that the International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA) grants absolute immunity to IFC in this case.
EPA Proposes the Affordable Clean Energy Rule to Replace the Clean Power Plan
This report explores the legal basis for the proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule and discusses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) authority to consider various emission reduction options for existing power plants under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
EPA Proposes New Permitting Test for Power Plant Modifications
This report discusses the EPA's proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. As part of the ACE Rule, EPA proposed a new test for determining whether New Source Review (NSR) would apply to a modification of an existing power plant.
Can a Foreign Employee of a Foreign Company be Federally Prosecuted for Foreign Bribery?
This report discusses whether foreign nationals and companies may be federally prosecuted for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations under conspiracy and accomplice liability theories.
3D-Printed Guns: An Overview of Recent Legal Developments
This report addresses the various legal questions that have arisen in recent litigation over 3D-printed guns by providing an overview of the issues and developments that have culminated in the injunction.
Judicial Fact-Finding and Criminal Sentencing: Current Practice and Potential Change
This report provides an overview of criminal sentencing law by briefly describing the use of relevant conduct under the Guidelines and tracing the Supreme Court case law that has informed the practice, before addressing judicial commentary and recently proposed legislation regarding the use of acquitted or uncharged conduct at sentencing.
Supreme Court Nomination: CRS Products
This document provides a list of all the Congressional Research Service reports describing the judicial decisions of Justice Kennedy and Judge Kavanaugh, as well as Supreme Court vacancies and nominations.
Calling Balls and Strikes: Ethics and Supreme Court Justices
This report examines questions related to the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court, and Congress's potential role in regulating the ethics of the Supreme Court Justices. For example: What mechanisms ensure the integrity of Justices as federal officials? Are Justices subject to any rules of ethical conduct? How might such ethics rules be enforced?
When Does Double Prosecution Count as Double Jeopardy?
This report discusses the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause; although the Clause provides that no person shall "be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb," the Supreme Court has made clear that that protection has its limits.
IRS Will No Longer Require Disclosure of Certain Nonprofit Donor Information
This report will first provide background on the statute and regulations regarding tax-exempt organizations' (EOs') disclosure of contributor information. Next, the report will discuss the justifications of and reactions to the new policy, including the views of proponents and opponents of the new policy. The report will then discuss the litigation Montana has filed against the policy. Finally, the report will provide considerations for Congress.
Can the President Pardon Contempt of Court? Probably Yes.
This report provides a brief background of contempt of court, explores the various arguments regarding whether a pardon can relieve an individual of criminal liability for contempt, and discusses potential congressional responses to the perceived abuse of the pardon power.
Abortion, Justice Kennedy, and Judge Kavanaugh
This report addresses the questions that have arisen about the future of the Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence, after the recent retirement of Justice Kennedy, the last remaining justice from the Casey plurality. The report first reviews the undue burden standard set from the Casey decision and discusses Justice Kennedy's views on the standard in the case law that has developed since Casey. Then, in light of President Trump's July 9, 2018 nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy, it examines Judge Kavanaugh's only substantive abortion opinion: a dissent in the 2017 case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit), Garza v. Hargan. Finally, as lower courts continue to apply the undue burden standard to new abortion regulations, the report concludes by noting some of the abortion cases that the Supreme Court could possibly review in the near future.
Oops: When Does a Plain Error in Calculating a Defendant's Sentencing Guidelines Range Warrant Resentencing?
This report discusses the Supreme Court opinion that an appellate court should exercise its discretion to correct an unpreserved error "if the error seriously affects the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings."
Advising the President: Rules Governing Access and Accountability of Presidential Advisors
This Sidebar examines three categories of Presidential advisors and the related ethics requirements and limitations that apply to their respective roles: employees who serve full-time, regular appointments; outside advisors who are formally appointed to temporary roles; and informal, personal advisors with whom the President consults.
Family Separation at the Border and the Ms. L. Litigation
This report explores the underlying policies resulting in family separation, the due process issues arguably implicated by these policies, and the political and judicial processes invoked to tackle the issue of family separation.
Hostage-Taking Statute Covers Kidnapping for Ransom Abroad
This report discusses the U.S. Court of Appeals case United States v. Noel, in which Noel challenged his conviction for seizing an American citizen in Haiti to hold for ransom.
Only Minimal Impact on Commerce Needed for Attempted Bombing
This report discusses the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the United States v. Suarez case, that a minimal impact on commerce is sufficient to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of the federal weapons of mass destruction statute. This decision seems to reflect a growing willingness of federal appellate courts to read broadly Congress's Commerce Clause powers.
The Essential Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh Reader: What Cases Should You Read?
This report highlights many of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh's judicial opinions that have received the greatest degree of attention from legal observers. Judge Kavanaugh, whom President Trump has nominated to fill the impending Supreme Court vacancy caused by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's retirement from the Court, has amassed a voluminous record of judicial writings during his legal career. These writings are certain to be a key topic of interest as the Senate prepares to hold hearings and a possible vote on Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the High Court.
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the Russian Federation: A Sketch
This report provides an overview of mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) in general and a sketch of the terms of the U.S.-Russia MLAT in particular.
Supreme Court Invalidates Public-Sector Union Agency Fees: Considerations for Congress in the Wake of Janus
This report discusses the Supreme Court case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME). In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that "agency fee" arrangements between a union and a government employer necessarily violate the First Amendment, overruling its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
Military Commission Judges Do Not Have Unilateral Power to Punish for Contempt
This report discusses the case of Baker v. Spath, in which Brigadier General (Gen.) John G. Baker, Chief Defense Counsel of the Military Commission System, prevailed in his habeas case against a military commission judge who sentenced him to 21 days' confinement and fined him $1,000 for contempt.
Media Consolidation: United States v. AT&T and Implications for Future Transactions
This report discusses the proposed merger of AT&T, Inc. (AT&T) with Time Warner Inc. (Time Warner), after one of the most closely watched antitrust trials in recent memory. This report first outlines current Section 7 doctrine and then discusses the particularities of the government's case against AT&T and Time Warner and the court's decision to allow the transaction to proceed. Finally, it analyzes the decision's implications for the media industry and future antitrust cases, and identify potential considerations for Congress.
Supreme Court Nomination: CRS Products
This report lists key Congressional Research Service (CRS) products on the judicial decisions of Justice Kennedy and Judge Kavanaugh, as well as information on Supreme Court vacancies and nominations.
President Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh: Initial Observations
This report discusses the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and what his confirmation to the Court would mean. The report includes seven noteworthy opinions written by Judge Kavanaugh while serving on the D.C. Circuit Court.
Who Interprets Foreign Law in U.S. Federal Courts?
This report discusses the interpretation of foreign law, from routine breach of contract and tort claims to complex cases implicating the judicial branch's role in international affairs. In Animal Science Products, Inc. v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., the Supreme Court announced the standard of deference for U.S. federal courts to apply when considering a foreign government's interpretation of its own law.
Questions Remain, Litigation Continues, over Military Service by Transgender Individuals
This report discusses the controversy regarding transgender individuals serving in the military, President Trump's memorandums on the subject, and the four lawsuits challenging the President's memorandums.
The Equal Rights Amendment: Close to Adoption?
This report discusses the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which was first presented to the states in 1972 and has been ratified by 37 states, most recently by Illinois in May 2018.
Partisan Gerrymandering: Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Standing and Maintains Legal Status Quo
This report discusses the Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Gill v. Whitford. On June 18, 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that in order to establish standing to sue upon a claim of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering on the basis of vote dilution, challengers must allege injuries to their interests as voters in individual districts. Topics discussed include Supreme Court precedent, case background, and implications for the future.
When Can You Be Convicted of a Crime That Is Not a Crime?
This report discusses the case United States v. Melgar-Cabrera. A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (Tenth Circuit) recently upheld the murder conviction of the defendant who the court conceded had been "convicted of a crime that is not a crime."
Justice Kennedy Retires: Initial Considerations for Congress
This report discusses the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court. In so doing, this post provides a broad overview of key legal issues Congress (and, more specifically the Senate, through its advice and consent role) may wish to consider as it reflects on Justice Kennedy's jurisprudence and how his eventual successor might shape the future of the Court, Congress, and the nation as a whole.
Organizing Executive Branch Agencies: Who Makes the Call?
This report lays out the applicable legal considerations relevant to analyzing potential executive branch agency reorganizations that have been proposed by the Trump Administration.
UPDATE: Public Sector Union Dues: Grappling with Fixed Stars and Stare Decisis (Part I)
This report discusses the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of "Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council." In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that public-sector agency fee arrangements violate the First Amendment, overruling its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.
Supreme Court Drives Home Its Concern for Privacy in Collins v. Virginia
This report discusses the Collins decision and its potential implications for Fourth Amendment law. Facing a clash between two well-established Fourth Amendment doctrines--the primacy of the home in Fourth Amendment case law versus the "automobile exception" to the Amendment's warrant requirement--the Supreme Court in Collins v. Virginia ultimately came down on the side of protecting privacy within the home and its adjoining property.
UPDATE: Supreme Court Takes Fourth Amendment Case about Cell Phone Location Data
This report provides an update to a June 2017 report on the Carpenter v. United States case on government collection of cell phone location information. On June 22, 2018, the Supreme Court held in a 5-to-4 decision in Carpenter v. United States that government acquisition of historical cell site location information (CSLI) constitutes a Fourth Amendment search. The Court further held that the government needs a warrant supported by probable cause.
An Overview of U.S. Immigration Laws Regulating the Admission and Exclusion of Aliens at the Border
This report discusses U.S. immigration law as it relates to the Trump Administration's zero tolerance policy to criminally prosecute migrants who unlawfully enter the United States at the southern border; a policy which has led to the separation of children from parents awaiting prosecution for unlawful entry.
Military Enjoined from Transferring American ISIS Suspect to Foreign Country--at Least for Now
This report discusses the case of Doe v. Mattis, a case with potential ramifications regarding the authority to conduct military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) upheld 2-1 the district court's injunctions temporarily protecting "John Doe" from forcible transfer to another country from Iraq, where he is currently being held by the U.S. military as a suspected ISIS combatant.
UPDATE: Termination of Temporary Protected Status for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador: Key Takeaways and Analysis
This report is an update to a February 2, 2018 report discussing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations and answering questions regarding the recent termination of TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan. The update discusses the termination of TPS for Nepal and Honduras.
The Rise and Decline of the Alien Tort Statute
This report explains the original purpose of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), restrictions placed on the ATS by the Supreme Court, the effect of the recent case Jesner v. Arab Bank, PLC, and the response from Congress.
Law Enforcement Access to Overseas Data Under the CLOUD Act
This report discusses the CLOUD Act recently passed by Congress which gives the U.S. government's the ability to force companies to disclose information stored on overseas servers that is covered under a warrant and updates the reciprocal agreements with other countries accessing data as a part of criminal investigations that is held in the United States. Legal commentary on the law is provided.
The Travel Ban Case and Nationwide Injunctions
This report addresses when, if ever, a regional federal trial judge adjudicating a case involving the federal government can award nationwide injunctive relief--a court order that commands a party to take or refrain from taking some action throughout the country. In the context of a suit against the federal government, an injunction with this type of "universal" effect acts to effectively void the law or policy in question. This report briefly explores the nationwide injunction at issue in the travel ban case (Trump v. Hawaii) and surveys a handful of the scholarly and judicial arguments surrounding the nationwide injunction in general
Third Circuit Invalidates "De Facto" Life Sentences for "Non-Incorrigible" Juvenile Offenders
This report discusses a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in the case of "United States v. Grant" that prohibits the use of "de facto" life sentences without possibility of parole (created by sentencing juveniles to prison terms longer than the average lifespan or that would end after they reached the typical retirement age) for juvenile offenders who have a reasonable potential for rehabilitation. The report also discusses previous decisions related to this issue and the split among appeals court over the proper application of the Eighth Amendment to juvenile sentencing restrictions.