Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse

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Freedom of Information Act Amendments: 109th Congress
This report discusses the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which was designed to enable any person — individual or corporate, regardless of citizenship — to request, without explanation or justification, presumptive access to existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records on any topic.
Detention of American Citizens as Enemy Combatants
This report provides background information regarding the cases of two U.S. citizens deemed “enemy combatants,” Yaser Esam Hamdi, who has been returned to Saudi Arabia, and Jose Padilla, who remains in military custody. A brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals is offered, followed by brief analyses of the main legal precedents invoked to support the President’s actions, as well as Ex parte Milligan, which some argue supports the opposite conclusion. The report concludes that historically, even during declared wars, additional statutory authority has been seen as necessary to validate the detention of citizens not members of any armed forces, casting in some doubt the argument that the power to detain persons arrested in a context other than actual hostilities is necessarily implied by an authorization to use force.
Medical Records Privacy: Questions and Answers on the HIPAA Rule
This report discuses the HIPAA privacy rule, which gives patients the right of access to their medical information and prohibits health plans and health care providers from using or disclosing individually identifiable health information without a patient’s written authorization except as expressly permitted or required by the rule.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Treatment of "Battlefield Detainees" in the War on Terrorism
No Description Available.
9/11 Commission Recommendations: A Civil Liberties Oversight Board
This report discusses the recommendation made by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) regarding the creation of a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to guidelines on, and the commitment to defend, civil liberties by the federal government.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Wireless Privacy and Spam: Issues for Congress
Wireless communications devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) are ubiquitous. Some consumers, already deluged with unwanted commercial messages, or “spam,” via computers that access the Internet by traditional wireline connections, are concerned that such unsolicited advertising is expanding to wireless communications, further eroding their privacy. Congress continues to debate how to protect wireless subscribers further, and several bills were considered in the 108th Congress.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description Available.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Privacy: Key Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
No Description Available.
9/11 Commission Recommendations: A Civil Liberties Oversight Board
Among the recommendations made by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) in its final report is the creation of a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to guidelines on, and the commitment to defend, civil liberties by the federal government. This report examines this recommendation and its implications, and will be updated as events warrant.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description Available.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Recent Developments and Pending Issues
No Description Available.
Privacy Protection: Mandating New Arrangements to Implement and Assess Federal Privacy Policy and Practice
No Description Available.
Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues
No Description Available.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Recent Developments and Pending Issues
No Description Available.
Detention of American Citizens as Enemy Combatants
This report provides background information regarding the cases of two U.S. citizens deemed “enemy combatants,” Yaser Esam Hamdi, who has been returned to Saudi Arabia, and Jose Padilla, who remains in military custody. The report addresses the constitutional and statutory sources that arguably provide authority for the detention of enemy combatants, as well as those that may prevent the exercise of that power with respect to U.S. citizens. The report concludes that historically, even during declared wars, additional statutory authority has been seen as necessary to validate the detention of citizens not members of any armed forces, casting in some doubt the argument that the power to detain is necessarily implied by an authorization to use force. Finally, the report briefly analyzes the Detention of Enemy Combatants Act, H.R. 1029, which would authorize the President to detain U.S. citizens and residents who are determined to be “enemy combatants” in certain circumstances.
The U.N. Convention Against Torture: Overview of U.S. Implementation Policy Concerning the Removal of Aliens
No Description Available.
Medical Records Privacy: Questions and Answers on the HIPAA Final Rule
This report discusses the issue facing Congress on whether to continue to support the executive branch’s prosecution of medical marijuana patients and their providers, in accordance with marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, or whether to relax federal marijuana prohibition enough to permit the medical use of botanical cannabis products by seriously ill persons, especially in states that have created medical marijuana programs under state law.
Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Recent Developments and Pending Issues
No Description Available.
China and "Falun Gong"
This report discusses the “Falun Gong” movement, which led to the largest and most protracted public demonstrations in China since the democracy movement of 1989. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, fearful of a political challenge and the spread of social unrest, outlawed Falun Gong in July 1999. Despite a massive government campaign against them and harsh punishments meted out to many followers, Falun Gong members continued to stage demonstrations for over two years.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment — of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Comparison of California's Financial Information Privacy Act of 2003 with Federal Privacy Provisions
The California Financial Information Privacy Act,1 enacted on August 28, 2003, and effective on July 1, 2004, governs the rights of California residents with respect to the dissemination of nonpublic personal information by financial institutions. In some respects, it diverges from two federal laws that impose restrictions on the dissemination of nonpublic personally identifiable customer information by financial information.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment: Buckley v. Valeo and its Supreme Court Progeny
This report first discusses the critical holdings enunciated bythe SupremeCourt in Buckley, including those: upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court’s extension of Buckley in fifteen subsequent cases, evaluating them in three regulatory contexts: contribution limits (California Medical Association v. FEC; Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley; Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC; FEC v. Beaumont), expenditure limits (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti; FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life; Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce; FEC v. National Right to Work; Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado I) v. FEC; FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado II); FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee), and disclosure requirements (Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation; Brown v. Socialist Workers ‘74 Campaign Committee; FEC v. Akins; McIntrye v. Ohio Elections Commission).
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment – of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment: Buckley v. Valeo and its Supreme Court Progeny
This report first discusses the critical holdings enunciated bythe SupremeCourt in Buckley, including those: upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court’s extension of Buckley in fifteen subsequent cases, evaluating them in three regulatory contexts: contribution limits (California Medical Association v. FEC; Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley; Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC; FEC v. Beaumont), expenditure limits (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti; FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life; Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce; FEC v. National Right to Work; Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado I) v. FEC; FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado II); FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee), and disclosure requirements (Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation; Brown v. Socialist Workers ‘74 Campaign Committee; FEC v. Akins; McIntrye v. Ohio Elections Commission).
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
No Description Available.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment — of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Recent Developments and Pending Issues
No Description Available.
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
No Description Available.
Medical Records Privacy: Questions and Answers on the HIPAA Final Rule
This report discusses the issue facing Congress on whether to continue to support the executive branch’s prosecution of medical marijuana patients and their providers, in accordance with marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, or whether to relax federal marijuana prohibition enough to permit the medical use of botanical cannabis products by seriously ill persons, especially in states that have created medical marijuana programs under state law.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. . . .” This language restricts government both more and less than it would if it were applied literally. It restricts government more in that it applies not only to Congress, but to all branches of the federal government, and to all branches of state and local government. It restricts government less in that it provides no protection to some types of speech and only limited protection to others. This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment — of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech.
Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Recent Developments and Pending Issues
No Description Available.
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
No Description Available.
A Brief Summary of the HIPAA Medical Privacy Rule
This report provides a brief overview of the modified HIPAA Privacy rule, “Standards for the Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information” (“privacy rule”) published on August 14, 2002 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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.
Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation
No Description Available.
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
No Description Available.
Obscenity, Child Pornography, and Indecency: Recent Developments and Pending Issues
No Description Available.
Privacy: Total Information Awareness Programs and Related Information Access, Collection, and Protection Laws
No Description Available.
The Endangered Species Act and Claims of Property Rights "Takings": A Summary of the Court Decisions
This report first outlines the ESA provisions most relevant to the act’s impacts on private property, and then surveys the major ESA-relevant principles of Fifth Amendment takings law. The report then proceeds to its core topic: the court decisions adjudicating whether government measures based on the ESA effect a taking of property under the Fifth Amendment. The cases address four kinds of ESA measures: (1) restrictions on land uses that might adversely affect species listed as endangered or threatened; (2) reductions in water delivery to preserve lake levels or instream flows needed by listed fish; (3) restrictions on the defensive measures a property owner may take to protect his/her property from listed animals; and (4) restrictions on commercial dealings in members of listed species.
Privacy Protection for Customer Financial Information
No Description Available.
A Brief Summary of the Medical Privacy Rule
This report provides a brief overview of the modified medical privacy rule, “Standards for the Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information”(“privacy rule”) published on August 14, 2002 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The privacy regulation creates a new federal floor of privacy protections while leaving in place more protective state rules or practices. The rule establishes a set of basic consumer protections and a series of regulatory permissions for uses and disclosures of protected health information.