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The Federal Government's Plenary Immigration Power Collides with the Constitutional Right to an Abortion (Part 1)
This report is the first in a two-part series discussing "Garza v. Hargan", a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving a detained unaccompanied alien minor and the right to terminate a pregnancy. The facts of the case and a discussion of the court's decision and whether the Health and Human Services Department policy regarding abortions unduly burdens a woman's right to an abortion is discussed.
The Federal Government's Plenary Immigration Power Collides with the Constitutional Right to an Abortion (Part 2)
This report is the secondt in a two-part series discussing "Garza v. Hargan", a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit involving a detained unaccompanied alien minor and the right to terminate a pregnancy. Debate among judges regarding the right of an unaccompanied alien minor to have an abortion when the minor was detained at the border and technically never formally entered the United States are discussed.
FDA Human Medical Product User Fee Programs: In Brief
This report discusses FDA human medical product user fees for prescription drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilars which are charged to companies producing the products and make up a large portion of the FDA's revenues. User fees are authorized in legislation on a five-year cycle, with authority for their actual collection and expenditure provided each year through the annual appropriations process. Appendix A outlines various features of the user fee programs.
Post-Heller Second Amendment Jurisprudence
This report examines the scope of the Second Amendment, as interpreted by the federal circuit courts of appeals, after the watershed Supreme Court decisions in "District of Columbia v. Heller" and "McDonald v. City of Chicago". After "Heller" and "McDonald", numerous challenges were brought on Second Amendment grounds to various federal, state, and local firearm laws and regulations. Because Heller neither purported to define the full scope of the Second Amendment, nor suggested a standard of review for evaluating Second Amendment claims, the lower federal courts have been tasked with doing so in the Second Amendment challenges brought before them. This report discusses in detail notable post-Heller Second Amendment cases decided by federal courts of appeals. Because "Heller" and "McDonald" provide the only recent Supreme Court guidance on the Second Amendment, the analyses in these cases may provide useful guideposts for Congress should it seek to enact further firearm regulations.
Joint Employment and the Save Local Business Act
This report discusses the proposed "Save Local Business Act" in the House and its provisions and implications for employers and employees in businesses where unions exist. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) broadening of the definition of what constituted a joint employer in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries of California led to resist by some in the business community and the "Save Local Business Act" seeks to restore the former more narrow definition of joint employers.
In Any Way, Shape, or Form? What Qualifies as "Any Court" Under the Gun Control Act?
This report discusses the requirements under the Gun Control Act of 1968 that prohibit persons convicted of felony crimes and misdemeanor domestic violence from buying or possessing firearms and what courts are covered under the phrase "any court' in the legislation.
The Latest Chapter in Insider Trading Law: Major Circuit Decision Expands Scope of Liability for Trading on a "Tip"
This report discusses a recent court decision regarding insider trading laws and the liability of someone who acts on a tip that consists of inside information that they should have known was obtained or shared illegally. Background on the case, relevant case law, and implications of the decision are discussed.
A Primer on U.S. Immigration Policy
This report provides a broad overview of U.S. immigration policy. The first section addresses policies governing how foreign nationals enter the United States either to reside permanently or to stay temporarily. Related topics within this section include visa issuance and security, forms of quasi-legal status, and naturalization. The second section discusses enforcement policies both for excluding foreign nationals from admission into the United States, as well as for detaining and removing those who enter the country unlawfully or who enter lawfully but subsequently commit crimes that make them deportable. The section also covers worksite enforcement and immigration fraud. The third section addresses policies for unauthorized aliens residing in the United States.
EPA Proposes to Repeal the Clean Power Plan
This report discuses the EPA proposal in October 2017 to repeal the "Clean Power Plan" due to their determination after review of the rule that it exceeded their statutory authority to implement it. Steps in the process of repealing the rule, the outcome of the current court case regarding the rule, and possible replacement rules regarding Carbon dioxide emissions and power plants.
Two-Sided Credit Card Markets: The Supreme Court Takes Up Novel Antitrust Issue
This report discusses the case of "Ohio v. American Express" which the Supreme Court has accepted for hearing which poses the question of how federal antitrust law should treat two-sided markets which are platforms in which two distinct user groups operate in an interdependent way. The case challenges anti-steering clauses in American Express contract agreements with merchants that prevent the merchants from promoting the use of other credit cards. The case has the potential to change the way vendors accept card payments across the country--but the case also provides the Supreme Court with the opportunity to guide the lower courts that are increasingly confronting antitrust issues concerning two-sided markets. As a result, the American Express case raises several issues for Congress that could implicate its legislative and oversight roles with respect to the financial services industry and, more generally, the regulation of two-sided markets.
A Second Amendment Right to Sell Firearms? The Ninth Circuit, Sitting En Banc, Weighs In
This report discusses the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Ninth Circuit) decision in "Teixeira v. County of Alameda" which reversed the original court decision which held that Second Amendment rights applied to commercial firearm sellers. The course of the case and decision and implications of the ruling are also discussed.
Out of Office: Vacancies, Acting Officers, and Day 301
This report discusses the provisions of the Vacancies Act and the upcoming expiration of the time limit for temporary staff to to perform the duties of advice and consent staff positions that are still unfilled. Legal effects of letting the Vacancies Act take effect are also discussed.
Treasury Proposes Rule that Could Deliver a 'Death Sentence" to Chinese Bank
This report discusses the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposal to invoke the "Fifth Special Measure" on the Chinese Bank of Dandong for its alleged role in funding and and processing transactions for North Korea's weapons programs.
Department of Health and Human Services Halts Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSR) Payments
This report discusses the the case "House of Representatives v. Hargan" which was a case by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) appealing the House's decision to end cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. Questions regarding the status of the case and possible legal and legislative methods of restoring CSR payments are addressed.
Overview of "Travel Ban" Litigation and Recent Developments
This report provides an overview of the series of three executive actions -- (the first two taking the form of executive orders, and the third issued as a presidential proclamation) commonly referred to as the "Travel Ban," which restrict the entry of specified categories of non-U.S. nationals (aliens) into the United States -- as well as the litigation related to those executive actions.
Iran Policy and the European Union
This report discusses the European Union's reaction to President Trump's announcement of a new strategy for Iran and that the U.S. would not re-certify Iran under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) which is separate from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) made in 2015. The European Union has expressed dismay with the announcement and urged support for the continued implementation of the JCPOA.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under President Nicolás Maduro and U.S. responses to it. It provides an overview of the political, economic, and social challenges Venezuela faces and analyzes U.S. policy concerns and actions regarding democracy and human rights, drug trafficking and money laundering, terrorism, and energy issues in Venezuela. The section on democracy and human rights includes U.S. support for OAS efforts regarding Venezuela. Proposals in the 115th Congress regarding Venezuela are also discussed.
Workers' Compensation: Overview and Issues
This report discusses workers' compensation programs including common elements and their history. Non-compulsory programs in Texas and Oklahoma are also discussed including the recent ruling that the system in Oklahoma violated their state constitution.
The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks
This report discuses debates and regulations regarding net neutrality and broadband internet's classification as a telecommunication service in a 2015 rule that was upheld in court in 2016. A major focus in the debate is concern over whether the current regulatory framework as delineated in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) 2015 Open Internet Order is the appropriate approach to ensure access to the Internet for content, services, and applications providers, as well as consumers, or whether a less regulatory, "light touch" approach is more suitable.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses U.S. sanctions against Iran and the 2016 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement which led to the lifting of sanctions based on nuclear proliferation in Iran. The bulk of the report outlines the various sanctions against Iran and their current implementation status, international efforts to bring about compliance, and their effects. Recent discussions regarding President's Trump announcement that the U.S. was decertifying the nuclear agreement and the possibility of reinstating certain sanctions are also discussed.
Overview of the Federal Government's Power to Exclude Aliens
This report provides an overview of the legislative and executive powers to exclude aliens. First, the report discusses a gatekeeping legal principle that frames those powers: nonresident aliens outside the United States cannot challenge their exclusion from the country. Second, the report analyzes the extent to which the constitutional and statutory rights of U.S. citizens limit the exclusion power under the "facially legitimate and bona fide" test of Kleindienst v. Mandel. The report concludes with a case study. The report applies the principles of the Supreme Court's immigration jurisprudence to the two primary claims that U.S. persons and entities have pressed against the President's revised executive order in the "Travel Ban" litigation: (1) that the revised order violates the Establishment Clause; and (2) that the revised order violates the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Pre-Merger Review and Challenges Under the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission
This report examines the primary statutes and processes that govern federal pre-merger review and merger challenges to prevent monopolies from forming.
Privatization and the Constitution: Selected Legal Issues
This report focuses on the constitutional principles and judicial decisions that may constrain certain types of privatization that involve private and government-created entities.
Patent Law: A Primer and Overview of Emerging Issues
This report begins with an overview of patent law. It then discusses the Supreme Court's role in the development of patent law generally before examining the Court's recent decisions in detail. Finally, the report closes with a preview of developments in patent law that are on the horizon, such as the continued viability of certain administrative proceedings related to the validity of patents, which is the subject of two cases scheduled to be heard during the Court's upcoming term, as well as patent reform activity in the legislative and executive arenas.
Insurance Regulation: Legislation in the 115th Congress
This report discusses insurance related legislation in the 115th Congress including H.R. 10, Title XI, which would merge and revamp the FIO and the independent insurance expert position on FSOC; S. 1463/H.R. 3110 which would alter the term of the FSOC independent insurance expert; H.R. 3363 which would add insurance claims adjusters to the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers licensing structure created by Congress in P.L. 114-1; and S. 1360 which would respond to the development of international standards by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
Mandatory Arbitration and the Federal Arbitration Act
This report examines the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and reviews the Supreme Court's decisions involving the statute's preemption of state law requirements. The report also explores the Court's decisions involving mandatory arbitration agreements that prohibit a consumer or employee from maintaining a class or collective action. In its October 2017 term, the Supreme Court will consider three consolidated cases that challenge such agreements on the grounds that they violate the right to engage in "other concerted activities" under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
"Chevron" Deference: A Primer
This report discusses the Chevron decision (which set up the current process for judicial review of regulatory agencies), explains the circumstances in which the Chevron doctrine applies, explores how courts apply the two steps of Chevron, and highlights some criticisms of the doctrine, with an eye towards the potential future of Chevron deference.
Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases
This report highlights four of the notable cases of the new term that could impact the work of Congress: (1) Carpenter v. United States, which examines the limits the Fourth Amendment imposes on the warrantless collection of the historical cell phone location records of a criminal suspect; (2) Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a case exploring whether Congress, by prohibiting a state from partially repealing a state law, impermissibly commandeers the powers of the state; (3) Gill v. Whitford, which considers when a state's redistricting plan amounts to impermissible partisan gerrymandering; and (4) Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which asks whether a baker has a First Amendment right to decline to make cakes for same-sex weddings. Each case is addressed in a separate section that provides background information on the case; summarizes the arguments that were or are likely to be presented to the Court in each case; and examines the implications that the Court's ruling could have for Congress, including broader ramifications for the jurisprudence in a given area of law.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) disputes in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) involving China, with a focus on how these disputes may affect U.S. strategic and policy interests.
Oil Spills: Background and Governance
This report provides background information regarding oil spills and identifies the legal authorities and processes for oil spill prevention, response, liability, and compensation. The first section highlights background issues, including oil spill statistics and potential environmental impacts. The second section discusses the legal and regulatory framework that governs oil spill prevention and response.
Regulatory Exclusivity Reform in the 115th Congress
This report introduces the various regulatory exclusivities that protect certain medicines from marketplace competition for a set period of time and then describes pertinent legislation in the 115th Congress addressing them.
Supreme Court October Term 2016: A Review of Select Major Rulings
This report highlights four particularly notable cases the Court heard and ruled on during the October 2016 term: Matal v. Tam, which examines the interplay between the First Amendment and trademark law; Sessions v. Morales-Santana, a case exploring the relationship between immigration law and the Court's Equal Protection jurisprudence; Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, the latest chapter in the Court's Free Exercise jurisprudence; and Ziglar v. Abbasi, a case limiting the types of damages claims that can be asserted against federal officers for alleged constitutional violations under the Bivens doctrine. Each case is addressed in a separate section below, which provides background information on the case; summarizes the arguments that were presented to the Court; explains the Court's ultimate ruling; and examines the implications that the Court's ruling could have for Congress, including broader ramifications for jurisprudence in a given area of law.
Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA): Background and Funding
This report provides an overview of the federal response to domestic violence--defined broadly to include acts of physical and nonphysical violence against spouses and other intimate partners--through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). The report begins with background on the definitions of domestic violence, family violence, and related terms. This background section also describes the risk factors for domestic violence and estimates of the number of victims. The next section of the report addresses the history leading up to the enactment of FVPSA, and the major components of the act: a national domestic violence hotline, support for domestic violence shelters and non-residential services, and coordination efforts to prevent domestic violence. The report then discusses recent efforts under FVPSA to assist children and youth exposed to domestic violence, including teen dating violence. Finally, the report provides an overview of FVPSA's interaction with other federal laws, including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Military Sexual Assault: A Framework for Congressional Oversight
This report provides a framework for Congressional analysis and oversight of sexual assault in the military and seeks to help congressional staff understand the legislative and policy landscape, link proposed solutions with potential impact metrics, and identify possible gaps that remain unaddressed. Four categories of oversight and action related to sexual assault in the military are addressed; Department of Defense (DOD) management and accountability, prevention, victim protection and support, and military justice and investigation.
Farm Bill Primer Series: A Guide to Omnibus Legislation on Agriculture and Food Programs
This report constitutes a guide to a series of two-page reports that examine the various programs and policies that comprise periodic omnibus legislation on farm and food policy, commonly known as "the farm bill." The current farm bill (P.L. 113-79) was signed into law in February 2014. Many of the programs authorized by the 2014 farm bill are scheduled to expire in 2018 unless Congress provides for an extension, or reauthorizes them. Without congressional action, key commodity support programs would revert to permanently authorized legislation from the 1930s and 1940s.
The Financial CHOICE Act in the 115th Congress: Selected Policy Issues
This report highlights major proposals included in the Financial CHOICE Act (FCA) but is not a comprehensive summary. In general, the bill proposes changes that can be divided into two categories: (1) changes to financial policies and regulations and (2) changes to the regulatory structure and rulemaking process. Major policy-related changes proposed by the FCA include the following: Leverage Ratio, Regulatory Relief, To Big To Fail, Funding, Rulemaking, Judicial Review, Enforcement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Reserve.
Patentable Subject Matter Reform
This report reviews the current law governing patentable subject matter and recent proposals for legislative reform. It begins by providing a basic overview of the patent system and introducing the principles of patentable subject matter. It then considers the leading Supreme Court decisions construing section 101 of the Patent Act. The report then considers the implications of these decisions within the information technology and life sciences industries. The report closes with a review of legislative reform options.
Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Deployment
This report discusses issues related to autonomous vehicle regulations on the federal and state level and proposals by Congress to establish new regulatory rules (H.R. 3388) that would create a federal standard for autonomous vehicles and require state law to be in agreement with the federal law.
Retirement Benefits for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel
This report discusses federal law enforcement officers enhanced retirement benefits due to mandatory retirement ages making these employees retire younger than the average government employee. Many individuals and employee groups who work in law enforcement-related positions, but who have not qualified as law enforcement officers for retirement purposes, have sought enhanced benefits through legislation in recent Congresses. Possible pros and cons of such legislation are discussed.
Presidential Pardons: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This report provides a general overview of the pardon power and briefly addresses a few frequently-asked legal questions concerning its scope and application, such as: whether the President can issue a "prospective pardon, pardon himself or issue "secret" pardons, whether the acceptance of a pardon is an admission of guilt, and whether Congress can regulate the President's pardon power.
State Innovation Waivers: Frequently Asked Questions
This report answers nine frequently asked questions about the State Innovation Waiver program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that allows states to obtain waivers from certain areas of the program and instead use their own state run processes.
Congressional Health Coverage: Is the Government Contribution in Limbo?
This report first provides an overview of the statutory framework governing congressional health coverage and the current Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rule, and then addresses certain legal considerations that may come into play should the Trump Administration take action to modify this existing rule.
Justice Department''s Role in Cyber Incident Response
This report outlines the federal framework for cyber incident response, highlighting the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) role in this response. It also discusses challenges for federal law enforcement and potential policy issues for Congress.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) Transitional Reinsurance Program
This report provides an overview of one of the three risk-mitigation programs of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the transitional reinsurance program. The first section of the report provides background information on reinsurance and the ACA risk-mitigation programs. The second section describes the components of the transitional reinsurance program, as well as implementation of and experience with the program. The third section discusses questions regarding the scope of HHS's authority to administer the transitional reinsurance program, including those raised by a 2016 Government Accountability Office report. Finally, the report includes a table in the Appendix that summarizes key aspects of the transitional reinsurance program.
Legislative Proposals Seek Statutory Protections Related to Removing a Special Counsel
This report discusses the current rules for special counsels investigating executive branch officials and new proposed laws regarding special counsels and the process required to remove one from their position.
Domestic Terrorism: An Overview
This report provides background regarding domestic terrorists--detailing what constitutes the domestic terrorism threat as suggested by publicly available U.S. government sources. It also illustrates some of the key factors involved in assessing this threat.
For First Time, FinCEN Imposes Penalty on Foreign-Based Virtual Currency Exchange for Violations of Anti-Money Laundering Laws
This report discusses the first case of enforcement by the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) against a foreign-based virtual currency exchange. The action was taken agains BTC-e for violations of anti-money laundering regulations in the U.S. and potential money laundering activities.
Foreign Money and U.S. Elections
This report provides an overview of the prohibitions on foreign money under federal campaign finance law.
Who Regulates Whom? An Overview of the U.S. Financial Regulatory Framework
This report attempts to set out the basic frameworks and principles underlying U.S. financial regulation and to give some historical context for the development of that system. The first section briefly discusses the various modes of financial regulation and the next section identifies the major federal regulators and the types of institutions they supervise (see Table 1). It then provides a brief overview of each federal financial regulatory agency. Finally, the report discusses other entities that play a role in financial regulation--interagency bodies, state regulators, and international standards.
Charlottesville Car Crash Attack: Possibility of Federal Criminal Prosecution
This report discusses the announcement that the Charlottesville, Virginia car crash attack is being investigated as a federal civil rights case. It also outlines the sections of the federal law under which the attack could be classified.