Congressional Research Service Reports - 326 Matching Results

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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of citizenship — to request, without explanation or justification, presumptive access to existing, identifiable, unpublished, executive branch agency records on any topic.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.
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.
Detention of U.S. Citizens
In 1971, Congress passed legislation to repeal the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 and to enact the following language: “No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” The new language, codified at 18 U.S.C. §4001(a), is called the Non-Detention Act. This statutory provision received attention after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the Administration designated certain U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” and claimed the right to detain them indefinitely without charging them, bringing them to trial, or giving them access to counsel. In litigation over Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla, both designated enemy combatants, the Administration has argued that the Non-Detention Act restricts only imprisonments and detentions by the Attorney General, not by the President or military authorities.
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).
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 Information Act (FOIA) Amendments: 109th Congress
No Description Available.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Amendments: 109th Congress
No Description Available.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description Available.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description Available.
Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment
No Description Available.
Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping
No Description Available.
Delegation of the Federal Power of Eminent Domain to Nonfederal Entities
Congress has on several occasions delegated its power of eminent domain to entities outside the federal government -- public and private corporations, interstate compact agencies, state and local governments, and even individuals. The constitutionality of such delegation, and of the exercise of such power by even private delegates, is today beyond dispute. However, among delegates with both federal and private characteristics, there is some subjectivity to deciding which to list in a report limited to "nonfederal entities." For delegatees of federal eminent domain power listed here, delegations since 1920 have primarily been to Amtrak, hydroelectric facilities (for dams and reservoirs), and entities engaged in the movement of electricity, gas, and petroleum (the last one expired), and for interstate bridges.
Congress and U.S. Policy on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees: Recent Legislation and Implementation
The passage of the reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act in October 2008 reasserted congressional interest in influencing the Bush Administration's policy toward North Korea. In addition to reauthorizing funding at original levels, the bill expresses congressional criticism of the implementation of the original 2004 law and adjusts some of the provisions relating to the Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea and the U.S. resettlement of North Korean refugees. Some outside analysts have pointed to the challenges of highlighting North Korea's human rights violations in the midst of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, as well as the difficulty in effectively reaching North Korean refugees as outlined in the law. Further, the law may complicate coordination on North Korea with China and South Korea.
Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment:
This Report first discusses the critical holdings enunciated by the Supreme Court 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 fourteen 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), 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 v. FEC; 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).
Hurricane Katrina: HIPAA Privacy and Electronic Health Records of Evacuees
No Description Available.
Detention of U.S. Persons as Enemy Belligerents
Report that provides a background to the detention of enemy belligerents, followed by a brief introduction to the law of war pertinent to the detention of different categories of individuals.
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues
Report that provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, followed by a discussion of legal considerations.
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
Report regarding the role of the United States and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas.
China and Falun Gong
“Falun Gong,” also known as “Falun Dafa,”1 combines an exercise regimen with meditation and moral tenets. The “Falun Gong” movement has led to the largest and most protracted public demonstrations in China since the democracy movement of 1989. On April 25, 1999, an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 adherents assembled in front of Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party leadership compound, and participated in a silent protest against state repression of their activities. On July 21, 1999, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, fearful of the spread of social unrest, outlawed the movement and began to arrest Falun Gong protesters.
Trafficking in Persons: The U.S. and International Response
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Russia's Religion Law: Assessments and Implications
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.
Property Rights "Takings": Justice O'Connor's Opinions
No Description Available.
Restrictions on Minors' Access to Material on the Internet
No Description Available.
Overview and Analysis of Senate Amendment Concerning Interrogation of Detainees
No Description Available.
Interrogation of Detainees: Overview of the McCain Amendment
This report discusses the recent controversy that has arisen regarding U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and terrorist suspects detained in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, and whether such treatment complies with U.S. statutes and treaties such as the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Congress recently approved additional guidelines concerning the treatment of detainees. The Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006 (P.L. 109- 148), and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-163) contain identical provisions that (1) require Department of Defense (DOD) personnel to employ United States Army Field Manual guidelines while interrogating detainees, and (2) prohibit the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment of persons under the detention, custody, or control of the United States Government.” These provisions, added to the defense appropriations and authorization bills via amendments introduced by Senator John McCain, have popularly been referred to as “the McCain amendment.” This report discusses the McCain amendment, as modified and subsequently enacted into law.
Human Rights in U.S. Foreign Relations: Six Key Questions in the Continuing Policy Debate
This report provides background information and a general overview of the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy. It includes a discussion of some traditional arguments about how international human rights concerns might be integrated with other foreign policy factors. It also includes a discussion of the definition of human rights, of U.S. international obligations to promote human rights, and the apparatus and procedures available to the U.S. Government for implementing human rights policy. Particular attention is paid to congressional actions, not only in debating and holding hearings on human rights issues, but especially in enacting laws to assure that U.S. foreign policy formulation and practice include consideration of the status of human rights in other countries.
Constitutionality of Applying the FCC's Indecency Restriction to Cable Television
Various federal officials have spoken in favor of extending the Federal Communication Commission’s indecency restriction, which currently applies to broadcast television and radio, to cable and satellite television. This report examines whether such an extension would violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom 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.
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.
The Endangered Species Act and Claims of Property Rights "Takings"
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.
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.
The Endangered Species Act and Claims of Property Rights "Takings"
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.
Sexual Violence in African Conflicts
This report focuses on conflicts in Africa in which sexual violence is reported to be widespread or systematic. It describes the context in which such violence takes place, selected cases where it is currently occurring, and U.S. policy responses. The report concludes with a discussion of potential policy considerations, including the design and effectiveness of U.S. programs; coordination between agencies and between international donors; and the question of whether policy responses to sexual violence can be separated from the broader context in which such violence occurs. The report includes a detailed case study of DRC, which has drawn particular attention from the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress.
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the gun legislation in the 190th Congress. It presents the views of a contentious debate, with strong advocates for and against the further federal regulation of firearms.
Palestinian Education and the Debate Over Textbooks
No Description Available.
Gun Legislation in the 109th Congress
This report discusses the ongoing debate over the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition. The report provides background information and analysis over the pros and cons of the debate and gun related statistics. It is a contentious debate, with strong advocates for and against the further federal regulation of firearms.
Undisclosed U.S. Detention Sites Overseas: Background and Legal Issues
No Description Available.
Bringing Peace to Chechnya?: Assessments and Implications
A consistent theme of U.S. and other international criticism of Russia is that Russian troops use excessive and indiscriminate force to quell separatism in Chechnya and commit serious human rights abuses. There appeared to be fewer Administration suggestions to Russia that it should open peace talks with “moderate” separatists, more tolerance for Russia’s argument that it primarily was battling terrorism in Chechnya, and some hope that elections and rebuilding in Chechnya could contribute to a “political settlement.” But some in the Administration also argue that Russia is showing declining interest in the adoption of Western democratic and human rights “values,” and that such slippage could ultimately harm bilateral relations.
Privacy: Key Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission
No Description Available.
Privacy: An Abbreviated Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping
No Description Available.
Social Unrest in China
No Description Available.
Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy
Following a review of such broad policy issues, this report treats specific human rights issues of current interest. Discussions of controversy over the selection of an Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs and of human rights policy at the international financial institutions are followed by reviews of U.S. human rights policy toward Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Africa, and the Soviet Union.
Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses
This report first explores the potential uses of drones in the domestic sphere by federal, state, and local governments. It then surveys current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, including cases surrounding privacy in the home, privacy in public spaces, location tracking, manned aerial surveillance, and those involving the national border. Next, it considers how existing jurisprudence may inform current and proposed drone uses. It then describes the various legislative measures introduced in the 112th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones and, finally, briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance.
The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative: Issues for Congress
This report reviews the objectives delineated in President Obama's Open Government Initiative (OGI) and examines the expectations placed on agencies to meet these objectives. This report reviews department and agency attempts to implement Obama Administration initiatives that seek to make the federal government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative. The report then analyzes options for congressional action in this area.
Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications
This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights, major human rights issues, PRC human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iraq, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action.
Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings
This report discusses major judicial opinions concerning suspected enemy belligerents detained in the conflict with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iran, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action.