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Limiting Court Jurisdiction Over Federal Constitutional Issues: “Court-Stripping”

Description: This report discusses various proposals that have been made to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts to hear cases regarding particular areas of constitutional law such as busing, abortion, prayer in school, and most recently, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Proposals of this type are often referred to as “court-stripping” legislation.
Date: December 11, 2003
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

Description: Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Origination Clause because it provides that "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives." The meaning and application of this clause has evolved through practice and precedent since the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution does not provide specific guidelines as to what constitutes a "bill for raising revenue." This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding that constitutes such a bill. Second, this report describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced. Finally, this report looks at the application of the Origination Clause to other types of legislation.
Date: March 15, 2011
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Interpretation and Enforcement

Description: This report analyzes congressional and court precedents regarding bills under Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution (known as the Origination Clause). It also describes the various ways in which the Origination Clause has been enforced and looks at the application of the Clause to other types of legislation.
Date: May 10, 2002
Creator: Saturno, James V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Article V Convention for Proposing Constitutional Amendments: Historical Perspectives for Congress

Description: This report offers perspectives for Congress on the Article V Convention, opening with an overview of the provisions in Article V that established the convention procedure. The report further examines its origins at the Constitutional Convention of 1787; the history of the convention alternative, focusing on three major 20th century campaigns to convene a constitutional convention; and the role of the states in the Article V Convention process.
Date: October 22, 2012
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Constitutional Authority Statements and the Powers of Congress: An Overview

Description: This report provides an overview of Congress's powers under the Constitution and their role in interpreting the nation's founding document. It examines House Rule XII, clause 7(c), discussing the results of a recent study conducted by CRS of Constitutional Authority Statement (CAS) that were submitted during the last six months of the 114th Congress, and concludes by discussing trends with regard to the House's recent CAS practices and by providing considerations for congressional personnel drafting CASs.
Date: January 6, 2017
Creator: Nolan, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supreme Court October Term 2017: A Preview of Select Cases

Description: 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.
Date: September 19, 2017
Creator: Nolan, Andrew; Brannon, Valerie C.; Garcia, Michael John; Harrington, Ben; Sykes, Jay B. & Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bills of Attainder: The Constitutional Implications of Congress Legislating Narrowly

Description: This report discusses congressional bills of attainder, defined by the Supreme Court as "law[s] that legislatively determine guilt and inflict punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial." The report specifically examines the two main criteria courts use to determine whether legislation is a bill of attainder: specificity and punishment.
Date: August 26, 2014
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Doctrine of Constitutional Avoidance: A Legal Overview

Description: This report discusses select issues regarding judicial review, and offers some contemporary views on the Ashwander Doctrine, under which the Supreme Court avoids ruling decisively in cases that it deems able to be resolved outside of the court, non-constitutionally (Constitutional Avoidance).
Date: September 2, 2014
Creator: Nolan, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Statutory Interpretation: Theories, Tools, and Trends

Description: This report begins by discussing the general goals of statutory interpretation, reviewing a variety of contemporary as well as historical approaches. The report then briefly describes the two primary theories of interpretation employed today, before examining the main types of tools that courts use to determine statutory meaning. The report concludes by exploring developing issues in statutory interpretation.
Date: April 5, 2015
Creator: Brannon, Valerie C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements

Description: Campaign finance reform legislation often contains provisions that would impose additional reporting and disclosure requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). For example, S. 27 (McCain/Feingold), would require disclosure of disbursements of expenditures over $10,000 for “electioneering communications,” which are defined to include broadcast ads that “refer” to federal office candidates, with identification of donors of $500 or more. S. 22 (Hagel/Landrieu) would increase and expedite current disclosure requirements under FECA. H.R. 380 (Shays/Meehan) would lower the current FECA threshold for contribution reporting from $200 to $50 and impose reporting requirements for soft money disbursements by persons other than political parties. This report will discuss some of the constitutional issues relating to these and other such disclosure requirements.
Date: March 20, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supreme Court October Term 2016: A Review of Select Major Rulings

Description: 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.
Date: September 15, 2017
Creator: Nolan, Andrew; Brown, Cynthia; Garcia, Michael John; Lewis, Caitlin Devereaux & Peck, Sarah Herman
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public Sector Union Dues: Grappling with Fixed Stars and Stare Decisis (Part 1)

Description: First part of a report discussing the upcoming Supreme Court case of "Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council," concerning whether requiring non-union member employees is constitutional. It provides general background on an earlier case regarding the issue "Abood v. Detroit Board of Education" and the case law leading up to "Janus."
Date: December 4, 2017
Creator: Killion, Victoria L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Public Sector Union Dues: Grappling with Fixed Stars and Stare Decisis (Part 2)

Description: Second part of a report discussing the upcoming Supreme Court case of "Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council," concerning whether requiring non-union member employees is constitutional. It begins with a brief summary of the parties' arguments, highlights some key statements from the prior decisions of Justice Gorsuch (who is likely to be a critical voice), and finally explores the potential implications of the decision.
Date: December 4, 2017
Creator: Killion, Victoria L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department