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Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Description: This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
Date: August 18, 2013
Creator: Smith, Alison M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Description: This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
Date: May 6, 2013
Creator: Smith, Alison M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Same-Sex Marriages: Legal Issues

Description: This report discusses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to address same-sex marriage. It also examines previous congressional resolutions proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts' jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Smith, Alison M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Casework in a Congressional Office: Background, Rules, Laws, and Resources

Description: This report discusses House and Senate rules and guidelines, laws, and regulations affecting congressional casework, as well as the role of caseworkers. It also provides sample outlines and document templates for implementing and managing congressional casework.
Date: November 24, 2014
Creator: Petersen, R. Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate

Description: This report discusses the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, including the President's selection of a nominee and process to reach confirmation in the Senate. The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in the federal judiciary. Appointments are usually infrequent, as a vacancy on the nine-member Court may occur only once or twice, or never at all, during a particular President's years in office. Under the Constitution, Justices on the Supreme Court receive lifetime appointments. Such job security in the government has been conferred solely on judges and, by constitutional design, helps insure the Court's independence from the President and Congress.
Date: September 3, 2010
Creator: Rutkus, Denis S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA): Liability of Responsible Parties

Description: The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) establishes a framework that addresses the liability of responsible parties in connection with the discharge of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, adjoining shorelines, or the exclusive economic zone. Among other provisions, OPA limits certain liabilities of a responsible party in connection with discharges of oil into such areas. This report addresses liability under OPA for removal costs and damages, and the basic procedure for recovering removal costs and damages from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in the event that the responsible party fails to settle such claims.
Date: June 2, 2010
Creator: Nichols, James E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

From Solicitor General to Supreme Court Nominee: Responsibilities, History, and the Nomination of Elena Kagan

Description: This report examines both the office of the Solicitor General and the Justices who held that position before their elevation to the Court. After examining the office of the Solicitor General and its success before the Court, the report describes the professional careers of the four Justices who served as Solicitor General before joining the Court: William Howard Taft, Stanley Reed, Robert Jackson, and Thurgood Marshall. The final section of the report examines the career of Elena Kagan, noting in particular her service as Solicitor General.
Date: June 23, 2010
Creator: Navarro Smelcer, Susan & Thomas, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Speed of Presidential and Senate Actions on Supreme Court Nominations, 1900-2010

Description: This report provides information on the amount of time taken to act on all Supreme Court nominations occurring between 1900 and the present. It focuses on the actual amounts of time that Presidents and the Senate have taken to act (as opposed to the elapsed time between official points in the process). This report focuses on when the Senate became aware of the President's selection (e.g., via a public announcement by the President).
Date: August 6, 2010
Creator: Garrett, R. S. & Rutkus, Denis S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Litigation Seeking to Establish Climate Change Impacts as a Common Law Nuisance

Description: This report discusses recent legislative initiatives seeking to establish climate change impacts as a common law nuisance. The report explains what private and public nuisances are, the issues faced by policymakers when litigating a climate-change/nuisance suit, and also discusses five climate-chance/nuisance suits that are now or formerly active, as a basis of comparison. The report also explores arguments of those both for and against addressing the complex issue of climate change through common law suits.
Date: December 10, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Selected Issues for Congress

Description: This report summarizes provisions of selected legislation - enacted and proposed - that address oil spill policy issues raised after the April 20, 2010, explosion and resulting oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. This report focuses primarily on oil spill policy matters that concern prevention, preparedness, response, and the liability and compensation framework.
Date: July 30, 2010
Creator: Hagerty, Curry L. & Ramseur, Jonathan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Opinions on the Jury's Role in Criminal Sentencing

Description: This report discusses Justice John Paul Stevens' opinions on the Jury's role in criminal sentencing. Justice Stevens has played a critical role in the Supreme Court's interpretation of a jury's role in criminal sentencing. In 2000, he wrote the majority opinion for the Court in Apprendi v. New Jersey, a landmark case in which the Court held that a judge typically may not increase a sentence beyond the range prescribed by statute unless the increase is based on facts determined by a jury "beyond a reasonable doubt." In 2005, he wrote one of two majority opinions in United States v. Booker, in which the Court applied the Apprendi rule to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In those two cases and in several other cases on this issue during the past few decades, Justice Stevens has been a leading voice, articulating a broad interpretation of the jury trial and due process rights at issue.
Date: June 7, 2010
Creator: Henning, Anna C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Attorney General Nominations Since the Reagan Administration

Description: On November 9, 2014, President Obama announced his intention to nominate U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch to replace Eric H. Holder Jr. as Attorney General (AG). Presidents have nominated a total of 11 individuals, including Lynch, for the position of AG since the beginning of the Reagan Administration in 1981. This report provides a table with information regarding these 11 nominations.
Date: December 4, 2014
Creator: Carey, Maeve P. & Greene, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Federal Agency Actions Following the Supreme Court's Climate Change Decision: A Chronology

Description: This report presents a chronology of major federal agency actions taken in the wake of Massachusetts v. EPA. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court held that greenhouse gases (GHGs), widely viewed as contributing to climate change, constitute "air pollutants" as that phrase is used in the Clean Air Act (CAA). As a result, said the Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly denied a petition seeking CAA regulation of GHGs from new motor vehicles by saying the agency lacked authority over such emissions.
Date: December 3, 2010
Creator: Meltz, Robert
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Lobbying the Executive Branch: Current Practices and Options for Change

Description: This report outlines the development of registration requirements for lobbyists engaging executive branch officials since 1995. It also summarizes steps taken by the Obama Administration to limit and monitor lobbying of the executive branch; discusses the development and implementation of restrictions placed on lobbying for Recovery Act and EESA funds; examines the Obama Administration's decision to stop appointing lobbyists to federal advisory bodies and committees; considers third-party criticism of current executive branch lobbying policies; and provides options for possible modifications in current lobbying laws and practices.
Date: December 6, 2010
Creator: Straus, Jacob R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Responsibility Determinations Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation: Legal Standards and Procedures

Description: This report discusses the standards and procedures that federal agencies use in making responsibility determinations under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). As a general rule, government agencies contract with the lowest qualified responsible bidder or offeror. Responsibility is an attribute of the contractor, while price and qualifications are attributes of the bid or offer. Under the FAR, "[n]o purchase or award shall be made unless the contracting officer makes an affirmative determination of responsibility."
Date: August 18, 2010
Creator: Manuel, Kate M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Suits Against Terrorist States by Victims of Terrorism

Description: This report provides background on the doctrine of State immunity and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA); details the evolution of the terrorist State exception and some of the resulting judicial decisions; describes legislative efforts to help claimants satisfy their judgments; summarizes the decision in the hostages' suit against Iran and Congress's efforts to intervene; summarizes what has happened with Iraq's assets, and provides an overview of proposed legislation
Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Suits Against Terrorist States by Victims of Terrorism

Description: This report provides background on the doctrine of State immunity and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA); details the evolution of the terrorist State exception and some of the resulting judicial decisions; describes legislative efforts to help claimants satisfy their judgments; summarizes the decision in the hostages' suit against Iran and Congress's efforts to intervene; summarizes what has happened with Iraq's assets, and provides an overview of proposed legislation.
Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: Elsea, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Securities Fraud Class Action Certification: Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc.

Description: This report discusses requirements for securities fraud class action certification. The report also specifically examines each of the decisions made in the Halliburton cases, which proceeded through two complete rounds in federal district court, court of appeals, and the Supreme Court.
Date: August 15, 2014
Creator: Seitzinger, Michael V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Participation in Article III Courts: Standing to Sue

Description: This report seeks to provide an overview of Congress's ability to participate in litigation before Article III courts. The report is limited to a discussion of Congress's participation in litigation as either a plaintiff (e.g., the party initiating the suit alleging some sort of harm or violation of law) or as a third-party intervener (e.g., a party who is seeking to join litigation already initiated by another plaintiff).
Date: September 4, 2014
Creator: Dolan, Alissa M. & Garvey, Todd
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses

Description: 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 113th Congress to address the legal and policy issues surrounding drones. Finally, it briefly identifies several alternative approaches that may constrain the potential scope of drone surveillance.
Date: April 3, 2013
Creator: Thompson, Richard M., II
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department