Posts tagged with CRS

Terrorism, Miranda, and More from CRS

Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service obtained by Secrecy News include the following (all pdf).

“Terrorism, Miranda, and Related Matters,” May 24, 2010.

“Defense: FY2011 Authorization and Appropriations,” May 25, 2010.

“Quadrennial Defense Review 2010: Overview and Implications for National Security Planning,” May 17, 2010.

“North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation,” May 26, 2010.

“Ballistic Missile Defense and Offensive Arms Reductions: A Review of the Historical Record,” May 25, 2010.

People Crossing Borders, and More from CRS

The system of national borders that is intended to exclude unauthorized persons can be conceptualized as a “fortress” with rigid barriers forming a secure perimeter, or as a “complex organism” with flexible layered defenses and interactions with the external environment. The application of these models to the United States, along with an evaluation of their possible effectiveness, is presented in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.  See “People Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection Policies,” May 13, 2010.

Other new CRS products that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (both pdf).

“Potential Stafford Act Declarations for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill: Issues for Congress,” May 13, 2010.

“FY2010 Supplemental for Wars, Disaster Assistance, Haiti Relief, and Court Cases,” May 12, 2010.

The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens

“Justice John Paul Stevens played a pivotal role in determining the scope of executive-branch power in a post-9/11 world,” observed the Congressional Research Service in one of a series of new reports reviewing the legacy and impact of Justice Stevens, who is set to retire from the Supreme Court next month.

“Justice Stevens authored majority opinions in two leading cases, Rasul v. Bush and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Court allowed detainees’ habeas petitions to proceed and invalidated the early incarnation of military commissions, thereby rejecting the broader views of executive power articulated shortly after the 9/11 attacks.  In the cases, his view prevailed over strongly articulated dissenting opinions authored by Justice Scalia and other justices,” the CRS noted.

“Justice Stevens has been instrumental in developing post-9/11 jurisprudence regarding the limits of executive power during — and following — armed conflicts.  Prior to 9/11, the Supreme Court had rarely considered questions regarding potential limits on the President’s Commander in Chief power.  The wartime detention cases provide key insights into the Court’s views on the reach of executive authority, as well as on other separation-of-power concerns, including Congress’s role.”

However, a portion of this legacy on detainees’ rights may already be subject to limitation or erosion.  Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that detainees held abroad by the U.S. military in Afghanistan — unlike those in Guantanamo — could not invoke habeas corpus to appear before a judge.

See “The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Leading Opinions on Wartime Detentions” (pdf), May 13, 2010.

The companion reports from CRS are these (all pdf):

“The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Federalism Issues,” May 19, 2010.

“The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens:  Selected Opinions on Intellectual Property Law,” May 14, 2010.

“The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: The Constitutionality of Congressional Term Limits and the Presidential Line Item Veto,” May 18, 2010.

Congress has forbidden CRS to make these and other publications directly available to the public online.  Copies were obtained by Secrecy News.

Update: One more:

The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: The Chevron Doctrine, May 26, 2010.

Update: And another:

The Jurisprudence of Justice John Paul Stevens: Selected Opinions on the Jury’s Role in Criminal Sentencing, June 7, 2010.

Burma, Greece, Arizona and More from CRS

Each year, Congress inserts language in the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act prohibiting the Congressional Research Service from “pay[ing] any salary or expense in connection with any publication” that has not been specifically approved by the House Administration Committee or the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.  The intent of the language is to prevent CRS from making its products directly available to the public.

The following CRS publications obtained by Secrecy News fall under this strange prohibition, since they have not been approved for public dissemination by the House or Senate Committees (all pdf).

“Burma’s 2010 Elections: Implications of the New Constitution and Election Laws,” April 29, 2010.

“Greece’s Debt Crisis: Overview, Policy Responses, and Implications,” April 27, 2010.

“State Efforts to Deter Unauthorized Aliens: Legal Analysis of Arizona’s S.B. 1070,” May 3, 2010.

“Legislative Approaches to Defining ‘Waters of the United States’,” April 30, 2010.

“State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2011 Budget and Appropriations,” May 5, 2010.

“Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrug Programs,” April 30, 2010.

The New START Treaty, and More from CRS

New reports on nuclear policy prepared by the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf).

“The New START Treaty: Central Limits and Key Provisions,” May 3, 2010.

“2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference: Key Issues and Implications,” May 3, 2010.

“Securing Nuclear Materials: The 2010 Summit and Issues for Congress,” April 16, 2010.

The War Powers Resolution, and More from CRS

Although the U.S. Constitution assigned the power to declare war to Congress, the use of armed forces has often been initiated by the President without congressional authorization.  The enactment of the War Powers Resolution in 1973 was an attempt by Congress to reassert its constitutional role and to regulate military action by the executive branch.  For the most part, it failed to accomplish those goals.

“The main purpose of the Resolution was to establish procedures for both branches to share in decisions that might get the United States involved in war,” a new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) observes. “The drafters sought to circumscribe the President’s authority to use armed forces abroad in hostilities or potential hostilities without a declaration of war or other congressional authorization, yet provide enough flexibility to permit him to respond to attack or other emergencies.”

“But the record of the War Powers Resolution since its enactment has been mixed, and after 30 years it remains controversial,” the CRS report said.

The new report documents that mixed record, listing all of the instances from 1973 to December 2009 in which Presidents submitted reports to Congress under the Resolution, as well as instances of the use of U.S. armed forces that were not reported.  See “The War Powers Resolution: After Thirty-Six Years,” April 22, 2010.

For reasons that defy easy comprehension, Congress does not believe that CRS reports should be made readily available to members of the public, so identifying and acquiring reports of interest takes a bit of extra effort.  Noteworthy new CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News include the following (all pdf).

“Monitoring and Verification in Arms Control,” April 21, 2010.

“Emergency Communications: Broadband and the Future of 911,” April 27, 2010.

“Unauthorized Aliens in the United States,” April 27, 2010.

“Bangladesh: Political and Strategic Developments and U.S. Interests,” April 1, 2010.

“Guinea’s New Transitional Government: Emerging Issues for U.S. Policy,” April 23, 2010.

Economic Impacts of Prison Growth, and More from CRS

“The historic, sustained rise in [the U.S. prison population] has broad implications, not just for the criminal justice system, but for the larger economy. About 770,000 people worked in the corrections sector in 2008 [and this number is expected to grow]…. By comparison, in 2008 there were 880,000 workers in the entire U.S. auto manufacturing sector.”  See “Economic Impacts of Prison Growth” (pdf), April 13, 2010.

Other noteworthy new CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News that Congress has not made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf).

“The Role of the Senate in Judicial Impeachment Proceedings: Procedure, Practice, and Data,” April 9, 2010.

“Military Personnel and Freedom of Religious Expression: Selected Legal Issues,” April 8, 2010.

“Multilateral Development Banks: Overview and Issues for Congress,” April 9, 2010.

“Foreign Aid Reform, National Strategy, and the Quadrennial Review,” April 12, 2010.

“Supreme Court Appointment Process: Roles of the President, Judiciary Committee, and Senate,” February 19, 2010.

North Korea’s 2009 Nuclear Test, and More from CRS

In May 2009, North Korea announced that it had conducted its second nuclear explosive test.  Although the event generated a seismic signature consistent with a nuclear explosion, it produced no detectable release of radioactive gases or particulates (fallout).  This either means that North Korea actually conducted a non-nuclear simulation of a nuclear test, or else it managed to achieve complete containment of a real nuclear explosion.  Since detection of radioactive emissions provides the most unambiguous confirmation of a nuclear explosion, the successful containment of a nuclear test could be problematic for verification of a treaty banning such explosions.

This conundrum is explored in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.  See “North Korea’s 2009 Nuclear Test: Containment, Monitoring, Implications” (pdf), April 2, 2010.

Congress has refused to make reports like this directly available to the public.  Other noteworthy new CRS products obtained by Secrecy News that have not been publicly released include the following (all pdf).

“Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings,” April 1, 2010.

“Federal Building and Facility Security,” March 24, 2010.

“The U.S. Motor Vehicle Industry: Confronting a New Dynamic in the Global Economy,” March 26, 2010.

“U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology,” April 5, 2010.

Bioterrorism, Changes in the Arctic, and More from CRS

New Congressional Research Service reports obtained by Secrecy News that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf):

“Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress,” March 18, 2010.

“Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress,” March 30, 2010.

“Deforestation and Climate Change,” March 24, 2010.

“The Impact of Major Legislation on Budget Deficits: 2001 to 2009,” March 23, 2010.

“GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Timeframes and Procedures,” March 15, 2010.

“GAO Bid Protests: Trends, Analysis, and Options for Congress,” February 11, 2009.

“The Future of U.S. Trade Policy: An Analysis of Issues and Options for the 111th Congress,” March 24, 2010.

“Europe’s Preferential Trade Agreements: Status, Content, and Implications,” March 22, 2010.

“F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress,” March 22, 2010.

“Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive,” April 1, 2010.

A bill on government transparency that was introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) last week would finally make all non-confidential CRS reports publicly available online. There must have been a dozen such proposals that have been introduced in Congress over the last 15 years without effect, and it is not clear whether the latest iteration will fare any better.

Congressional Oversight, and More from CRS

New Congressional Research Service reports obtained by Secrecy News that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf).

“Visa Security Policy: Roles of the Departments of State and Homeland Security,” March 8, 2010.

“Legislative Options After Citizens United v. FEC: Constitutional and Legal Issues,” March 8, 2010.

“FY2011 Budget Documents: Internet and GPO Availability,” March 8, 2010.

“House Committee Markups: Manual of Procedures and Procedural Strategies,” February 25, 2010.

“Congressional Oversight: An Overview,” February 22, 2010.