From the summary of The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives (R45769, June 14, 2019): “The House impeachment process generally proceeds in three phases: (1) initiation of the impeachment process; (2) Judiciary Committee investigation, hearings, and markup of articles of impeachment; and (3) full House consideration of the articles of impeachment.”
From the introduction to Corporate Drug Trafficking Liability—-a New Legal Front in the Opioid Crisis (LSB 10207, June 6, 2019):
In April 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) opened a new front in the struggle against the illicit distribution of prescription opioids by indicting Rochester Drug Cooperative, Inc. (Rochester Drug) and two of its executives under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) based on the company’s sale of oxycodone and fentanyl to pharmacies that illegally distributed the drugs.
Although pharmaceutical companies and their executives have previously been subject to civil sanctions and criminal prosecution related to the marketing and distribution of opioids, the Rochester Drug indictments mark the first time DOJ has brought felony charges against a pharmaceutical company under the general drug trafficking provisions of the CSA. This Sidebar contextualizes the indictments by first providing an overview of the key laws governing prescription opioids, the CSA and the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
From the executive summary of Technological Convergence: Regulatory, Digital Privacy, and Data Security Issues (R45746, May 30, 2019):
Technological convergence, in general, refers to the trend or phenomenon where two or more independent technologies integrate and form a new outcome. … Technological convergent devices share three key characteristics. First, converged devices can execute multiple functions to serve blended purpose. Second, converged devices can collect and use data in various formats and employ machine learning techniques to deliver enhanced user experience. Third, converged devices are connected to a network directly and/or are interconnected with other devices to offer ubiquitous access to users.
Technological convergence may present a range of issues where Congress may take legislative and/or oversight actions. Three selected issue areas associated with technological convergence are regulatory jurisdiction, digital privacy, and data security.
From the introduction to Conference Committee and Related Procedures: An Introduction (96-708, Updated May 22, 2019):
“Conference committees are generally free to conduct their negotiations as they choose, but under the formal rules they are expected to address only the matters on which the House and Senate have disagreed. Moreover, they are to propose settlements that represent compromises between the positions of the two houses. When they have completed their work, they submit a conference report and joint explanatory statement, and the House and Senate vote on accepting the report without amendments. Only after the two houses have reached complete agreement on all provisions of a bill can it be sent to the President for his approval or veto.”
From the introduction to An Overview of State and Federal Authority to Impose Vaccination Requirements (LSB 10300, May 22, 2019):
“In addition to measles, for about every 5 years since 2006, outbreaks of other vaccine – preventable diseases, such as mumps, have also been reported in the United States. In light of these outbreaks and their association with unvaccinated individuals, this Sidebar provides an overview of the relevant state and federal authority to require vaccination for U.S. residents.”
From the introduction to The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact (R43823, updated May 9, 2019):
“The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct …. Any state that joins the NPV compact pledges that if the compact comes into effect, its legislature will award all the state’s electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state. The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270 or more) join the compact.”
You can pre-order the Nook book edition online here.
From the introduction to Presidential Terms and Tenure: Perspectives and Proposals for Change (R40864, Apr. 15, 2019):
The length of the President’s term and the question of whether Presidents should be eligible for reelection were extensively debated in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. Late in the proceedings, the delegates settled on a four-year term for both President and Vice President but did not place a limit on the number of terms a President could serve.
From the introduction to Can the President Close the Border? Relevant Laws and Considerations (LSB10283, Apr. 12, 2019):
Little federal case law addresses these questions. Although recent media articles discuss at least four occasions when past presidents have restricted operations at ports of entry on the southern border, those executive measures apparently did not
prompt legal challenges that required federal courts to assess the Executive’s authority for the measures.
From the summary of Congressional Subpoenas: Enforcing Executive Branch Compliance (R45653, Mar. 27, 2019):
Congress currently employs an ad hoc combination of methods to combat non-compliance with subpoenas. The two predominant methods rely on the authority and participation of another branch of government. First, the criminal contempt statute permits a single house of Congress to certify a contempt citation to the executive branch for the criminal prosecution of an individual who has willfully refused to comply with a committee subpoena. Once the contempt citation is received, any prosecution lies within the control of the executive branch. Second, Congress may try to enforce a subpoena by seeking a civil judgment declaring that the recipient is legally obligated to comply. This process of civil enforcement relies on the help of the courts to enforce congressional demands.
From the summary of Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content (R45650, Mar. 27,2019):
Some have argued that Congress should step in to regulate social media sites. Government action regulating internet content would constitute state action that may implicate the First Amendment. In particular, social media providers may argue that government regulations impermissibly infringe on the providers’ own constitutional free speech rights. Legal commentators have argued that when social media platforms decide whether and how to post users’ content, these publication decisions are themselves protected under the First Amendment. There are few court decisions evaluating whether a social media site, by virtue of publishing, organizing, or even editing protected speech, is itself exercising free speech rights. Consequently, commentators have largely analyzed the question of whether the First Amendment protects a social media site’s publication decisions by analogy to other types of First Amendment cases.
From the summary of Congressional Participation in Litigation: Article III and Legislative Standing (R45636, Mar. 26, 2019):
Houses, committees, and Members of Congress periodically seek to initiate or participate in litigation to, among other purposes, advance their legislative objectives, argue that the Executive is violating their legislative prerogatives, or defend core institutional interests. However, the constitutionally based doctrine of “standing” — which requires a litigant seeking federal judicial relief to demonstrate (1) a concrete and particularized and actual or imminent injury in fact, (2) that is traceable to the allegedly unlawful actions of the opposing party and (3) that is redressable by a favorable judicial decision — may prevent legislators from pursuing litigation in federal court. The U.S. Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have issued several important opinions analyzing whether — and under what circumstances — a legislative entity has standing to seek relief.
In an Executive Order Thursday, President Trump sought to promote free inquiry and regulate student loans in higher education. Read the Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities.
From the summary of Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements (RL33865, Mar. 18, 2019):
Arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some believe these tools do little to restrain the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing too much to restrain U.S. military forces and operations, many other analysts see them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease military planning, limit forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal arrangements, and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms.
From the Federal Register:
The U.S. Copyright Office is announcing the release of a public draft of an update to its administrative manual, the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. The update has been released in draft form to give the public an opportunity to review and provide comments on the revisions. … The public draft of the update to the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition is available on the Office’s website at https://www.copyright.gov/comp3/draft.html
From the summary of Special Counsel Investigations: History, Authority, Appointment and Removal (R44857, Mar. 13, 2019):
The Constitution vests Congress with the legislative power, which includes authority to establish federal agencies and conduct oversight of those entities. Criminal investigations and prosecutions, however, are generally regarded as core executive
functions assigned to the executive branch. Because of the potential conflicts of interest that may arise when the executive branch investigates itself, there have often been calls for criminal investigations by prosecutors with independence from the executive branch.
In response, Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have used both statutory and regulatory mechanisms to establish a process for such inquiries. These frameworks have aimed to balance the competing goals of independence and accountability with respect to inquiries of executive branch officials.
From Strategic Competition and Foreign Policy: What is “Political Warfare”? (IF 11127, Mar. 8, 2019): “Political Warfare” is a term that has recently been reinvigorated by scholars of strategy; it describes the synchronized use of any aspect of national power short of overt conventional warfare — such as intelligence assets, alliance building, financial tools, diplomatic relations, to name a few — to achieve state objectives.
See related CRS Report, Information Warfare: Issues for Congress (R45142, Mar. 5, 2018)
H/T to beSpacific for calling attention to Gov404: The Sunlight Foundation Web Integrity Project’s Censorship Tracker. Gov404 aggregates and verifies examples of the most significant cases of online information censorship on the federal Web since November 2016. The cases come from reporting by the Web Integrity Project team, the news media, and other accountability organizations.