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Research & Litigation

Current Legal Topics: Habeas Corpus Rights in Thirteen Countries

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
Under the concept of habeas corpus as developed in Anglo-American jurisprudence, persons who are deprived of their liberty have the right to challenge through judicial inquiry the legality of their arrest or detention.

The right to challenge one's arrest or detention is now incorporated in international human rights standards. This right may be exercised through the extraordinary process of habeas corpus in the countries which belong to the Common Law system, or through the normal procedural process, including appeals and motions for retrial in the civil law countries.

This report from the Law Library of Congress analyzes the right available to persons in Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Kingdom, and Yemen to challenge the legality of their arrest or detention.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Current Legal Topics: Congressional Access to National Security Information

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The Law Library of Congress is proud to present a new article focusing on executive privilege. It is available in its entirety in PDF on our new U.S. Constitution website.

Louis Fisher, "Congressional Access to National Security Information," 45 Harv. J. on Legis. 219 (2008). When invoking executive privilege, administrations often claim that their justification for withholding documents or testimony from Congress is particularly strong when the subject is national security.

This article argues that such a claim mischaracterizes the President's constitutional role and fails to acknowledge the independent institutional needs of Congress to have access to national security information to fulfill the constitutional duties of enacting legislation, conducting oversight, and protecting the system of checks and balances. Also, judicial access to national security information has increased dramatically in the last half century to enforce the separation of powers and vindicate individual rights.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Current Legal Topics: Previous Sotomayor Hearings Added

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The Law Library of Congress added Sonia Sotomayor's two previous confirmation hearings in PDF to the Congressional Documents section of the website on the Supreme Court Nominee. Additional web resources on Sotomayor were also added.

The site contains selected resources including articles and books by Sotomayor, Congressional documents, cases, and web resources.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Current Legal Topics: National Security Whistleblowers

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The Law Library of Congress is proud to present a new statement focusing on National Security Whistleblowers. The statement is available in its entirety in PDF on our new U.S. Constitution website.

Statement by Louis Fisher, appearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, "The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009," May 14, 2009.

Congress has several times passed legislation to protect agency whistleblowers, enabling them to report to their agencies and to Congress instances of misconduct, illegality, waste, fraud, and abuse. For various reasons, agency employees who report on such operations are subject to reprisals and have few procedural protections, either within the agencies or within the courts. Moreover, except for legislation in 1998, the field of national security has been largely excluded from these statutory efforts. The purpose of this hearing was to focus on H.R. 1507, establishing better protections for national security whistleblowers.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Current Legal Topics: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, May

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, a month to celebrate the contributions Asian/Pacific Americans have made to American history, society and culture.

Visit our website to read more about Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month from the Law Library of Congress.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Current Legal Topics: Jewish American Heritage Month, May

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
May is Jewish American Heritage Month. It is a month to celebrate the contributions Jewish Americans have made to America since they first set foot in New Amsterdam in 1654.

Visit our website to read more about Jewish American Heritage Month from the Law Library of Congress.
Categories: Research & Litigation

The Netherlands - New Stimulus Package

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The Netherlands is the latest addition to the Financial Stimulus Plans: Recent Developments in Selected Countries from the Law Library of Congress.

This series of reports summarizes the recent developments in the proposal or implementation of financial and economic stimulus packages in selected foreign countries. In addition to the Netherlands, they cover the following jurisdictions: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Constitutional Interpretation and War Powers Resolution Sections Added to the U.S. Constitution Website

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The Law Library of Congress is proud to present two new articles focusing on U.S. constitutional issues. Both articles are available in their entirety in PDF on our U.S. Constitution web page, which includes one book, twenty-four articles, and six statements to Congress.

Constitutional Interpretation
Louis Fisher, "Interpreting the Constitution: More than What the Supreme Court Says," Extensions, Fall 2008. In a democratic society, questions of constitutional law require a political dialogue that involves all three branches of the national government, all fifty states, and the general public. If the meaning of the Constitution depended solely on unelected judges, popular sovereignty would be undermined and replaced by judicial, hyper-technical interpretations increasingly alien to the public. There is no historical support for the view that judges are better positioned to safeguard minority and individual rights. Mutual respect among the branches and between the branches and the public provide continuing legitimacy and life to the Constitution.

War Powers Resolution
Louis Fisher, "The Baker-Christopher War Powers Commission," 39 Pres. Stud. Q. 128 (2009). In July 2008, the National War Powers Commission recommended the repeal of the War Powers Resolution and its replacement with the War Powers Consultation Act. Co-chaired by former Secretaries of State James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher, the commission report promised "equal respect" to the legislative and executive branches. In fact, it greatly strengthens the President's capacity to initiate war and weakens congressional and public control. Instead of addressing the framers' fear of placing the war power in the hands of a single executive, the report claims that the U.S. Constitution is "ambiguous" about war powers and that federal courts "for the most part" have declined jurisdiction over war powers cases. Both assertions are false.

Categories: Research & Litigation

United Kingdom: Pre-Charge Detention for Terrorist Suspects

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The United Kingdom has faced the issue of terrorism for several decades. It has more recently faced the issue of legislating against the terrorist threat whilst complying with the European Convention on Human Rights. One of the UK's anti-terrorism measures is the pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects for up to twenty eight days without charge. During the summer of 2008 the government attempted to further extend this period to forty two days, but were ultimately unsuccessful. The continued efforts of the government to protect the national security of the UK whilst protecting the civil liberties of its citizens is an ongoing struggle with no clear solution.

This Law Library of Congress report contains information on: the current law governing pre-charge detention of terrorists, requirements for pre-charge detention, the extension of pre-charge detention, provisions of the counter-terrorism bill, oversight, reasons for the extension of pre-charge detention, preventive detention, criticisms, compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, alternatives to pre-charge detention, and the use of intercept evidence.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Financial Stimulus Plans: Recent Developments in Selected Countries

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
In the context of connectivity among nations, the Law Library of Congress presents a series of reports summarizing the recent developments in the proposal or implementation of financial and economic stimulus packages in selected foreign countries. They cover the following jurisdictions: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. These reports, whether long or short, serve one purpose: to help bring a comparative and global perspective to our understanding of the formulation, implementation, and ultimate impact of the current $789 billion U.S economic stimulus bill.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Lincoln and the Law

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
The Abraham Lincoln historical collection of the Law Library of Congress vividly illustrates three periods in which the law played a prominent part of the Lincoln era: Lincoln the Lawyer, Habeas Corpus and the War Powers of the President, and The Assassination: Trials. Each era includes the full text of several items from the Rare Book Collection of the Law Library of Congress.

Visit our website to view these newly digitized materials.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Japan: WWII POW and Forced Labor Compensation Cases

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
This article from the Law Library of Congress is available in PDF on our website.

Japanese courts have been dealing with post-WWII compensation cases from foreigners since approximately 1990. In the cases of POWs, forced laborers, and comfort women, some lower courts have awarded compensation, but most of them have not. There are many legal obstacles for plaintiffs in such cases, including: sovereign immunity; statutes of limitations; and waiver of claims under the San Francisco Peace Treaty. There have been developments in each legal theory and some lower courts have departed from the traditional views and removed one or more of these obstacles. More recently, some plaintiffs sued the Japanese government based on international law. Though these developments became irrelevant to post-WWII compensation cases after the Supreme Court rejected the claims by applying a provision of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 2007, they are still worth review in order to obtain the whole picture of post-WWII compensation cases.

To provide a broader view, this article discusses Japanese plaintiffs claims against the Japanese government. They were rejected under the theory of war damages. This article also mentions what and how much the Japanese government paid to other countries to compensate damages caused by WWII.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Australia: Terrorism Laws: Questioning Warrants

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
This Law Library of Congress report on Questioning Warrants is the final of three on Australian terrorism laws.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has the power to detain and question persons in relation to terrorism. In some instances, this detention extends to pre-charge detention. The ASIO may operate under either a Questioning Warrant or a Questioning and Detention Warrant. Pursuant to these warrants, the ASIO may question, and in some circumstances detain, a person who they believe has information that is relevant to a terrorist offense.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Australia: Terrorism Laws: Preventative Detention

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
This Law Library of Congress report on Preventative Detention Orders and Prohibited Contact Orders is the second of three on Australian terrorism laws.

Preventative Detention Orders and Prohibited Contact Orders are two mechanisms available under the Australian criminal law for addressing terrorism concerns. A Preventative Detention Order permits detention of a person for a short period of time (up to forty-eight hours), while a Prohibited Contact Order prohibits the detained person from contacting individuals named in the order. Both may be sought by the Australian Federal Police, subject to certain procedural rights of the person detained or prohibited from making contact.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Pakistan: Musharraf's Resignation

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
This Law Library of Congress report contains information on: 2007 the year of problems, the general elections, impeachment, the election of a new president, and the presidential candidates.

On October 12, 1999, General Pervez Musharraf staged a coup d'etat and became the Chief Executive of Pakistan. He then appointed himself President in 2001. In 2007, following his re-election as President and while the Pakistan Supreme Court was considering a petition on the constitutional validity of the election, he suspended the Constitution, dismissed the Supreme Court, and declared a State of Emergency. The Election Commission then confirmed his re-election. After being sworn in for a five-year term as President, Musharraf terminated the State of Emergency in November 2007 and announced that a general election would be held in February 2008. Musharraf's party, the PML-Q, was badly defeated in the election, with the slain leader Benazir Bhutto's party, the PPP, winning the largest number of seats and the PML-N winning a close second in the National Assembly. After being threatened with impeachment by these two parties, Musharraf announced his resignation from the presidency on August 18, 2008. Mohammedmian Soomro, Chairman of the Senate, took over as acting President, a responsibility given to him by the Constitution, until Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the PPP and widower of Benazir Bhutto, was elected President on September 6, 2008.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Australia: Terrorism Laws Control Orders

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
Australia has a legislative basis for Control Orders, which are used to impose obligations, prohibitions, or restrictions on persons as deemed necessary to protect the public from terrorist acts. Control Orders may be requested by the Australian Federal Police. The procedures governing Control Orders, the types of controls that may be imposed, and applicable time frames are set forth in the Criminal Code Act.

This Law Library of Congress report contains information on: issuance of Control Orders, serving a Control Order, applicable time periods, persons below the age of 18, terms of a Control Order, rights of those subject to a Control Order, complaints, and offenses in relation to Control Orders.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Russian Federation: Legal Aspect of War in Georgia

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
This report reviews legal aspects of Russia's invasion into Georgia in August 2008 and Russia's recognition of Georgia's separatist enclaves' independence. The report includes an analysis of relevant aspects of international law and Russian domestic law, as well as an evaluation of Russia's legal justification for its actions. The report also provides historic background of the conflict and commentaries on laws regarding the deployment of the Russian military abroad.

This Law Library of Congress report contains information on: the historic background of the conflict, laws on the use of the Russian military abroad, legal grounds for the Russian military presence in Georgia, Russia's "Protection of Citizens" justification, and the legal justification and consequences of recognizing the separatists' independence. Visit our Web site to read the report.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Children's Rights: United Kingdom

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
This report provides a basic overview of the laws regarding children's rights in a number of fields. The United Kingdom has a large number of laws protecting children and guaranteeing them basic rights - both for areas in which there is now an 'entitlement' such as education, as well as in areas in which they need rights to ensure protection, such as in the criminal justice system. Given the number and complexity of these laws this report provides a broad overview of legislation and common law as it applies to children's rights in England and Wales only.

The Children's Rights: United Kingdom report from the Law Library of Congress contains information on: the implementation of International Rights of the Child, child health and social welfare, education, child labor and exploitation, sale and trafficking of children, juvenile justice, and concluding remarks.

Visit our Web site to read the report. With the publication of this report, the Law Library of Congress concludes its publication of the comprehensive report Children's Rights: International and National Laws and Practices.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Children's Rights: Russian Federation

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
Protection of children's rights is a serious problem for Russia, particularly because of the worsening demographic situation and progressive involvement of youngsters in criminal and other underground activities. Several presidential programs, together with major pieces of legislation, address this issue, which is at the center of domestic public discussions; because of insufficient budget financing and restrictions on work of nongovernmental organizations, however, legislative declarations remain largely unimplemented. It is expected that the newly created institution of a Children's Rights Ombudsman and introduction of the long delayed juvenile justice system will improve the situation. This paper analyzes legislation that regulates the protection of children's rights and evaluates government attempts to enforce relevant laws.

The Children's Rights: Russian Federation report from the Law Library of Congress contains information on: the implementation of International Rights of the Child, child health and social welfare, education, child labor and exploitation, sale and trafficking of children, juvenile justice, and concluding remarks. Visit our Web site to read the report.
Categories: Research & Litigation

Children's Rights: Nicaragua

Law Library of Congress: Research Reports - Wed, 06/18/2014 - 3:00pm
Nicaragua has issued many legislative enactments to comply with the international legal instruments to which it has subscribed. Chief among them are: the inclusion of the Convention on the Right of the Child as an express constitutional mandate; the promulgation of the Code of Childhood and Adolescence and the General Law on Education; extensive amendments to the Penal Code protecting minors; adoption of a new General Law on Health with its Program of Comprehensive Care for Women, Children, and Adolescents; and creation of a new Labor Code, raising the minimum working age and protecting young workers from being exploited.

The Children's Rights: Nicaragua report from the Law Library of Congress contains information on: the implementation of International Rights of the Child, child health and social welfare, education, child labor and exploitation, sale and trafficking of children, juvenile justice, and concluding remarks. Visit our Web site to read the report.
Categories: Research & Litigation

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