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Category Archives: Congress

Supreme Court rules in case watched for impact on Trump pardons

Politico: “The Supreme Court ruled Monday in a closely watched “double jeopardy” case, issuing a decision that preserves states’ power to limit the impact of future pardons by President Donald Trump or his successors. In a 7-2 ruling, the justices declined to disturb a longstanding legal principle known as dual sovereignty, which allows state governments to bring their own charges against defendants already tried or convicted in federal court, or vice versa. Lawyers for an Alabama man facing a gun charge in federal court after pleading guilty to the same offense in state court — resulting in a nearly three-year extension of his prison sentence — failed in their effort to persuade the justices to hold that the Constitution’s prohibition on double jeopardy prevents such follow-on prosecutions.

The federal government had argued that overturning the dual-sovereignty doctrine would upend the country’s federalist system, and that the phenomenon of overcriminalization makes states’ ability to preserve their own sphere of influence and prevent federal encroachment on law enforcement more important. Democrats and others bracing for potential pardons by Trump of individuals convicted in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation were tracking the case, Terance Gamble v. U.S., because a decision overturning the dual sovereigns rule could have complicated efforts by state prosecutors to blunt the impact of any attempt Trump may make to grant clemency to those targeted by Mueller’s team….”

The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives

CRS Report via LC – The Impeachment Process in the House of Representatives. June 14, 2019: “Under the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives has the power to formally charge a federal officer with wrongdoing, a process known as impeachment. The House impeaches an individual when a majority agrees to a House resolution containing explanations… Continue Reading

FOIA to DOJ Seeking Legal Analysis Used By Treasury to Withhold Tax Return Info from Congress

American Oversight – Trump’s Tax Returns: “According to the Treasury Department, Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s refusal to comply with a House committee’s request for the president’s tax returns is based on a Justice Department legal analysis — even though the IRS issued a memorandum concluding that such documents must be produced unless there is a claim of… Continue Reading

In Court, Facebook Blames Users for Destroying Their Own Right to Privacy

The Intercept: “In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat before members of both houses of Congress and told them his company respected the privacy of the roughly two billion people who use it. “Privacy” remained largely undefined throughout Zuckerberg’s televised flagellations, but he mentioned the concept more than two dozen times, including when he… Continue Reading

Transparency Caucus features tools to track legislative information

Alex Howell [includes video of the forum]: “On June 7, the Transparency Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives hosted a remarkable forum inside of the United States Capitol that featured ten presentations from government officials and members of civil society on innovative tools and technologies. Following is a run down of who spoke and… Continue Reading

The House Streamlines Subpoena Enforcement

LawFare: “The House of Representatives adopted a resolution on June 11 authorizing Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary, to go to court to pursue civil enforcement of subpoenas issued to Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. Importantly, however, the measure also makes changes that will… Continue Reading

Regulating Big Tech: Legal Implications

CRS Legal Sidebar via LC – Regulating Big Tech: Legal Implications. June 11, 2019. “Amidst growing debate over the legal framework governing social media sites and other technology companies, several Members of Congress have expressed interest in expanding current regulations of the major American technology companies, often referred to as “Big Tech.” This Legal Sidebar… Continue Reading

Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2001-2018

CRS Report via LC – Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in House Member Offices, 2001-2018. June 11, 2019. “Levels of pay for congressional staff are a source of recurring questions among Members of Congress, congressional staff, and the public.There may be interest in congressional pay data from multiple perspectives, including assessment of the costs… Continue Reading

Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, FY2001-FY2018

CRS Report via LC – Staff Pay Levels for Selected Positions in Senators’ Offices, FY2001-FY2018. June 11, 2019. “Levels of pay for congressional staff are a source of recurring questions among Members of Congress, congressional staff, and the public.There may be interest in congressional pay data from multiple perspectives, including assessment of the costs of… Continue Reading

America Adrift – How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want

Center for American Progress Study, America Adrift, May 5, 2019 – “These days, foreign policy and national security publications are filled with stark warnings about the demise of the U.S.-led rules-based international order—the system of global alliances and institutions that helped advance peace and prosperity for America and its allies in the aftermath of World… Continue Reading

The Self-Destruction of American Power

Via Axios: “The July/August issue of Foreign Affairs offers what editor Gideon Rose calls “an autopsy of the last decades of American global leadership — the years when U.S. elites squandered the inheritance and good name bequeathed to them.” Fareed Zakaria on “The Self-Destruction of American Power”: Sometime in the last two years, American hegemony… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania identity theft case trends

PA Courts: “Over the last five years, Pennsylvania has seen a gradual decrease in identity theft cases. Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent use of another person’s identifying information (social security number, bank account, birth certificate etc.). The infographic below highlights key data including defendant demographics, identity theft case counts and outcomes as well… Continue Reading