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Congressional Authority to Require State Courts to Use Certain Procedures in Products Liability Cases

Congress may enact legislation that requires state courts to submit the determination of the amount of punitive damage awards in products liability cases to judges rather than juries if it also enacts federal law supplying the substantive law to be applied in such cases.

Legislation that does not enact a substantive law of products liability, but simply attempts to prescribe directly the state court procedures to be followed in products liability cases arising under state law raises significant Tenth Amendment questions. Given the current state of Tenth Amendment junsprudence, however, it is unlikely that a court would invalidate such a statute.

In deciding whether to propose legislation that would impose procedural requirements on state court proceedings, the Department should give due consideration to the federalism concerns that would be raised, as required by section 5(a) of Executive Order No. 12612.

Investigative Authority Vested in the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation

The Inspector General of the Department of Transportation has the same broad authority to investigate fraud against Department programs and operations that the investigative units transferred into the Office of Inspector General possessed when the Inspector General Act of 1978 became law.

Garnishment Under the Child Support Enforcement Act of Compensation Payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs

Disability or other compensation paid to a veteran by the Department of Veterans Affairs is subject to garnishment under the Child Support Enforcement Act when, in order to receive such compensation, the veteran has waived receipt of all of the military retired pay to which he or she would otherwise be entitled.

Availability of the Judgment Fund for the Payment of Judgments or Settlements in Suits Brought Against the Commodity Credit Corporation Under the Federal Tort Claims Act

The Judgment Fund, the permanent appropriation established pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 1304, is not available for the payment of judgments or settlements in suits brought against the Commodity Credit Corporation under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Review of Final Order in Alien Employer Sanctions Cases

The Immigration and Naturalization Service cannot appeal to the Attorney General or seek judicial review of a final order in an alien employer sanctions case under 8 U.S.C. § 1324a.

Preparation of Slip Laws From Hand-Enrolled Legislation

The National Archives and Records Administration may not make any editorial changes in the content of a statute, no matter how minor, including spelling or punctuation changes.

The National Archives and Records Administration may make changes in typeface and type style, and other such changes that do not alter the content of a statute.

Ethical Considerations Regarding Charitable or Political Activities of Department Spouses

Statutes and regulations impose no restrictions on the charitable or political activities of the spouses of Department of Justice officials, but officials must ensure that knowledge about their spouses’ fundraising activities will not affect their impartial judgment with respect to Department business.

Scope of Procurement Priority Accorded to the Federal Prison Industries Under 18 U.S.C. § 4124

The procurement priority accorded to “products” of the Federal Prison Industries under 18 U.S.C § 4124 does not include services.

Extraterritorial Effect of the Posse Comitatus Act

The Posse Comitatus Act does not apply outside the territory of the United States.

Although some language in Department of Defense regulations suggests that certain restrictions on the use of military assistance apply outside the land area of the United States, the better view is to read those regulations consistently with provisions in the underlying statute, passed subsequently to the Posse Comitatus Act, stating that no limitations beyond those imposed by the Posse Comitatus Act were intended to be enacted.

Expert Witness Agreements Between the Department of Justice and Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs

As a general matter, employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs may enter into expert witness agreements with the Department of Justice for testimony that is unrelated to their official duties, so long as the requirements of 18 U.S.C § 205 are observed.

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