|04/27/2010||Whether the Criminal Provisions of the Violence Against Women Act Apply to Otherwise Covered Conduct When the Offender and Victim Are the Same Sex||The criminal provisions of the Violence Against Women Act apply to otherwise covered conduct when the offender and victim are the same sex.|
|04/19/2010||Constitutional Concerns Presented by Proposed Orderly Liquidation Authority Panel||
The Orderly Liquidation Authority Panel that would be authorized by section 202 of the Committee Print of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 would have independent jurisdiction to determine the statutory permissibility of petitions issued by the Secretary of the Treasury to appoint the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver for certain systemically important financial companies that are in default or in danger of default. If this Panel—a bankruptcy court tribunal composed of three judges from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware who are appointed by the Chief Judge of that court—were deemed to be a part of the Executive Branch, its exercise of this jurisdiction would raise both Appointments Clause and separation of powers concerns.
If the Panel instead were deemed to be a part of the Judicial Branch, the Appointments Clause concerns would be mitigated, if not resolved, but the separation of powers concerns would be heightened.
The Panel could be located within the Judicial Branch while addressing both the Appointments Clause and separation of powers concerns if Congress were to vest jurisdiction to review receivership petitions in an Article III court, with that court authorized to refer such petitions to the Panel and to withdraw referrals under appropriate circumstances, or if the Panel were to consist of Article III judges rather than bankruptcy judges. This structure, however, would likely prevent the Panel from adjudicating petitions where the financial company consents to the appointment of the FDIC as receiver and thus does not present a justiciable case or controversy.
|02/23/2010||Department of Justice Views on the Proposed Constitution Drafted by the Fifth Constitutional Convention of the United States Virgin Islands||
The following memorandum was initially drafted in the Office of Legal Counsel at the request of the Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. It analyzes several features of the proposed constitution of the U.S. Virgin Islands (“USVI”), including: (1) the absence of an express recognition of United States sovereignty and the supremacy of federal law; (2) provisions for a special election on the USVI’s territorial status; (3) provisions conferring legal advantages on certain groups defined by place and timing of birth, timing of residency, or ancestry; (4) residence requirements for certain offices; (5) provisions guaranteeing legislative representation of certain geographic areas; (6) provisions addressing territorial waters and marine resources; (7) imprecise language in certain provisions of the proposed constitution's bill of rights; (8) the possible need to repeal certain federal laws if the proposed USVI constitution is adopted; and (9) the effect of congressional action or inaction on the proposed constitution.
|01/04/2010||Census Confidentiality and the PATRIOT Act||
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 does not require the Secretary of Commerce to disclose census information to federal law enforcement or national security officers where such disclosure would otherwise be prohibited by the Census Act.
|12/16/2009||The Attorney General’s Authority in Certifying Whether a State Has Satisfied the Requirements for Appointment of Competent Counsel for Purposes of Capital Conviction Review Proceedings||
Statutory provisions originally enacted as section 107(a) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and now codified as chapter 154 of title 28, may be construed to permit the Attorney General to exercise his delegated authority to define the term “competent” within reasonable bounds and independent of the counsel competency standards a State itself establishes, and to apply that definition in determining whether to certify that a state is eligible for special procedures in federal habeas corpus proceedings involving review of state capital convictions.
|12/08/2009||Whether Subsection 104(b)(4) of the Clean Air Act Permits the Receipt of Monetary Donations||
Subsection 104(b)(4) of the Clean Air Act does not permit the EPA to accept and use donations of money.
Subsection 104(b)(4) of the Clean Air Act permits the EPA to accept items of personal property (other than money), such as an automobile, so long as the property in question would be received for use directly in the anti-pollution research authorized by section 104.
|12/07/2009||Applicability of the Emoluments Clause and the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act to the President’s Receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize||
The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution does not apply to the President’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act does not bar the President from accepting the Peace Prize without congressional consent.
|11/24/2009||Whether the Ten-Year Minimum Sentence in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(b)(i) Applies to Semiautomatic Assault Weapons||
Semiautomatic assault weapons are no longer among the firearms to which the ten-year minimum sentence in section 924(c)(1)(B)(i) of title 18 applies.
|10/23/2009||Applicability of Section 163 of Division B of Public Law 111-68 to Payments in Satisfaction of Pre-existing Contractual Obligations||
Section 163 of Division B (“Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2010”) of Public Law 111-68 does not direct or authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Development to breach a pre-existing binding contractual obligation to make payments to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now or its affiliates, subsidiaries, or allied organizations where doing so would give rise to contractual liability.
|10/23/2009||Removability of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects||
The Federal Coordinator for the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects serves at the pleasure of the President and thus may be removed at the President’s will.