Questions tagged [congress]

Questions about the U.S. Congress – the federal legislative body consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate (also [us-senate]).

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Is it illegal for Congress to pass an unconstitutional law?

If Congress passes a law and SCOTUS strikes it down, are there any consequences for Congress other than the law not being enforceable?
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Durability of Federal legislation protecting abortion rights in US

Recently the Supreme Court of the United States, through Dobbs, has restored the right of States to prohibit abortion. Supporters of reproductive freedoms have since renewed calls upon Congress to ...
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If Congress passed a bill written in a language other than English, would it be valid?

Suppose Congress passed a bill written in Spanish and the President signed it. Everything about the bill and the procedures by which it was written and passed were completely normal, other than the ...
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Why there isn't any law resulting from the Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019?

It was stated that no later than 2 years, law must be created according to this bill. I can't find the law anywhere. Talking about this bill: H.R.2231 - Algorithmic Accountability Act of 2019
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Can bills (the documents of laws/legislation) have pictures? Or text only? Can images become part of the legal code?

Asking out of plain curiosity. I tried googling, but just couldn't find a combination of keywords that didn't bring up irrelevant results. Laws become law when the congress approves of a "bill&...
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If Roe is overturned, could Congress still protect abortion rights?

If the Supreme Court does decide to overturn Roe and leave abortion up to the states, would passing the Women's Health Protection Act allow Congress to pre-empt any state laws prohibiting abortion, or ...
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Is there double jeopardy protection for a Contempt of Congress conviction?

So a person is subpoenaed by Congress to provide documents and give a deposition. The person refuses, is indicted and convicted. Can the person then be subpoenaed again for documents and testimony and ...
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Can the US Congress or Executive unilaterally change interstate compacts after they're established?

There are some notable compacts such as the Great Lakes compact, Atlantic Fisheries compact, etc… that seem to require a large amount of authority to enforce in practice. Theoretically it makes sense ...
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Members of Congress are subject to a host of restrictions that carefully distinguish between their official functions and campaign functions

This question stems from an answer to another question here. In it, a DOJ official is quoted as saying: Members of Congress are subject to a host of restrictions that carefully distinguish between ...
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Can Congress disqualify people from Federal office?

Could the US Congress enact legislation to prevent specific individuals from being elected to federal government offices?
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If a House member is barred from the House for not wearing a face mask, does that House member's constituents lose their representation in Congress?

I am wondering if a House member is barred from entering the House side of the U.S. Capitol Building for him/her choosing not wearing a face mask, while that House member is barred from the House side ...
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What does "Congress having occupied the field" mean?

I've run across the phrase "Congress having occupied the field" in legal writings recently. Can someone explain this? My question relates to The Common Law Right of Access to Public Records....
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In the US Reconciliation procedure, wherein the text allows for separate bills for revenue, spending & debt for each year?

In the Reconciliation procedure, as passed in the bill here: Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Wherein the exact text here is the interpretation that bills each for revenue, ...
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Can someone plead the fifth regarding impeachment?

Recently, former president Trump turned down the opportunity to testify at his own impeachment hearing. However, given the magnitude of the charges, could he be compelled to testify by subpoena? Or ...
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(U.S.A.) Removing senators not from your state

Background example: People in California want to remove a senator from Kentucky. Can this be performed? How can it be performed?
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Impeach Pence if he deviates while counting presidential ballots

If Vice President Pence deviates from simply announcing the ballots from the Electoral College on January 6, 2020, and instead attempts to unilaterally reject some ballots, can the House of ...
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Can states legally leave entire areas unrepresented in Congress?

Suppose, for example, that the Utah state legislature decides Salt Lake City shouldn't get US House representation, so they draw the congressional districts such that no district's boundaries include ...
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Can the US Congress subpoena witnesses for any arbitrary reason?

This question was prompted by the headline on October 15, 2020 that the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to subpoena the CEO of Twitter for suppressing certain political content. This ...
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Will the next Congress (2021) be sworn in on a Sunday?

The 20th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives ...
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Have US Congressional reapportionment formulas ever been codified?

Over the centuries there have been several methods used for calculating the number of representatives each state gets in Congress. From what I have read, though, the results of the apportionment are ...
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How can the US House of Representatives transition to be elected by proportional representation? Would editing "PL 2 USC 2c" work?

Here is context for my question: I am a student studying political science. I am researching policy that could be used to dismantle the stranglehold that the Democratic and Republican parties have on ...
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2 answers
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What ever happened to the Nixon Pocket veto case?

What ever happened to the Nixon Pocket veto case? This is the case where members of congress sued over President Nixon's recess veto of a spending bill.
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In the show "Designated Survivor," all Congressman but 1 are killed, and the President desperately wants to nominate a new Congress. Why?

Why is it so important to the excecutive branch that there is a full Congress? Can action not be taken by the sole remaining Congressman, or is the problem that this Congressman would have way too ...
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Was it illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of the State of the Union address?

President Trump has claimed it was illegal for Nancy Pelosi to tear up her copy of his State of the Union address, as it was an official document. Is there any law stating that it is illegal to tear ...
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A better tool for reading law than congress.gov

I am looking at the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, and interested in discovering how much spending the budget covers. Early in the bill, there is a reference to existing legislation: "--Section 251(c)...
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Under what rule do bills etc. die (US Congress)?

It is generally accepted that when a bill (for example) is introduced in one house of Congress, it must be approved by both houses before that Congress adjourns. A bill approved by one house cannot be ...
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Legal consequences of complying with a house subpoena?

I keep seeing in the news that, at the president's order, people are ignoring subpoenas from the house of representatives, citing executive privilege. So what legal bite does the president have if ...
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Is there a rule preventing campaign rallies on the House floor?

Is there a law or a House rule preventing House of Representatives members using their time on the House floor, or committee floor, to hold election campaign events?
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SCIF intrusion by members of Congress

Having some tangential experience with Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) and how seriously they are taken, I was shocked to hear that one was stormed in Congress by people carrying ...
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Will a contempt of congress lawsuit actually reach the merits?

Hypothetical Scenario: Kellyanne Conway is subpoenaed by the House Oversight committee for Hatch Act violations. Conway appears but tells the chairman that he is a fraudulent partisan grandstander, a ...
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4 votes
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Why can't Robert Mueller give the report to congress?

With the recent vote to hold William Barr in contempt of congress, I have one main question. Why can't Robert Mueller just give the report to congress? It's obvious that I don't understand the full ...
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Congress and Trump's Tax Filings [closed]

I am very interested in Congress subpoenaing the IRS for Trump's individual Tax Return for the last 6 years. I realize they have oversight. But it would look to me as an one outside of the law ...
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What are the legal Ramifications if any, of ratifying the last remaining Un-ratified amendment of the Constitution? [closed]

There were originally 12 articles proposed for ratification in the "bill of rights" ten were ratified soon after. One was ratified in 1992 and the remaining proposal has no deadline or date of ...
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Federal prison and congressional testimony

Assume an individual has been convicted and sentenced for United States Federal crimes and is serving his sentence in the appropriate Federal prison. Then, he is subpoenaed to testify, under oath, ...
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Is there a gap in the office of Speaker of the House?

In the current Congressional elections, the control of the House of Representatives is changing from one party to another, and the current Speaker did not run for re-election. In this situation, is ...
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Is there any way a president could be voted in by popular vote more than two terms?

If everybody was to vote on their ballot for a United States president who had already served two terms and won the election what would happen?
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The five-year statute of limitations on lying to Congress

Part of the point of bringing someone before Congress is that they're forced to tell the truth or risk perjury charges. However, the charges only seem to apply if Congress can quickly dig up proof of ...
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Can Congress legislate the structure of court rulings?

Suppose Congress, in the interest of keeping rulings easier to read and interpret, passes a law that says the judicial branch at large must provide a summary of its findings that does not directly ...
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How is the "Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017" constitutional?

H.R.1865, known as the "Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017", recently passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by president trump. I'm not a ...
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If legislative intent is considered when interpreting laws, why don't lawmakers attach a note to the law explaining their intentions?

When a judge is deciding whether a law applies to a particular case, they often look at historical documents or transcripts of legislative proceedings to determine whether the lawmakers would've ...
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What is the legal penalty for "contempt of Congress"?

In reading a recent article that suggested Steve Bannon might be found in "contempt of congress", I realized that there's no information on what the penalty for that might be, unlike the statutorily ...
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What is the extent of legal power of a USA Congressional inquiry?

When a US Senator or Congressperson poses a question to a private company about some behavior or action of the company, does that carry any legal weight? In other words, is the company required to ...
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Who would declare a law unconstitutional if the Supreme Court couldn't?

Let's say the US Congress is passing a law. They are afraid that it would be declared unconstitutional in court, so they add an addendum saying "It is illegal for the Supreme Court to try this ...
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Why Was The 17th Amendment Necessary?

Specifically, why did it need to be a Constitutional Amendment instead of a regular law? The Constitution, under Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1, states that: The Times, Places and Manner of ...
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Can Congress dissolve the other branches?

Congress has the power to amend the Constitution. In theory, could they pass an amendment repealing Articles II and III, effectively dissolving the other two branches? This is clearly contrary to the ...
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Congressional History and Legislative Intent of Statute 18 U.S.C.1832

To start off, I am only a high school student helping a friend of mine with a little predicament. She has asked me to research about the Congressional history and the legislative intent of a statute: ...
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Can congressional leaders "expel" elected members of Congress?

According to a Washington Post article about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, in the spotlight for an apparent history of sexual relations with teenagers, congressmen are trying to... pressure ...
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What happens if Congress blocks funding for a President's military order?

There is talk of Congress passing legislation to block funding for a military strike on North Korea. My question is, what happens if the president orders an attack assuming it is within his authority?...
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Does Congress have the authority to grant citizenship to an individual?

The US House Committee on Appropriations just passed a resolution to grant citizenship to Charlie Gard, a British infant. Of course, the resolution is only part of a much larger bill that would need ...
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Why are Congressional Democrats suing the president? Isn't prosecution its own job?

I heard Congressional Democrats are filing an emoluments lawsuit against Trump. I don't get this. Wasn't prosecution of "high crimes and misdemeanors" (aka impeachment) in Congress's own job ...
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