On October 6, the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, following a contentious confirmation battle. Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired in July after three decades on the court.
After the Senate’s deliberations over Kavanaugh, here’s a look at where the public stands on some of the major legal, political and social issues that could come before the justices in the years ahead, based on surveys conducted by Pew Research Center. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Article III of the Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. Notably, it empowers federal courts to hear “cases” and “controversies.” The Constitution further creates a federal judiciary with significant independence, providing federal judges with life tenure and prohibiting diminutions of judges’ salaries. But the Framers also granted Congress the power to regulate the federal courts in numerous ways. For instance, Article III authorizes Congress to determine what classes of “cases” and “controversies” inferior courts have jurisdiction to review. Additionally, Article III’s Exceptions Clause grants Congress the power to make “exceptions” and “regulations” to the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction. Congress sometimes exercises this power by “stripping” federal courts of jurisdiction to hear a class of cases. Congress has gone so far as to eliminate a court’s jurisdiction to review a particular case in the midst of litigation. More generally, Congress may influence judicial resolutions by amending the substantive law underlying particular litigation of interest to the legislature.
The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court exercises as the highest appellate court in the federal judiciary. Appointments are usually infrequent, as a vacancy on the nine-member Court may occur only once or twice, or never at all, during a particular President’s years in office. Under the Constitution, Justices on the Supreme Court receive what can amount to lifetime appointments which, by constitutional design, helps ensure the Court’s independence from the President and Congress.
Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 has been a powerful tool for protecting U.S. intellectual property (IP) rights and the U.S. market from unfair competition for nearly 100 years. The statute empowers the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban imports of goods that inappropriately use U.S. intellectual property. Since it was last amended in 1988, however, new issues have emerged with the law and the Commission’s role in enforcing its provisions. As the economy modernizes and intellectual property enters the digital realm, we examine the ITC and its role in enforcing IP rights and suggest possible ways the ITC can modernize its operations to better confront the challenges of the twenty-first century. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Human trafficking survivors do not typically find the traditional criminal justice system’s punitive outcomes for traffickers to match their views of justice, favoring alternative approaches. Drawing from qualitative interviews with 80 survivors of sex and labor trafficking, this brief documents survivors’ experiences with and perceptions of alternative practices, including procedural, restorative, and transitional justice. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Songwriters and recording artists are legally permitted to get paid for (1) reproductions and public performances of the notes and lyrics they create (the musical works), as well as (2) reproductions, distributions, and certain digital performances of the recorded sound of their voices combined with instruments (the sound recordings). The amount they get paid, as well as their control over their music, depends on market forces, contracts among a variety of private-sector entities, and laws governing copyright and competition policy.
Congress first enacted laws governing music licensing in 1909, when music was primarily distributed through physical media such as sheet music and phonograph records. At the time, some Members of Congress expressed concerns that absent a statutory requirement to make musical works widely available, licensees could use exclusive access to musical works to thwart competition. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) expressed similar concerns in the 1940s, when it entered into consent decrees requiring music publishers to license music to radio broadcast stations.
To combat the global threat of terrorism, countries have passed and implemented numerous laws that inadvertently or intentionally diminished the space for civil society. States conflate terrorism with broader issues of national security, which is then used as a convenient justification to stifle dissent, including civil society actors that aim to hold governments accountable. As the global terror landscape becomes more complex and dire, attacks on the rights to the freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly only increase. This report analyzes the impact of counterterrorism efforts on civic space, examines its manifestations in various socioeconomic and political contexts, and explores various approaches to disentangle and reconcile security and civil society. It features case studies on Australia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Hungary, and India. [Note: contains copyrighted material].