Reacting to an unexpected Supreme Court ruling, Congress cleared a bill in 1996 to restore the prohibition against lying to Congress or the judiciary. The measure (HR 3166—PL 104-292) carved out a broad exception, however, for testimony about legislative proposals and other lobbying activities.
General Government & Civil Service, Federal Contracts & Procurement, Law & Justice, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, & Individual Rights, and Claims against the Government
Sovereign immunity bars an award of interest to an attorney who wins a fee award against the federal government under the 1964 Civil Rights Act — even if the interest is intended to compensate him for the delay in payment.
U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Voters & Voting Rights
The city of Monroe, Georgia, was allowed to use a majority voting system for local elections even though it did not obtain specific approval under the Voting Rights Act to change from a plurality system.
General Government & Civil Service, Census & Population Data, Law & Justice, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, & Individual Rights, Separation of Powers, U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Reapportionment & Redistricting
A 1941 federal law for allocating members of the U.S. House of Representatives is constitutional, the Court ruled, rejecting a challenge by the state of Montana that the statute violates the constitutional guarantee of equal representation, known as 'one person, one vote.'
U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Campaign Finance
An extortion conviction under the Hobbs Act, arising from an elected official's receipt of a campaign contribution, requires a 'quid pro quo,' the realization of some benefit to the contributor, as a condition that the money be given.
Law & Justice, Judicial Jurisdiction, U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Voters & Voting Rights
In two separate opinions on related controversies, the Court said the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended in 1982, applies to elections for judges. The rulings paved the way for major changes in how many states, particularly in the South, elect judges. An estimated forty states use ballots to select some or all of their judges.
Law & Justice, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, & Individual Rights, Freedom of Speech & Press, U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Campaign Finance
Congress cannot limit independent spending by political action committees (PACs) in presidential campaigns, the court ruled 7-2. The court held unconstitutional, as a violation of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, a provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments (PL 93-443) that limited to $1,000 the amount a PAC could spend independently to promote or prevent the election of publicly funded presidential candidates.
General Government & Civil Service, Ethics in Government, U.S. Congress & Politics, Members, and Investigations & Discipline
The constitutional immunity of members of Congress extends also to their aides, if the conduct in question would be a protected legislative act if performed by the member himself; immunity does not shield an aide or member from testifying to a grand jury about acts unconnected with the legislative process.
Environment & Natural Resources, Resources Management, Land Resources & Property Rights, U.S. Congress & Politics, Congress at Work, and General
The Fifth Amendment—which forbids the taking of private property for public use without 'just compensation'—precludes the federal government from demanding that private owners of a pond grant the public free access to the pond that became navigable and subject to federal regulation only after the owners had it dredged and deepened.
Law & Justice, Constitutional Law, Civil Liberties, & Individual Rights, Freedom of Speech & Press, U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and General
The evenly divided court upheld, without opinion, a lower court's ruling that Congress violated the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech when it limited to $1,000 the amount an independent and unauthorized political action committee could spend in a presidential campaign.
U.S. Congress & Politics, Campaigns & Elections, and Reapportionment & Redistricting
The annexation of uninhabited land by a city with a history of discrimination is a change in voting law or practice that must be pre-cleared by the attorney general or a federal court under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The court backed the attorney general's refusal to approve such an annexation by the Alabama city of Pleasant Grove.
General Government & Civil Service, State & Local Government & Intergovernmental Relations, General, U.S. Congress & Politics, and Campaigns & Elections
The city of Lockhart is entitled to federal approval of changes in the way in which members of its City Council are elected at-large to numbered posts on a staggered basis because although those changes may have some discriminatory effect, they have no retrogressive effect on minority voting strength.