Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Natural Born Citizen as President Debate

Since questions have been raised about what it means for a U.S. President to be natural born, the Social Science Research Network is hosting two opposite opinions. Taking a broad view is Michael D. Ramsey from the University of San Diego School of Law in his January 7, 2016 article, "The Original Meaning of 'Natural Born.' " Taking the narrow view is Mary Brigid McManamon in the Catholic University Law Review, v.64,  no. 2 (2015), Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-21, "The Natural Born Citizen Clause as Originally Understood."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State

On January 15, 2016 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report by Specialist in Foreign Policy Legislation Matthew C. Weed entitled A New Authorization for Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State. Since "a number of members of Congress have raised numerous questions and concerns about the President's authority to use military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State," the report "focuses on the several proposals for a new AUMF specifically targeting the Islamic State made during the 113th and 114th Congresses." Included are "a brief review of existing authorities and AUMFs, as well as a discussion of issues related to various provisions included in existing and proposed AUMFs that both authorize and limit presidential use of military force." The appendix section provides " a comparative analysis of similar provisions in new AUMFs proposed in the 113th and 114th Congresses."  

Weed notes that the "report will be updated to reflect congressional activity."

Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons

On January 14, 2016 the Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal entitled Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons by Paul K. Kerr, Analyst in Nonproliferation and Mary Beth Nikitin, Specialist in Nonproliferation. The summary reveals that Pakistan has approximately 110-130 or more nuclear warheads. Despite taking steps in recent years to increase the security of its nuclear arsenal, instability in the area causes some to have concerns especially about the fear of a "radical takeover of the Pakistani government or diversion of material or technology by personnel within Pakistan't nuclear complex." The report also highlights issues for Congress.

Library of Congress Receiving 9/11 Responder Oral History Collection

According to a Dec. 18, 2015 news release, the Library of Congress will receive a collection of oral histories of first responders to the 9/11 attacks on the New York World Trade Center. Donated by Dr. Benjamin Luft, the Edmond Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and director of the Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program who treated the responders. the collection includes "200 oral histories (each one hour to 1.5 hours long) and more than 1,000 digital photographs, manuscript materials, logbooks and indexes involving the personnel who responded to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers and who worked on response to the event, including rescue and recovery work on the building debris pile, over subsequent months." Future installments are expected since this represents only a portion of what Dr. Luft collected.

Additional 9/11 materials are part of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center collections. Between October 2001 and May 2002 ethnographers from around the country sent audio and video recordings documenting peoples' experiences about and reactions to 9/11 to form the "September 11, 2001, Documentary Project."  In addition, recorded StoryCorps personal narratives about 9/11 were donated to their archival collection.

Census Bureau Report on Child Support

On January 19, 2016 the Census Bureau released a report entitled Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2013 containing data from the Child Support Supplement to the April 2014 Current Population Survey. The report "presents a snapshot of custodial parents and child support payments — either legal or informal — that were reported as received from noncustodial parents living outside the home." Highlights include:

  • About half (48.7 percent) of all custodial parents had either legal or informal child support agreements, and custodial mothers were more likely to have agreements (52.3 percent) than custodial fathers (31.4 percent).
  • The aggregate amount of child support due in 2013 was $32.9 billion, a decrease of $14.0 billion from a decade earlier when adjusted to 2013 dollars.
  • About 68.5 percent of the $32.9 billion in child support due in 2013 was reported as received, averaging $3,950 per year per custodial parent who was due support.