Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee

Congressional Research Service. February 6, 2017.

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. Political considerations typically play an important role in Supreme Court appointments. It is often assumed, for example, that Presidents will be inclined to select a nominee whose political or ideological views appear compatible with their own. [PDF format, 27 pages].

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EPA’s and BLM’s Methane Rules

Congressional Research Service. February 3, 2017.

In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) promulgated separate regulations intended to control “methane emissions” at crude oil and natural gas production facilities. Some stakeholders have argued that the EPA and BLM rules are duplicative and outside of the agencies’ statutory authorities. On January 30, 2017, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act was introduced to overturn the BLM rule. H.J.Res. 36 would vacate the rule and preempt the agency from promulgating similar proposals in the future. [PDF format, 2 pages].

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House Committee on Ethics: A Brief History of Its Evolution and Jurisdiction

Congressional Research Service. February 1, 2017.

This report briefly outlines the background of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, including the creation of both the Select Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Ethics. The report also focuses on various jurisdictional and procedural changes that the committee has experienced since 1967 and discusses the committee’s current jurisdiction and procedures. [PDF format, 32 pages].

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