The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 is a United States federal law which established a comprehensive national program for the safe, permanent disposal of highly radioactive wastes. During the first 40 years that nuclear waste was being created in the United States, no legislation was enacted to manage itsRead More →

The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress signed into law by US President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. With its ten-letter abbreviation (USA PATRIOT) expanded, the Act’s full title is “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act ofRead More →

An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court“; plural, amici curiae) is someone, who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case; and is typically presentedRead More →

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), is a landmark decision issued in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized or restricted access to abortions. The Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have anRead More →

The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often bitter 1787–88 battle over ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and crafted to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add to the Constitution specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights, clear limitations on the government’sRead More →

The Stamp Act of 1765 (short title Duties in American Colonies Act 1765; 5 George III, c. 12) was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain that imposed a direct tax on the Thirteen Colonies and required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying anRead More →

The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is an American legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency. The bill was first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001, S. 1291 by United States Senators Dick Durbin (D- Illinois) and Orrin Hatch (R- Utah), andRead More →

The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was an American legal case in July 1925 in which a substitute high school teacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which had made it unlawful to teach human evolution in anyRead More →

A stand-your-ground law (sometimes called “line in the sand” or “no duty to retreat” law) is a justification in a criminal case, whereby defendants can “stand their ground” and use force without retreating, in order to protect and defend themselves or others against threats or perceived threats. An example is where there is no duty toRead More →

The fugitive slave laws were laws passed by the United States Congress in 1793 and 1850 to provide for the return of slaves who escaped from one state into another state or territory. The idea of the fugitive slave law was derived from the Fugitive Slave Clause which is in the United States Constitution (Article IV, Section 2, Paragraph 3). It was thought thatRead More →

Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), was a decision of the United States Supreme Court that settled a recount dispute in Florida’s 2000 presidential election. The ruling was issued on December 12, 2000. On December 9, the Court had preliminarily halted the Florida recount that was occurring. Eight days earlier, the Court unanimously decided the closely related caseRead More →

The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. In Congress, it was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865. On December 18, 1865, Secretary of State WilliamRead More →

The Dawes Act of 1887 (also known as the General Allotment Act or the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887), authorized the President of the United States to survey American Indian tribal land and divide it into allotments for individual Indians. Those who accepted allotments and lived separately from the tribe would be granted United States citizenship. TheRead More →

The Emergency Quota Act, also known as the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921, the Immigration Restriction Act of 1921, the Per Centum Law, and the Johnson Quota Act (ch. 8, 42 Stat. 5 of May 19, 1921) restricted immigration into the United States. Although intended as temporary legislation, the Act “proved in the long run the most important turning-point inRead More →

The Indian Removal Act was signed by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. The law authorized the president to negotiate with southern Native American tribes for their removal to federal territory west of the Mississippi River in exchange for their lands. The Act was signed by Jackson and itRead More →

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) ((Pub.L. 95–608, 92 Stat. 3069, enacted November 8, 1978), codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 1901–1963.) is a Federal law that governs jurisdiction over the removal of Native American (Indian) children from their families. Overview of ICWA General ICWA gives tribal governments a strong voice concerning child custodyRead More →

The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) is United States federal government legislation aimed at helping the victims of crime through means other than punishment of the criminal. It established the Crime Victim’s Fund, a scheme to compensate victims of crime. Crime victim’s fund The Office for Victims ofRead More →

A Son of Sam law is a US English term for any law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes, often by selling their stories to publishers. Son of Sam laws are not intended to enable asset forfeiture, the seizing of assets acquired directly asRead More →

The California Child Actor’s Bill (also known as Coogan Act or Coogan Bill) is a law applicable to child performers, designed to safeguard a portion of their earnings for when they enter adulthood. The original Bill was passed in 1939 by the State of California in response to the plightRead More →