Under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. 112, the printed edition of the Statutes at Large is legal evidence of the laws, concurrent resolutions, proclamations by the President, and proposed and ratified amendments to the Constitution. Statutes at Large, is the permanent collection of all laws and resolutions enacted during each session of Congress. The Statutes at Large is prepared and published by the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
∑- Generally any person – United States citizen or not – can make a FOIA request.
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.
FOIA.gov – FOIA.gov serves as the government’s comprehensive FOIA website for all information on the FOIA. Among many other features, FOIA.gov provides a central resource for the public to understand the FOIA, to locate records that are already available online, and to learn how to make a request for information that is not yet publicly available. FOIA.gov also promotes agency accountability for the administration of the FOIA by graphically displaying the detailed statistics contained in Annual FOIA Reports, so that they can be compared by agency and over time.
Nine Exemption under FOIA
Exemption 1: Information that is classified to protect national security.
Exemption 2: Information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.
Exemption 3: Information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law.
Exemption 4: Trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is confidential or privileged.
Exemption 5: Privileged communications within or between agencies, including those protected by the:
- Deliberative Process Privilege (provided the records were created less than 25 years before the date on which they were requested)
- Attorney-Work Product Privilege
- Attorney-Client Privilege
Exemption 6: Information that, if disclosed, would invade another individual’s personal privacy.
Exemption 7: Information compiled for law enforcement purposes that:
- 7(A). Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings
- 7(B). Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication
- 7(C). Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
- 7(D). Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source
- 7(E). Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions
- 7(F). Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual
Exemption 8: Information that concerns the supervision of financial institutions.
Exemption 9: Geological information on wells.
Congress has provided special protection in the FOIA for three narrow categories of law enforcement and national security records. The provisions protecting those records are known as “exclusions.” The first exclusion protects the existence of an ongoing criminal law enforcement investigation when the subject of the investigation is unaware that it is pending and disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. The second exclusion is limited to criminal law enforcement agencies and protects the existence of informant records when the informant’s status has not been officially confirmed. The third exclusion is limited to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and protects the existence of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or international terrorism records when the existence of such records is classified. Records falling within an exclusion are not subject to the requirements of the FOIA. So, when an office or agency responds to your request, its response will encompass those records that are subject to the FOIA.
Appointments for Supreme Court justices and other federal judgeships follow the same basic process:
- The President nominates a person to fill a vacant judgeship.
- The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the nominee and votes on whether to forward the nomination to the full Senate.
- If the nomination moves forward, the Senate can debate the nomination. Debate must end before the Senate can vote on whether to confirm the nominee. A Senator will request unanimous consent to end the debate, but any Senator can refuse.
- Without unanimous consent, the Senate must pass a cloture motion to end the debate. The cloture motion requires a simple majority—51 votes—to pass.
Once the debate ends and the Senate votes on confirmation, just 51 votes are needed to confirm the nominee for Supreme Court justice or any other federal judgeship.
The United States Code is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States. It is prepared by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives.
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