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The United States: Constitutional Developments, 1990-1998

Dr. Robert M. Kaufman
Edited By: Gisbert H. Flanz

© 1998 Oxford University Press

In March 1996 the most recent official integrated text of the Constitution of the United States was published in Constitutions of the Countries the World. This included the 27th Amendment, the second of 12 articles which had been proposed on September 25, 1789. The ratification was completed on May 7, 1992. There have been no further amendments since that time, although there have been several proposals which have resulted in votes on the floor of either the House or the Senate. These are presented below in the tabulation of Proposed Constitutional Amendments under the following subjects:

  • Balanced Budget Amendment;

  • Income Tax Increases;

  • Term Limits Amendment;

  • Flag Desecration Amendment; and,

  • Members’ Pay Levels.

Many constitutional questions have been raised, some of which have been decided by the Supreme Court. In previous publications on the United States for Constitutions of the Countries of the World major cases have been briefly discussed in a chronological format. In the present publication, important cases since 1989 are presented chronologically in the following categories:

  • Congressional Power:

    • Commerce Power, Federal Presumption, Court Jurisdiction, and Separation of Powers;

  • Civil Rights and Liberties:

    • Equal Protection—Affirmative Action;

    • Freedom of Religion;

    • Freedom of Speech;

    • Naturalization & Citizenship;

    • Personal Autonomy & Privacy; and,

    • Presidential Immunity.

Considering the extraordinary amount of recent attention to the subject, a separate section is provided concerning presidential immunity and impeachment.

The present publication, additionally, presents an overview of important legislation since 1989, corresponding to the following categories:

  • National Domestic Powers;

  • National Economic Powers: Trade:

    • The Trade Act of 1974; and,

    • Market-Opening Legislation;

  • National Security and War Powers;

  • National Security, Economic and Emergency Powers:

    • Emergency Powers;

    • Sanctions Legislation;

    • Intelligence/Domestic Security & Defense Initiatives

    • Weapons of Mass Destruction Acts of 1996;

    • Arms Export Control;

    • Export Administration Act of 1979;

    • Foreign Assistance; and,

    • Arms Control and Disarmament;

  • Foreign policy:

    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and,

    • Foreign Policy Oversight.