POL 303 Week 5 Final Paper

POL 303 Week 5 Final Paper

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Focus of the Research Paper

In this essay you will research a case that is actively pending before the Supreme Court of the United States (not yet decided by the Court when you submit your essay at the end of Week Five). It must be a case that raises significant issues involving the interpretation of the Constitution. The thesis of your essay will be a statement of the decision, regarding these issues, which the Court should make, according to your research and analysis of the constitutional principles, Court precedents, facts of the case, and other relevant information.

Step One: Identify a Pending Case

First, you must identify a pending constitutional case that you will research. Here are some suggested search strategies:

Go to http://www.oyez.org and click on “Cases” (at the top-center) to display a list of cases before the Court 
during its current term. It will show the date on which the case was or is scheduled to be argued before the Court. Only consider cases that have not yet been argued or were argued very recently; so the Court is unlikely to issue its decision before you submit your essay. Click on the name of a case in this list to display the legal “questions” in each case. Look for “questions” that pose constitutional issues; and from these select a case that presents issues that you would want to research.

Go to http://www.scotusblog.com/ and click on “Merits Cases” (at the top-left side) to display a list of recent terms and select the most recent term (e.g., “October Term 2012). That displays a list of cases before the Court during its current term. It will show the date on which the case was or is scheduled to be argued before the Court. Only consider cases that have not yet been argued or were argued very recently; so the Court is unlikely to issue its decision before you submit your essay. This list also summarizes the issues in each case so that you can identify those with constitutional issues. Click on the name of a case to view more information about it, including links to various resources which may directly support your research.

Google the phrase “pending cases before the US supreme court.” Explore the links that Google offers. If you discover a constitutional case that you want to research, use Oyez or SCOTUSBlog (above) to verify that the case will still be pending when you submit your essay in Week Five.

Step Two: Instructor Approval

Next, your instructor may want you to identify your case, the date it will be (or was) argued, and the constitutional issues posed. Follow your instructor’s directions in this regard. Or, be proactive and forward your case information in Week One or Week Two.

Step Three: Begin Your Research

Now, you should be ready to research your case (remember the valuable resources that may be available in SCOTUSBlog). Start by reviewing the relevant chapter(s) in the textbook. Also, do some serious searching for scholarly articles in the Ashford Online Library.

Step Four: Begin Writing Your Paper

Your paper must clearly state your position on the constitutional issues posed in the case. Your paper should not address broader questions about the merits of the case or your personal opinions about extraneous matters; but it should focus on whether or not the state or federal rules, regulations, or laws at issue would violate a specific provision(s) of the

Constitution. You must clearly explain and logically apply a plausible interpretation of the constitutional provision(s) and justify your position using rationales from other relevant and identified Supreme Court decisions. Make clear whether you are relying on rationales used by the Court’s majority view or by a dissenting view; and if you rely on a dissent, your analysis should persuasively justify why this rationale should displace the prevailing majority rationale. Where appropriate, you may also incorporate support from scholarship in the disciplines of history, social science, biology, ethics, criminal justice studies, and public policy; but, such perspectives may be introduced only as they are directly relevant to interpreting the constitutional provision(s) at issue in the case.

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POL 303 Week 5 DQ 2 Right to Bear Arms

POL 303 Week 5 DQ 2 Right to Bear Arms

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Right to Bear Arms. In 2010 the Supreme Court’s novel and controversial interpretation of the 2nd Amendment greatly limited government’s power to restrict gun possession. The case McDonald v. Chicago sparked widespread debate across the political and legal community, some of which is expressed in the articles you read for this discussion. Read the summary of McDonaldv.Chicago, then choose and read two articles pertaining to the McDonald v Chicago case from the Recommended Resources for POL303 PDF file located in your online classroom.

Write a detailed critique of these articles. Respond to this 3-part question in your initial post:
a. Explain the articles’ positions and arguments.
b. Identify and analyze a strength and a weakness in the authors’ analyses or conclusions (from yourperspective). Explain your reasons for viewing each point as either a strength or a weakness.
c. Describe how the articles affect your evaluation of the Court’s decision in McDonald v. Chicago and explain why.

POL 303 Week 5 DQ 1 Eminent Domain

POL 303 Week 5 DQ 1 Eminent Domain

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Eminent Domain. In 2005 the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the constitutionality of a city taking private property, while paying the owner just compensation, and selling it to a private developer as part of a plan to stimulate the city’s weak economy (Kelo v. City of New London). Respond to this 3-part question in your initial post:

Explain the rationale of the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo (the majority opinion by Justice Stevens).

Explain the rationale of Justice O’Connor’s dissenting opinion.

Evaluate both the majority and minority rationales. Explain and justify your evaluation. Include 
consideration of these factors:
§ The Supreme Court’s traditional approach to the “public use” requirement for takings
§ The relative competence of the Supreme Court vs. local governments to determine what is a 
“public use” to justify the taking of private property

POL 303 Week 4 DQ 2 Cruel and Unusual Punishment

POL 303 Week 4 DQ 2 Cruel and Unusual Punishment

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Cruel and Unusual Punishment. During the last decade, the Supreme Court has applied the 8th Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments against some of the harsher sentencing policies implemented by various states. Three cases dealing with juvenile offenders – Roper v. Simmons (2005), Graham v. Florida (2010), and Miller v. Alabama (2012) – illustrate this moderating trend. An underlying rationale of these decisions – “disproportionality” – contrasts with rationales guiding the Court’s earlier (pre- 2002) interpretations of the 8th Amendment (see Davis, 2008).

Respond to this 3-part question in your initial post:

Explain the rationale which seems to guide the current Supreme Court majority’s approach to defining 
“cruel and unusual punishment.”

Contrast this approach with an important rationale that seems to guide the pre-2002 Court.

Evaluate both of these approaches. Explain and justify your evaluation by drawing on persuasive 
evidence apart from your own personal opinion (e.g., research findings from sociology or criminal justice).

POL 303 Week 4 DQ 1 Suspicion-less Strip Searches

POL 303 Week 4 DQ 1 Suspicion-less Strip Searches

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DQ 1 Suspicion-less Strip Searches. In 2012 the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the constitutionality of routine (without probable cause) strip searches of persons arrested and detained, even briefly, in a jail (Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the Country of Burlington). Respond to this 3-part question in your initial post:

Explain the rationale of the Supreme Court’s decision in Florence (the majority opinion by Justice Kennedy).

Explain the rationale of Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion.

Evaluate both the majority and minority rationales. Explain and justify your evaluation by drawing on 
prior Supreme Court interpretations of the 4th Amendment’s prohibition of “unreasonable searches” from the required textbook.

POL 303 Week 3 Research Paper Draft

POL 303 Week 3 Research Paper Draft

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Research Paper Draft. This is an opportunity to submit a draft or outline of the Research Paper for review and feedback from your instructor. Read the instructions for the Week Five Research Paper and create an outline for the structure of the paper. For information regarding writing an outline, reference to the Ashford Writing Center within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar.

You must use at least five scholarly resources (including Supreme Court decisions) and at least two articles that can be found in the Ashford Online Library to support your claims and subclaims. Cite your resources in text and on the reference page. For information regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar, in your online course.

POL 303 Week 3 DQ 2 Constitutional Issues Related to Same-gender Marriage

POL 303 Week 3 DQ 2 Constitutional Issues Related to Same-gender Marriage

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Constitutional Issues Related to Same-gender Marriage. In 2012 the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives adopted, by a party-line vote, an amendment to the military defense budget for 2013 that would prohibit same-gender marriage ceremonies in base chapels serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces. If this amendment is enacted into law, it will change current Defense Department policy that allows use of chapels for religious marriage ceremonies on sexual-orientation neutral basis.

If by law the government denies a same-gender military couple permission to hold a religiously authorized marriage ceremony in a base chapel, would such denial violate the Constitution? Respond to this question in your initial post. Fully explain the constitutionally-based reasons for your position, considering both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses and the following cases:

The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Loving v. Virginia (1967).

The rationales of the Supreme Court’s majority or dissenting opinions in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas.

The rationales of the Court’s majority or dissenting opinions in United States v. Virginia (the VMI case).

The rationales of various judicial opinions in recent federal court litigation about the constitutionality of 
California’s Proposition 8 outlawing same-gender marriage.

Avoid discussion of your personal opinions about same-gender marriage. Instead, focus on the constitutional issues that may be raised by the specific circumstances of the proposed law that would ban the use of military base chapels for such marriage ceremonies.