Thursday, January 08, 2004

Critical Thinking Activity #1-4

1.) Civil rights are a clear standard that can be fully enforced at all times to protect minorities.

2.) All of the Bill of Rights apply to state officials.

3.) Flag burning and draft card burning are not afforded the same free speech protection under the law.

4.) The language of the First Amendment clearly requires the separation of church and state.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Black Codes
Heart of Atlanta Hotel vs. U.S., 1964
Civil Rights Cases, 1883

Saturday, December 13, 2003

The Civil Rights Cases, 1883

During 1866 and 1875, Congress passed civil rights acts to apply the 13th and 14th amendments, especially the Civil Rights Act of 1875, that forced criminal punishments against private businesses that practiced racial discrimination. Penalties were imposed on owners of public or private businesses who practiced racial discrimination in their business.
It was not until the 1870's, the Ku Klux Klan made it's appearance throughout the South; during the night they rode across to homes in the country to mortify and terrorize African-Americans, in effort to drive them out of that part of town. Then again Southern whites gained control of State governments lost during the Reconstruction. In 1877, with the removal of Federal troops brought the Reconstruction period to an end, legislatures began to pass laws in which created separate facilities for whites and African Americans.

Ways they sought to rebel and fight for their cause African-American citizens protested their exclusion from a hotel dining room in Topeka, Kansas; from an opera in New York City; from seats of a San Francisco theater; and from a car set aside for ladies on a train. Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite led the Court. Throughout the last of the 19th century, the Court moved away from controversy, trying to avoid cases that were sure to spark strong public opinions and oppositions.

The case was being tried for the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in relation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Did this act violate the Constitution? Was any conduct of business by the owner entitled to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment? Was discrimination outlawed by the government, but permitted owners under "freedom of choice"? What types of protections against discrimination were citizens entitled to and protected under the 13th and 14th amendments?

The Supreme Court decided that the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was in fact unconstitutional. "Neither the 13th or 14th Amendment empowers the Congress to legislate in matters of racial discrimination in the private sector," according toJustice Joseph P. Bradley. Bradley commented that "...individual invasion of individual rights is not the subject matter of the [14th] Amendment. Only segregation by race, was approved by the Court. Signs that read "whites only" were being hung to appear across the South, as well as in the North. The major decision on segregation came 13 years later in Plessy vs. Ferguson, 1896, when the "separate but equal" clause provided "equal protection of the laws" to African American.

Monday, December 08, 2003

The Civil Rights Cases, 1883

Questions for Discussion

1. Both the Dred Scott case and the Civil Rights Cases contain a line of reasoning that defends property rights over individual rights. Compare the reasoning in the two cases by examining the central statement of the Court's decision. Why would this be called a "narrow construction" of the Constitution?
The final decision of both cases were a shutout on the constitutionality of the 14th amendment, it defied it's whole purpose that it orginially establishes. In the Dred Scott case, it established that Dred Scott was not a citizen and was under the private property rights of the owners and was thererfore never declared free. Although the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional because it did not have the right to declare slavery in the new territories.
2. Compare the decision in Heart of Atlanta Hotel vs. U.S., 1964 with this decision. What difference of views is obvious in the two decisions? What historic change had occurred to bring about the Heart of Atlanta decision? Why would some people refer to Heart of Atlanta as a "broad construction" decision?

3. Supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 hoped to remove the last "badges and incidents of slavery" from the South. Why would they think that the discrimination in these cases represented a "badge of incident" of slavery?

4. Should private behavior be subject to government regulation? What rule or guideline would you write for such regulation? How would your rule have applied to actions of the Ku Klux Klan in 1885?

5. Study the "Black Codes" enacted after the Civil Rights Cases decision of 1883. What forms of segregation began to be practiced in the United States?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Ex Parte Milligan, 1866

1. What is the purpose of a writ of habeas corpus?

The purpose is to have a detained person be brought before a court to hear the reason why he or she was imprisoned. This is to let them know what crime(s) they have committed and are being accused of so that it can be seen to take measures as quickly as possible to resolve them. They have the right to know the details of their imprisonment as well as whom is bringing the accusations forthwith.

2. Why should a U.S. citizen engaged in treason be guaranteed "due process"?

They have a right to due process as any citizen of this country does aside from what they are being accused of.

3. Do you think the crisis of the Civil War required extraordinary measures to deal with spies and traitors? Why or why not?

I think so because it was a time of conspiracy between both sides sharing vital and crucial information that could cost lives and action had to be taken to prevent that from happening. There were traitors, some more obvious than others but it was a time of war, so many events were going on they could not keep track of every single one of their soldiers.

4. Do you think that drug smugglers caught by military forcces of the United States should be tried and possibly sentenced to death in a military court? Why or why not?

I am not sure how to respond to this question. On one hand, the case should be tried and heard by a different court other than a military one. I could see it being handled by a military court if the drug smugglers pertained to any part of the military, and that could be seen as handling the situation as best as they can. Although, I believe they should be sentenced to death, not caring who they are caught by, I am not sure I quite understand what this question is asking.

5. Had citizens of the Southern States surrendered their United States citizenship when they pledged allegiance to the Confederacy?

Yes, because they no longer belonged to a united nation, they were secluding themselves into their own nationalistic views and would not hold true to any of their previous pledges. The Confederacy was a different group of states founded by different principles of cause and effect and could not oblige by the standings of their enemies.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1857

1. Why do you think the Court recognized slaves only as “property”?

Generally because that is what the public recognized them to be, they were bought off a merchant and were sold just like any other item. Of course the court was headed by Roger B. Taney whom was an ardent states' right advocate and would see them only as property.

2. Why was it important that the Court not give "standing" to Dred Scott?

The Court could not give him a standing because then it would give reason to believe that Taney was for slaves and would prove otherwise of his standing. Even if they were siding with Dred Scott, how could they avoid public scrutiny as they knew it. It was important because if they gave the standing to one slave, then a massive wave of other slaves would get the courage to do the same. This would also make the masters' infuriated because of the increasing power slaves would be entitled to thus contradicting their reason of being.

3. Have any other decisions of the Supreme Court also been changed by a constitutional amendment?

McCulloch vs. Maryland, 1819

1. How did the decision contribute to a growing split between "states' rights" and "national supremacy" factions in America?

The national supremacy grew and gave it power to somewhat override being controlled by the states because it does state in the Constitution that they will not be controlled by them. As far as states' rights are concerned they were stepped on because this meant that they did not even have any control over their own state because it would be overridden.

2. How do you determine when a federal activity is necessary and proper if it is not a delegated power?
If it is a necessary and proper act that deals with an national emergency then all precautionary measures should and have to be taken in order to deal with it accordingly. This could be somewhat abused because it could be implied as a necessary and proper measure but actually not be a delegated power and then therefore afterwards be seen as a delegated power.
Gibbons vs. Ogden, 1824

1. Why would an advocate of States’ rights want to have a narrow view, or strict construction, of the commerce power? Why would a national supremacy partisan want to have the Court make a broad construction of the Commerce Clause/Power?

An advocate of states' rights would be thoroughly benefited because then the word commerce would be narrowly defined as carrying only freight such as boxes and barrels and not personss. The national supremacy partisan would want to have a broad definition because then it could include all forms of business relations for the purpose of trade.

2. What are some other areas of federal commerce regulation that have their foundation in the Gibbons case?

The Commerce Clause gave it a legal elasticity that was later extended to include federal regulation of railways, airlines, pipelines, television stations, telephone communications, and even racial segregation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Marbury vs. Madison
Questions for discussion

1. John Marshall did somewhat go beyond the Constitution because then again he was trying to state that the Supreme Court had the ultimate say and to judge if the laws were constitutional or not. Marshall should have also realized that they were not judging laws passed by Congress but whether or not Marbury should still have been a judge.
2. It is a logical power because this comes the whole term of checks and balances and have to address whether or not the laws Congress is passing are constitutional and within certain limits of circumstances.
3. Yes I think so because they would still be somewhat near the timeframe of that state of mind. They tended to think somewhat on the same page and pace and now things are interpreted in so many different p.o.v. and levels that it is difficult to come to terms with that they originally intended. After more than 200 years gone by, and so many cases dealt with, it is difficult to see their original intent and could have definitely changed a lot of the outcomes in cases and laws.
4. The decision definitely satisfied Marbury because he won in the end, he became one of the "midnight judges" and that's all he wanted in the first place. Madison and Jefferson were somewhat shot down because this meant that the law had not upheld to their arguments.
5. The Judiciary has now strengthened and can interpret the constitutionality of the laws.
6. I'll get back to that one later.........

11. Discuss the three main criticisms of the executive branch, and identify three solutions that have been proposed to deal with executive branch problems.

One of the three main criticisms is that there are not enough people representing minorities and the people's needs for more benefits and rights. People would like to see a woman president, a president with a different skin color. They want to be able to relate to the leader of the free world more. A second criticism is the secrecy of information that the people have a willing right to know, whether it may be the war in Iraq or the economy. The people feel as if they are being lied to in ways that make them doubt their own goverment. The public should be more frequently informed on what they would like to know instead of being lied to in a news broadcast. A third criticism is that members have stuck to old traditions in a new society. Their ways of thinking are antiquated and have been practiced since the beginning of time. People want to see change for the better and future, newer generations should get the chance to practice their methods of law.
10. Explain how the Executive Office of the President is organized.

The Executive Office of the President is compiled of staff members whom are specialists in their field
that can better serve and help him at his leisure. He has to have a lot of informants so that he can be well aware of what is going on in the hundreds of agencies that surround him. The National Security Council is also under his office and is a crucial part of his decisions. Those whom are the best in their skill can be better suited to help the President make the wisest decisions.

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