Constitutional Issues: Past & Present



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Constitutional Issues: Past & Present


Overview:

In an effort connect the political past to the political present we will be working on an evaluation of issues in our society today that reflect the complexity of the US Constitution’s construction. You will be asked to research an issue or topic today and the ways in which that topic is discussed as a constitutional issue.



Procedures:

You will be assigned one politically divisive issue that deals with a constitutional dilemma.   You will be asked to consider specific instances of





  1. Guantanamo Bay Detention

  2. NY’s Stop & Frisk policy

  3. Keystone XL Pipeline OR Barclay Center (eminent domain)

  4. Arizona 2010 Immigration Law (SB-1070)

  5. President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration

  6. Westboro Baptist Church Protests

  7. Gay Marriage

  8. Marijuana Legalization

  9. Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

  10. Park51 “Ground Zero Mosque”

  11. Semi-automatic weapons ban (and gun control)

  12. Torture & “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”

  13. Death Penalty for mentally ill

  14. State Voter IDs

  15. Prayer in School

  16. Edward Snowden & “Whistle-Blowing”

  17. NSA surveillance

  18. National minimum wage

  19. Citizens United & Campaign Finance Reform

  20. Birthright Citizenship

  21. Excessive Bail Terms

  22. US Government execution of US citizen without trial (Anwar al-Awlaki)

  23. Use of Solitary Confinement

  24. Freedom to deny services based on religious beliefs






RESEARCH COMPONENT: (DUE: Wednesday December 23 2015)
Complete the following guided questions for your issue.  Type, 12 TNR Organized exactly as below.

ISSUE: ____________________________________


REPUBLICAN PARTY PERSPECTIVE ON THIS ISSUE

  1. Identify the Republican Party’s position on this issue. Consider that there will be differences amongst Republicans, so you will have to identify a general consensus that the party has.

  2. What is the party’s constitutional justification? Point to the specific portions of the Constitution that they use to support their argument.

  3. Research and identify 3 Republicans and their stances on this issue. Clarify any ways in which they diverge from the general trend established in question 1.

  4. What does this say about the party’s stance as to the role of the government? Explain.

DEMOCRAT PARTY PERSPECTIVE ON THIS ISSUE

  1. Identify the Democrat’s position on this issue. Consider that there will be differences amongst Democrats, so you will have to identify a general consensus that the party has.

  2. What is the party’s constitutional justification? Point to the specific portions of the Constitution that they use to support their argument.

  3. Research and identify 3 Democrats and their stances on this issue. Clarify any ways in which they diverge from the general trend established in question 1.

  4. What does this say about the party’s stance as to the role of the government? Explain.



WRITTEN REFLECTION: (DUE: Thursday January 14th 2016)
The final piece of this project will be a 3-4 page written response. Through this response, you will create a persuasive essay that will outline your stance on the issue. Your response will be a formal six-paragraph essay (introduction, 3 supporting arguments, alternative stance paragraph, and conclusion). Avoid personal pronouns, while your personal stance will direct this essay, it is not about you or your feelings.

Grading

  • Guided Research Questions (35 pts)

  • Content & Accuracy         (20 pts)

  • Citations & Sources    (10 pts)

  • Grammar & Organization (5 pts)

  • Written Response Essay (50 pts)

    • Thesis               (10 pts)

    • Analysis                (10 pts)

    • Outside info/Evidence       (10 pts)

    • Citations          (10 pts)

    • Grammar & Organization   (10 pts)

Citations:

  • Chicago Manual of Style citation: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/

  • Footnotes (Reference, Insert, Footnote)

Varied Sources


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