Constitutional rights and liberties

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Choose just ONE of the questions below and answer it in essay form. At the beginning of your essay, please include the question that you have chosen to answer for this. This essay should cover at least 1 single- spaced typewritten page with a 12 point, Times New Roman font. Essays that are just summaries of the course material will not do well. I want an organized, well-written, and clearly expressed essay led by your thesis position, made by your arguments, and supported by course content as evidence. (no other references except for course content).

ESSAY QUESTIONS

  • Read the questions carefully to figure out exactly what I am asking you to answer.
  • 1) The U.S. has a Constitutional Republic rather than a Constitutional Democracy. Name a specific right or liberty that you think would be better protected by changing our system to a Constitutional Democracy or name a specific right or liberty that you think is better protected by keeping our system a Constitutional Republic. Note: The right or liberty does not have to be one that is currently expressed by or interpreted into the Constitution.
  • 2) Is there a bigger threat to natural rights or to natural liberties in the U.S. now?
  • 3) Is there a bigger threat to civil rights or to civil liberties in the U.S. now?
  • 4) Locke says a society can only form to protect rights if the people give up “perfect equality” so the government can use enforcement power to protect those rights. Can this type of society survive if our representatives start to disagree on what those rights are?

5) Do you think that the Ninth Amendment can be validly used on its own by any of the branches of the U.S. Government to provide legal protection for an unenumerated right or do you think the Constitution should be specifically amended to include express protection for that right before it is formally recognized and protected by the government? It may help you to discuss a specific unenumerated right as an example.

6) Choose 1 right that is currently protected under “Due Process” or choose 1 group classification that is currently protected under “Equal Protection” that you think should be moved to a different level of “Scrutiny” or removed from the protection of the 14th Amendment entirely. Explain why the right or group classification that you have chosen is inappropriate for the legal standard and the burden of proof of its current scrutiny level.

7) A court interprets the “Equal Protection” clause of the 14th Amendment to review a plaintiff’s case by using 1 of 3 “Scrutiny” levels which have different legal standards and burdens of proof. The court chooses the “Scrutiny” level for a case based on the type of group classification that the plaintiff alleges was the reason they were discriminated against. Would you favor a Congressional Law or Constitutional Amendment preventing the Judiciary from using different levels on the basis that it violates “Equal Protection?”

8) If you wanted to best secure the rights protected in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, would you rather add them into an existing Constitutional Amendment, create a new Amendment for them, or have Congress continually modify the Voting Rights Act itself?

9) Would you want to create a Constitutional Amendment that contains the language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and applies it against private citizens, or are you satisfied with the protection the Judiciary has given it under the Commerce Clause of Article 1?

10) If the Judiciary struck down the two conditions for the Brandenburg v. Ohio rule for “incitement of illegal activity,” the First Amendment would protect less speech. Would you support this idea if the result were that more “hate speech” could be punished?

11) Imagine that it’s March of 2020 and New York State wants to ban indoor groups of “over 100 people” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While collecting statistics of the types of indoor gatherings over the previous year, the legislature finds that every group that exceeded 100 people (which was legal at the time) were performing religious ceremonies. All other indoor gatherings in the state had 50 people at most. Upon learning this information, the legislature changes the restriction to “over 50 people.” If the law is passed, do you think it would violate the “Free Exercise” clause of the First Amendment?

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