1. Choose one of the topics below to write about:
- Few people could live together and not have laws. Why? Consider the concept of pluralism. Does pluralism have any negative aspects? Why have some fought so hard against the concept in the United States? Consider present examples and discussion surrounding the idea of pluralism and how this may or may not be connected to the current discussion on immigration.
- Could a country such as the United States function without a federal constitution? Would it be possible for each state to merely abide by its own constitution? Why shouldn’t the US Constitution include an overall criminal code specifying crimes and punishments that could apply [universally] throughout the US? Can you think of current tensions between states’ rights and the federal government (e.g., gun laws, physician assisted suicide, legalization of marijuana, etc.) Discuss.
legalization of marijuana,
- Should any one court be given the final say? Why or why not? Is there a negative side to appointment for life on the Court? Does this and the inability to lessen a justice’s salary really prevent influencing a Supreme Court justice? Do you think that the Supreme Court is a de facto lawmaker? What about split decisions? Considering many Supreme Court decisions are decided 5 to 4, is it reasonable to have the law of the land determined by 5 people?
- As discussed previously, can you think of current tensions between states’ rights and the federal government? Discuss. Do you believe that this influences your daily life? Imagine a system in which the federal government determined all laws across the land. One in which there was no local or state-level jurisdiction fluctuation. What would it look like?
- Explain at what point a person is considered “under arrest.” Explain the difference between a stop and an arrest. Why might states authorize probable cause arrests for certain unwitnessed misdemeanors? How much force can be used by an officer when executing an arrest? How is it determined? Can you think of any times when you heard about “excessive use of force” and if so, how do you think the actions of a few influenced the perceptions of many regarding the police?