MODEL ANSWERS – Lecture 10
1. Federal courts are requiring the removal of the Ten Commandments from state property based on the ____________ Clause.
“Establishment Clause” (everyone)
2. Suppose a man went running through a big airport shouting “I am a terrorist.” Is that free speech? What exception to free speech might a prosecutor cite to convict him?
“This is not free speech. The prosecutor would cite the ‘clear and present danger test’ to convict him. The words being spoken would breach the peace of the airport and would thus violate and fall under the guidelines of the ‘clear and present danger test’. This test was established due to the case of Schenk vs. United States.” (Patricia H.)
“I think that it is pure stupidity rather than free speech. … The Supreme Court has found that obscenity, libel, and words that incite are not protected in the first amendment.” (Jessica H.)
3. In the view of the Supreme Court, the death penalty (a) is (b) is not “cruel and unusual punishment.” Does your answer depend on who the defendant is? Explain.
“Based on Gregg v. Georgia (1976), the death penalty is not considered cruel and unusual punishment by the Supreme Court. … [T]he Supreme Court has ruled that it IS cruel and unusual punishment for the mentally handicapped, and for the underage.” (Gregory J.)
“The Supreme Court says that the death penalty is (b) not cruel and unusual punishment. However the answer does change if the defendant is mentally retarded in which case it is cruel and unusual punishment.” (Joshua H.)
“[T]he death penalty is not cruel and unusual punishment (Gregg v. Georgia) as long as the defendant is not mentally retarded (Atkins v. Virginia).” (Kirstin L.)
4. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says that displaying the Ten Commandments does not establish religion under the First Amendment. Do you agree? Why?
“Yes, I agree with Roy Moore. The First Amendment says, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…’ If the state of Alabama wants to display the Ten Commandments in their courthouse they should be able to. The federal court should not have taken part in this matter.” (Rachel V.)
“[B]y putting the Ten Commandments up Justice Moore is representing or observing a religion; he is not establishing one.” (Chris B.)
5. Texas recently passed a law requiring abortion clinics to inform their customers that abortion causes breast cancer. Do you think this requirement will be invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court?
“If the Supreme Court wishes to demonstrate any consistency, it cannot invalidate the aforementioned Texas statute before it invalidates the laws that require cigarette companies to warn their customers about the correlation between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer.” (Eric J.)
“I don’t think that this law will be declared unconstitutional unless the abortionists really deceive the court.” (Chris R.)
“I think that the U.S. Supreme Court would invalidate the law that Texas recently passed requiring abortion clinics to inform their customers that abortions cause breast cancer. The U.S. Supreme Court is made up of mostly Liberals of whom for the most part are in favor of abortions.” (Rachel V.)
“I don’t want it to be struck down by the Supreme Court. But because of those Democrats-who-cite-the-first-amendment-way-too-much, it probably will be struck down. They will claim, ‘Abortion clinics can say whatever they want!’ But should killing a human life and possibly causing an uniformed mother to get cancer really be considered ‘free speech’?” (Phyllis S.)
6. Abortionists claim that (a) partial birth abortions do not occur and (b) it is unconstitutional to prohibit them. How would you respond?
“I would point out to them that if partial birth abortions do not occur, then they aren’t losing any business by them being prohibited, and they shouldn’t mind. …” (Lisa H.)
“My response to this statement would be, ‘I am sorry, but if you are not performing partial birth abortions now, then why would you care if they are prohibited?’” (Katie G.)
“I would ask why they don’t want them prohibited if they do not occur.” (Ben S.)
“… With the expanded definitions of interstate commerce provided by the Supreme Court, there should be no problem linking abortions with interstate commerce.” (Joseph S.)
7. Do you think students in public school should have a right to free speech? Explain.
“Yes, they have a right to freely express and think through opinions without fear of being punished, but they do not have the right to defy authority or there would chaos in the classroom.” (David G.)
“Some of America’s great literary works have been authored by young men and women who were not yet far out of school. If students are denied freedom of speech, society will suffer, because these young people will no longer be able to express their ideas freely and thereby contribute to society.” (Eric J.)
“If free speech is restricted, teachers will just keep pounding atheism, Darwinism, and relativism into the heads of students who can’t speak out for fear of not graduating high school.” (Chris J.)
“I don’t think students in the public schools should have free speech because someof the kids would be getting high and drunk in the middle of class …. [W]hen I was in the public schools we would waste time everyday with the teachers lecturing the girls on not wearing inappropriate clothing.” (Scott J.)
8. “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” (Mark 12:17 KJV). Do you think this is more like the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause? Explain.
“Christ’s statement is more like the Free Exercise Clause. Christ is saying that we are obliged to ‘render unto’ the government that which is needed for the functioning of the government, but no more. We are not obliged to give our beliefs or the free expression thereof.” (Brandon M.)
“Free Exercise Clause. This verse isn’t really establishing a religion of any kind. It is just asking that we give to the government what belongs to it and give to God what he has given to us. It does not mention Christianity or Buddhism, Hindu or Catholicism. Therefore it is not establishing a religion.” (Stephenie A.)
“Jesus’ statement, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” is more like the Free Exercise Clause. We are to do our duty to the government and obey the government, but we must also obey and do our duty to God, nothing can get in the way of that.” (Kris T.)
“I think this refers to the Free Exercise Clause, because what Jesus is saying is that you should respect the government’s mandatory taxes, but the government shouldn’t keep you from your religious beliefs.” (David G.)
“I believe this is more like the Free Exercise Clause, yet God wsa telling us to obey government/respect their authority.” (Ed A.)
9. The First Amendment contains rights to the free exercise of religion, the press, assembly, and petitioning the government. Can all four rights be expressed as freedom of speech, broadly defined? Explain.
“Yes, I think all four rights in the First Amendment can be expressed as free speech broadly defined. Free exercise of religion can be expressed as Freedom of Speech because the citizen has the freedom to communicate his faith through words, actions and symbols, both in private and in public. Free exercise of the press can be expressed as Freedom of Speech because the people who print the paper are only putting their spoken words into written form. Freedom of assembly can be expressed as Freedom of Speech because when a group assembles for any reason, they are communicating their positions or ideas in a non-verbal way, even if they do not have speeches or do not communicate in another verbal way. Petitioning the government can be expressed as Freedom of Speech because we should be able to ask the government anything, verbally or in writing.” (Molly A.)
“Yes, all four can fall under Free Speech. Only if it is very broadly defined through. Such a broad guideline can be quite dangerous, … where will this slippery slope … end? Soon we will start to see the right to privacy through the same pair of glasses ….” (Sarah C.)
10. Federal prosecutors are beginning to apply against non-terrorist criminals the broad powers given to them by the Patriot Act to investigate terrorists. If the suspects are criminals, why not? What do you think?
“It is wrong for the prosecutors to search even a criminal’s home without a search warrant, because it is not what the founding fathers had in mind. If this is where we have gone in a short amount of time, then where will we go in 50 years?” (Katie G.)
“If the suspects are criminals I guess that it would be safer to investigate them than to do nothing.” (Anthony B.)
“Prosecutors shouldn’t have the right to barge in on another person’s privacy, criminal or not. The suspects aren’t criminal, they’re suspects. If a blonde was seen robbing a jewelry store, the prosecutor might as well investigate me because I’m a blonde. …” (Cara M.)
11. The “proportionality test” encourages colleges to reduce men in sports to their percentage enrollment at the school, in the name of promoting gender equality. Do you agree with this? Explain.
“I do not agree with the “proportionality test”. First, there are many sports that are only or mainly for men. So in order to make the proportions right you cannot bump a man off the team to put a women on, because the team is only for men. Second, if there are some individuals who have chosen to go to a certain college because of the sports, then get bumped off the team they planned to plan on, there is going to be some controversy. Students should not be taken off a team because the school’s proportions are off.” (Molly A.)
“We do not want gender equality. … The ‘proportionality test’ brings us closer to ERA and this needs to be stopped. People need to be informed so they know what kind of a hole they are digging America into. The test sounds harmless to ordinary, uniformed people, but it has many detrimental effects.” (Rebecca B.)
“… Just because a school accepts government funding does not mean it should give up its rights. The government does not need to produce a country full of equal-rights clone colleges. After all, people pay to go to college; no one forces students to go to one college over another.” (Sarah B.)
“[T]eam ‘capping’ is one of the stupidest ideas that I’ve ever heard. Gender equality won’t be achieved by booting male players off of sports teams, or getting rid of the team entirely, just for the sake of it. That serves absolutely no purpose. …” (Gregory J.)
“… To require colleges to have this kind of ‘gender equality’ is unfair, un-capitalistic and against free enterprise. Since schools get a lot of money from men’s sports, reducing them would be closing a major avenue of funding, which is very un-capitalistic.” (Daniel L.)
12. Historically, charitable institutions (like churches and non-profit hospitals and schools) were immune from being sued for money damages. The theory was that those who depend on the charity should not suffer because someone working there did something wrong. New Jersey is one of the last states to keep charitable immunity, but it is being challenged in the courts. Do you agree with charitable immunity? Explain.
“I think that New Jersey should pass the charitable immunity law. People that are in need of help from charitable institutions should not have to suffer because someone working there did something wrong. The workers should pay for their mistakes not the needy” (Rachel V.)
“… I think you should sue an individual in a charitable organization, not the organization itself. Organizations cannot be corrupt, it’s the people that are in them that are corrupt.” (Mary Rose B.)
“No, I don’t agree with charitable immunity. If a law is passed that contains charitable immunity, everyone helping with the charity might just as well be careless because nothing will happen to them. If people (even charities) are held responsible for their actions, purposeful or not, it will be more likely that less mistakes will be made.” (Cara M.)