29 Apr American national Government ( 2 )DiscussionAnswers 0Homework Assignment
Discussion 1) In a recent lecture at Yale University, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer cautioned that while most citizens assume that judicial review is an enduring part of American government, judges should not take it for granted. He advises that if judges wish to preserve this undemocratic power they should follow a judicial philosophy that will "build confidence in the courts" (Breyer, 2011). Justice Breyer goes on to describe the kind of judicial philosophy he has in mind. However, some of his colleagues on the Supreme Court would reject his ideas about what philosophy should guide judges.
The role of judicial philosophy (or ideology) in Supreme Court decision-making, especially in its exercise of judicial review to invalidate laws enacted by a democratically elected Congress or state legislature, has become a highly contentious issue both within the Court's deliberations and in the larger political environment. As the nation becomes more divided over programs and policies that inevitably seem to come before the Supreme Court, politicians and ordinary citizens are caught up in rhetoric about judicial activism or judicial restraint, often with little understanding of what these terms really mean.
Moreover, as public perceptions of the Supreme Court become more politicized, the legitimacy of its power becomes clouded. If the Court is perceived as just another political institution making political decisions, but a completely undemocratic institution because its judges are appointed and serve for life, questions arise about whether the Court's power of judicial review should be strictly limited or eliminated altogether. Justice Breyer's warning comes to mind as the percent of Americans approving of how the Supreme Court does its job slid from 61% in 2009 to 46% in 2011 (Gallup, 2012).
Before writing your initial post, review the assigned resources.
In your initial post of at least 200-250 words, respond to one of these questions:
- What judicial philosophy should guide the Supreme Court's exercise of judicial review?
- Should the Supreme Court's power of judicial review be strictly limited by a constitutional amendment?
In answering either question, clearly state your position (thesis) at the beginning of your post. Define important terms and explain your position fully. Consider pro and con arguments on both sides of your position and respond to the con arguments. Justify your position with facts and persuasive reasoning.
Fully respond to all parts of the question. Write in your own words. Support your position with APA citations to two or more of the required resources required for this discussion. Please be sure that you demonstrate understanding of these resources, integrate them into your argument, and cite them properly.
By Day 7, respond to at least two of your classmates' initial posts. Your peer responses each must be at least 75 words. They must demonstrate critical thinking (e.g., ask a relevant question about your peer's post while explaining why your question is significant, or state a perspective that contrasts with your peer's while explaining or justifying your position).
Breyer, S. (2011). No small wonder. Wilson Quarterly, 35(3), 60-61.
Gallup Inc. (2012). Supreme Court. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/4732/Supreme-Court.aspx
Discussion 2) Soon after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Bush administration developed a plan for holding and interrogating prisoners captured during the conflict. They were sent to a prison inside a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay on land leased from the government of Cuba. Since 2002, over 700 men have been detained at "GITMO." Most have been released without charges or turned over to other governments. In 2011, Congress specifically prohibited the expenditure of funds to transfer GITMO prisoners to detention facilities in the continental United States, making it virtually impossible to try them in civilian courts. As of April 2012, 169 remained in detention at GITMO (Sutton, 2012).
An assumption made by the Bush administration in selecting this location was that it was beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The administration wanted to avoid any judicial oversight of how it handled detainees, characterized as "enemy combatants." A possible legal challenge to indefinite detention with no formal charges or judicial proceedings might arise from the habeas corpus provision of the Constitution.
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Under this provision, persons detained by the government are entitled to a judicial hearing to determine if there is any legal basis for their detention. Some legal commentators refer to the right of habeas corpus as the "great writ of liberty" because it is a prisoner's ultimate recourse to an impartial judge to review the possibility that he is being held illegally by the executive (e.g., the police or the military). In nations that do not honor habeas corpus, people simply disappear into prisons without ever having their day in court.
Several controversial Supreme Court cases have come out of GITMO. One fundamental question that has been debated, but not clearly resolved, is to what extent the war on terror justifies the President's indefinite detention of "enemy combatants" without the possibility of the minimal judicial review protected by habeas corpus? Another issue in the debate is to what extent Congress must clearly authorize the President to conduct extra-judicial detentions in order for them to be legal? In 2008, the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush offered some answers to these questions. However, the deeply divided 5-4 Court and the likelihood of the protracted nature of the war on terror suggest that debate around these important questions will continue.
Before writing your initial post, review the assigned resources.
The purpose of this forum is for you to share and discuss with classmates your understanding of some of the academic literature about this subject in order to help you write the Final Paper in the course. Your initial post will have two parts. Fully respond to both parts of the question, and write in your own words.
- In 150 to 200 words, summarize, in your own words, one of the academic articles required for this discussion (from the assigned resources). Select an article from the list that you think may be a source for your final essay. Read it carefully and try to understand the author's main points that may be relevant to your final essay. First, give the full APA citation for the article. Then, summarize the relevant main points and explain the author's reasoning as you understand it. At the end of your summary, ask one question about a specific point in the article that you do not understand and would like some help with (refer to a page number).
- In 50 to 75 words, state what you believe the thesis of your Final Paper will be. State the thesis as clearly and fully as you can. Draw upon what you have learned from all the required resources you reviewed for this discussion. While you can change your mind about your thesis when you actually write the Final Paper, use this discussion forum as a serious opportunity to try out a thesis and receive feedback from your peers.
By Day 7, respond to at least two of your classmates' initial posts. Your peer responses each must be at least 75 words. They must demonstrate critical thinking. Offer ideas about the question your peer asks in his or her initial post. Give your peers feedback about their proposed thesis.
Sutton, J. (2012, April 19). Two Guantanamo Uighur prisoners head to El Salvador. Chicago Tribune News. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-guantanamo-salvadorbre83i1ha-20120419,0,1170410.story
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