Constitutional Law and Politics

Please answer 3 out of 5 questions. Each question should be about 3 pages. 10 pages in total.  Assume that at the beginning of February 2021, Congress passes legislation that requires states to issue mask mandates in order to obtain federal funds to fight the pandemic. This could mean that states will lose billions of dollars in COVID relief if they do not require the masking mandates that Congress has asked for. Assume that South Dakota challenges this legislation in court. How would you analyze the problem?  Consider (a) whether Congress acted constitutionally; (b) what clauses in the Constitution give Congress the power to pass such legislation?  (c) what are the potential problems with this legislation? A complete answer will discuss in detail what the federal government would argue and what the state would argue in response.  Your answer must cite at least three cases to support your argument.  Finally, at the end of the answer, please discuss how you, acting as a Supreme Court justice, would rule in this case.  Your answer should be between 2-5 pages (double spaced) or no more than 1700 words. In 2018, the City of Philadelphia learned that Catholic Social Services, a foster care services provider affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, would not certify same sex couples as suitable parents for children in the city’s foster care system. After Philadelphia learned about CSS’ policy, the city stopped referring new children to CSS.  The city cited a city law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  It updated its 2019 contract with foster care services providers to explicitly forbid such discrimination against potential parents. CSS has brought suit, arguing that Philadelphia’s exclusion of it from the city’s foster care system amounts to religious discrimination in violation of the First Amendment’s protection of free exercise of religion. Two lower courts found in favor of Philadelphia, How would you analyze the problem?  Consider (a) the First Amendment — both in terms of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause; (b) LGBTQ rights A complete answer will discuss in detail what CSS would argue on appeal and what Philadelphia would argue in response.  Your answer must cite at least three cases to support your argument.  Finally, at the end of the answer, please discuss how you, acting as a Supreme Court justice, would rule in this case.  Your answer should be between 2-5 pages (double spaced) or no more than 1700 words. Assume that in the next month, President Trump grants a presidential pardon to himself for any federal crime he may have committed prior to becoming president as well as any crime he committed during his presidency.  Article two of the Constitution states that the president shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment. What would the Department of Justice argue if they indicted Trump and he invoked his self-pardon?  What would Trump argue in response?  A complete answer will discuss all arguments to support the pardon (including the Constitution and case law) and all arguments against it (using the Constitution and case law).  Your answer must cite at least three cases to support your argument.  Finally, at the end of the answer, please discuss how you, acting as a Supreme Court justice, would rule on the case.  Your answer should be between 2-5 pages double spaced or no more than 1700 words.  During the course of the semester, we have reviewed cases decided by three very different Chief Justices — Chief Justice John Marshall, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Chief Justice John Roberts.  Please discuss how at least two cases (either in a majority opinion or in a dissent) written by each of the Chiefs reveals their judicial philosophy/ world view (i.e., two cases decided by Marshall, two cases decided by Warren and two cases decided by Roberts).  Discuss how each of the Chiefs are similar and how their judicial philosophies diverge.  To make it easier for you, cases decided by Marshall that we reviewed include:  Marbury v. Madison, McCullouch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden Cases decided by Warren include:  Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Opinions written by Roberts include:  Sebelius v. NFIB, Shelby v. Holder, Obergefell v. Hodges (dissent) Your answer should be between 2-5 pages (double spaced) or no more than 1700 words. Throughout the semester, we have seen how current events impacts the Court and how Supreme Court decisions impact current events.  Please discuss at least three cases in which the political climate had an impact on the Court or vice versa.  A successful answer will fully examine the political context in which the case was decided as well as how the decision then had an impact on politics or history. Your answer should be between 2-5 pages (double spaced) and no more than 1700 words.

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