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Tutor profile: Alexander B.

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Alexander B.
Senior Honors Pre-Law Major
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Subject: Pre-law

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Question:

Discuss the difference between the original jurisdiction and the appellate jurisdiction of the SC. From where does the SC get its cases? Must the SC hear all the cases brought to it? Explain.

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Alexander B.
Answer:

There are several key differences between the original and appellate jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court, The Constitution grants original jurisdiction to the SC with means that the Court is seeing the case for the first time. 1-2% of the cases heard per year in the SC are original. these cases include state suing states; states suing the US; foreign ministers or Ambassadors; and States suing another states citizen. Appellate jurisdiction is granted to the SC again by means of the constitution. Here, the cases after they have already been heard in a US Circuit Court, Regulatory agency, State Supreme Court, or district court. Typically, these cases are seeking to overturn the decisions that are made in theses courts. 98-99% of all cases are heard per year in the SC are comprised of “appellate jurisdiction” cases. There are two ways in which the SC receives the cases that are presented before the Justices. There is the mandatory hearing and the non-mandatory hearing style. The mandatory cases are brought to the SC through the means of a 3 panel-judge case. This is a case where the State Supreme Court rules in favour of the state over the federal government. The other form of mandatory case the SC must hear is when a circuit court rules differently than another circuit court in the same case. One prime example of this was the case of gay marriage (Roe v. Wade). When the SC is NOT mandated to hear a case, four of the nine Justices of the SC must rule to hear the case. The official name of the majority rule is called the “Rule of Four.” Typically, these are cases brough up to the SC through the use of a writ of cert. Meaning that losing party files a petition which is a court order directing the lower court to send up the records of the case to the SC. If the writ is granted, then the case will be heard by the SC. Early days to 1925 Cases falling under appellate jurisdiction reached the SC only by a writ of error This writ could only be granted if it fell within a prescribed category set by federal statute, thus allowing Congress to control what cases were to be heard Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1925, creating the writ of certiorari and allowing the Court to control much of its docket; this was because the court was becoming overloaded with the cases it had to hear Prior to the passage of legislation by Congress in 1988 cases reached the SC in 3 ways: appeal, certification, or certiorari After the passage of the legislation. The SC was converted into a virtually all- certiorari tribunal, allowing it to pick and choose which cases it wanted to hear o Consequently, the SC hears about only 75 of the hundreds of cases that are brought to them each year.

Subject: Political Science

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Question:

Political philosophers develop normative theories to explain value laden questions of concern during the historical period in which they lived. Explain this normative approach by critiquing one political philosopher (e.g., Plato, St, Augustine, Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Machiavelli, John Locke, Adam Smith, Karl Marx).

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Alexander B.
Answer:

According to Rowe, Plato believes that the ultimate purpose of the Republic is to devise and pursue a case that is not unjust, but instead is just and fair. In order for the terms of this so- called justice and injustice to be clearly defined, one must begin by establishing the imaginary ideal state that Plato has constructed. He describes justice being best identified on an individual level, meaning that, each specific case of justice is different for each person. Thus, each case of justice is of a fluid nature. However, Socrates proposes that one must first look upon the state as a whole. He takes the broad nature of the whole state and establishes that it is then easier to identify what justice consists of. What follows from this, is the ideally “perfect just state.” This occurs when each individual member of the state will perform a single activity, from which he is conceived to have by the power of nature. From this idea, three groups can be derived. The first group that emerges from this state are the philosopher-guardians. Their proposed job is to rule on the grounds that they are of a superior rational endowment and intellect. This rationality gives them the access to the knowledge that will appear to be most relevant to each individual situation. Additionally, it is granted to them because they alone possess the exclusive capability to exercise it in a suitable manner. Next, is the military class of people and the third class of people at large. Their purpose is to provide economic sustainability to the greater citizen-body. Plato then digresses on the idea that justice occurs on the individual level. Broken down into three parts, analogous terms are used to determine what they are. These three parts must be performed in a synchronous manner with that of the state. Furthermore, Socrates suggests that when these three parts perform its function properly, the state will then be just. The three parts of the just individual include, the rational, the spirited, and the appetitive. The “rational” is defined just as the word intends, that beings are of rational nature. The spirited is mainly responsible for the higher emotions that beings experience, such as anger. Finally, the appetitive is evaluated to be a humans lower desired. Given the ideal conditions, the relational aspect alongside the spirited and at the heels of the appetitive, according to Plato, leads to a just soul. Likewise, the ideally just state will operate in the same three-tiered format alongside its virtuous rulers, courageous with its soldiers, and the lower two classes fall in step with the top tier. Furthermore, if the two lower tiers dissent from the first, this would conclude a subsequent dispute of the rightness of the highest class. In the matter of opinion, I do not agree with this idea of the so-called three-tiered class. What this normative theory intends to do is put all beings in a pre-destined box that the individual is bound to. Furthermore, this approach pushes that this predestination is natural and is void of any sort of human interference. In the ideal theoretic context, this idea might have traction. However, I feel as if holding these philosophers to a role that would oversee the ruling body could potentially have catastrophic outcomes. In regard to human nature, acting in a fashion that is self-interested is inherent to all. Meaning that even the intellectual superior philosophers might fall into the trap of self-interested patterns. Any room for creativity, happiness, or satisfaction in one’s societal role has the potential to be extinguished through the mundaneness of this system. What this means is that the system and the state in which this occurs might not be of a productive and efficient nature in its happenings. Many studies have shown that efficient and productive workplaces are directly correlated to the happiness and satisfaction of the workers themselves. Concluding that, I understand the point in which Plato makes about the just state, yet I do not believe that this could be achieved or would be realistic in the problems that face today’s corrupt society.

Subject: Government

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Question:

Why did slavery and segregation exist in the United States? What was done to end these practices?

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Alexander B.
Answer:

The Declaration of Independence may have asserted that all men are created equal, but laws clearly did not treat them that way. Slavery was a legal institution in the United States until the Thirteenth Amendment abolished it in 1865. Slavery is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution and, with the exception of the slave trade, was left to the states to deal with. The Northern states ended slavery long before the Civil War, but this did not mean that free African Americans were equal in status to whites. Laws either restricted or prevented them from voting, holding public office, serving on juries, and joining the militia. The Civil War (1861-1865) began as a test of whether states could withdraw from the Union, but the goals of the North soon broadened to include abolishing slavery. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, using his war powers as commander in chief, issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves in the rebel-held areas of the country. Technically, the proclamation did not free the slaves, but it had that effect, as thousands of slaves left Southern plantations. Slavery as an institution was not abolished until the end of the war with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment (1865), which the Southern states were required to accept as a condition for readmission to the Union. The end of slavery, while certainly a landmark in the history of civil rights, did not mean equality for the former slaves. At first, the Southern states used the black codes, local laws that limited former slaves; ability to find work and freedom to move off the plantations. In response, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that made African Americans citizens. This was followed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments (1868 and 1870, respectively), which reaffirmed that African Americans are citizens, entitled to "equal protection," and have the right to vote. African Americans soon learned that the Constitution might promise equal protection but realizing that promise was another matter. The Supreme Court interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment very narrowly, stating that the federal government could not prosecute individuals for discriminatory acts. Lynching’s and mob violence were left to the states to handle. Within a generation after the end of Reconstruction (1877), African Americans in the South found themselves deprived of their civil rights. Jim Crow laws were Southern statutes that effectively segregated people by race. In a group of decisions known as the Civil Rights Cases (1883), the Supreme Court struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875 that had forbidden racial segregation in public accommodations such as hotels and trains. Under the Jim Crow laws, separate facilities for black and white train and streetcar passengers, separate schools, and separate entrances and reception areas in public buildings were built in the South. Separate restrooms and drinking fountains, as well as special visiting hours for African Americans at museums, became fixtures of Southern life. Because this separation based on race was backed by law, it was called de jure segregation. In 1896, Homer Plessy challenged segregation by riding in a "white only" railroad car. The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that such segregation was constitutional as long as the facilities were equal. The court's "separate but equal" doctrine was soon applied to schools as well as theaters, beaches, and sports facilities. However, separate was hardly equal. Black schools received discarded textbooks and lab equipment from white schools, and the buildings themselves were dilapidated. All facilities that were for African Americans to use were inferior. Until the 1950s, America was a segregated society. Major League Baseball was segregated until 1947; African Americans played in the Negro Leagues. Hollywood played its part, limiting African Americans to roles as domestics or making "all-Negro" films that were shown in segregated movie theaters. The practice of segregation moved beyond the South into other parts of the country, including Chicago and Los Angeles. African Americans were also denied the right to vote. Southern states set up poll taxes, literacy tests, the grandfather clause, and property qualifications, all of which reduced the number of eligible African-American voters to insignificance outside of the most urban areas. Eliminating segregation in the United States has proved to be a long and difficult process. Presidential actions and court decisions were important early steps. While segregation codified in law no longer exists, de facto segregation based on income and housing patterns continues. The first meaningful gains in civil rights came after World War II. In 1948, President Harry Truman ordered an end to segregation in the military and the federal bureaucracy. Segregated units in the U.S. Army were disbanded within three years, and the Korean War became the first conflict in which blacks and whites truly fought side by side. Truman ran into difficulty when he tried to push his civil rights agenda through Congress. A federal anti-lynching law, the outlawing of poll taxes, and the creation of a civil rights commission were opposed by Southern Democrats. The Courts proved to be more willing to look at these issues. In 1950, Oliver Brown sued in federal court over the segregation of the school system of Topeka, Kansas. The Supreme Court's 1954 decision in the case, which held that separate schools were inherently unequal, was important for several reasons. Topeka was not a Southern city; the Court hoped to limit backlash in the South by using a case outside the region. However, the Court ordered the desegregation of the schools, not their integration. Although the terms are often used synonymously, they actually have different meanings. Desegregation refers to eliminating laws that call for segregation; integration means actively designing government policies to mix different races. The Brown decision did not call for integration but demanded desegregation "with all deliberate speed." This language provided no specific timetable or direction in how to achieve the goal, so desegregation took decades to become a reality in many school districts. When it became clear that residential segregation would keep schools racially distinct, however, the Court began to endorse active integration policies, such as busing children to schools outside their neighborhoods, to achieve racial balance in every institution. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which survived several challenges in the courts, prohibited employment discrimination by private businesses connected with interstate commerce, authorized the attorney general to begin school desegregation lawsuits if complaints were filed, and cut off federal funding for any program that practiced discrimination. The 1965 Voting Rights Act eliminated literacy tests and, thus, significantly increased the number of African Americans and other minorities who could vote. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex was banned in all forms of housing through the Civil Rights Act of 1968. This act has not had as great an impact as other legislation because the ability to buy or rent housing is so directly connected to income level. The civil rights laws of the 1960s have been repeatedly expanded by Congress.

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