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Constitutional Law: You can choose the topic based off of the rubric

Papers should be approximately 4-6 pages in length (although there is no set minimum or maximum number of pages). Papers must address a topic you select per the following guidelines. Papers should have an opening thesis paragraph setting up the “declaration” or thesis statement for the paper. It should list the main points that will be covered in the paper (usually three supporting points should be presented). After covering the main points in detail it should conclude with a paragraph summing up the main points of the paper and any appropriate conclusions. The paper should be heavily cited and draw on the textbook, court cases, founding documents and outside research as needed. For each real-life example you present be sure to present supporting documentation as covered in class. Topic / Focus Students must select one or more topics on which to focus their paper from the lessons in class. Example topics may include Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Criminal Procedure, Equal Protection, Due Process, Voting & Representation, etc. Strive to select a topic that is pertinent to current events, that you can trace back to previous legal cases and our founding documents. Consider topics such as: The Right to Protest. Does freedom of speech include freedom of conduct? When does one person’s right to protest infringe upon another’s right to speech? Freedom of Religion. How does freedom of religion coexist with freedom from religion? How does freedom of religion coexist with government requirements, e.g. government mandated identification photographs vs. keeping ones face covered due to religious beliefs? Due Process. If a person is not in the country legally, are they afforded all rights guaranteed by the Constitution? Are there rights reserved only for legal citizens or those in the country legally? As you can see, there are many, many topics on which to focus your paper. Select a topic you find interesting and challenging and explore it in depth. Keep in mind this is NOT an opinion piece. This is intended to present a topic (thesis) and offer the researched legal rulings of the court as supporting arguments – not your personal or anecdotal opinions. As an example, you could start the paper with a declaration statement such as “In December 2014, protesters entered the Macy’s Department Store in Manhattan at 7:50 p.m. with the stated intent of disrupting holiday shopping. The protesters believed it was within their right to Freedom of Speech and Right of Assembly to disrupt Christmas shoppers in order to make their point(s) known to the public.” You might explore Constitutional First Amendment issues in the first supporting paragraph (being factual and citing accordingly). Then take both sides of the two issues in subsequent paragraphs citing court cases that would apply to the specific issues of Freedom of Speech and Right of Assembly. Remember, these are NOT your personal opinions; you are highlighting the legal opinions of the courts. In the final paragraph, you would summarize your research and then close with your own conclusion and how you see the future of the issue evolving. Do our founding documents and subsequent court rulings provide us ample guidance to move into the future as new circumstances arise? Do caveats and/or exemptions need to be added or deleted? Do we need further clarification via more detail or simplification? Note: Papers must follow all elements of APA format. In addition to substantive content, assignments will also be graded on grammar, format, compliance with directions, and mastery of the material.


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