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School: Central York High School

Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Opinion of the Court: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey is between Albert Florence and Burlington County. Albert Florence was driving through Burlington County, NJ when he was stopped by an officer because a warrant for his arrest had been issued due to an overdue fine. Mr. Florence presented documents that proved he had paid the fine but the officer still took him to the station in the police car where he was strip searched and body-cavity searched. He was then searched again six days later when he was transported to a correctional facility. The next day all of the charges were dropped and he was released. Mr. Florence then sued the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County (the prison) for violating his fourth amendment right by subjecting him to unreasonable search and seizure.

After balancing the difficulties of prison life with the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, we the court rule in favor of the prison in this case. The fourth amendment states that, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately probable cause cannot be used in this prison though because it could lead to individualized discrimination and suspicion which can be just as unwanted as a strip search. Because of this, a blanket policy is the best way to prevent unwanted weapons and disease from entering the prison, and is therefore constitutional and supersedes Mr. Florence’s fourth amendment right.

 

This precedent was established in Bell v. Wolfish when the Supreme Court upheld that a prison strip search policy is constitutional and “reasonable individualized suspicion” was not necessary. They decided that preventing dangerous weapons and diseases from entering the prison was more important than an individual’s right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. This is extremely similar to the case of Albert Florence which means that in order for the Court to rule in favor of Mr. Florence, they would have to directly overturn this established precedent. Twenty nine years later in the case of Powell v. Barrett the court upheld the decision made in Bell v. Wolfish when they again ruled that the strip search was not unconstitutional. They didn’t believe that the search presented then was any worse than the search that had been conducted in Bell v. Wolfish. The concept that strip searches are justified was again proven in the D.C. Circuit court in the case of Bame v. Dillard. In this case, a group of males were forced to strip and have a cavity search performed on them by a police officer. After finding nothing, the issue was taken to the court where the D.C. Circuit court found that it was Constitutional for the search to have been performed without, “reasonable, individualized suspicion.” The Supreme Court has ruled against strip search policy though. In the case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding, a 13-year old girl was strip searched after being suspected of having prescription-strength ibuprofen. The court ruled that in this instance, the school had no right to conduct a strip search. This is different from the case of Albert Florence though, as there was no blanket policy in effect at the school and the girl did not have the potential to harm other students with the prescription strength ibuprofen she was suspected of having. Because of the many precedents that were extremely similar to that presented in the case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, the court rules in favor of the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ.

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The Free Exercise Clause

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the end I do not agree that ministerial exception allows employment laws to be overlooked for it would violate their free exercise. As long as the law applies to all religions and churches then they are all equally being treated the same and have the same exercise. Much like it has been decided in prior case laws. If anything it would be appropriate if said religious “business” could fire based on evidence that shows the person in question violating their religion. Otherwise just simply removing someone when it is clearly against employment laws is not viable.
When you make personnel decisions you must carefully consider who you are choosing and extensively look into their character when debating choosing them for a religious job. In this case the church is at fault if they don’t like who they hired in the first place. This is where the ability to fire them based on violation of faith with concrete proof would be alright and allow ministerial exception to adapt to current law.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey, a man named Albert Florence was pulled over for a routine traffic stop one day and it was discovered that there was a warrant for his arrest for failure to pay a routine fine. Florence proved that he had paid the fine with documents, but he was arrested anyway. He was taken to jail, and when he was admitted, he was strip searched. These strip searches were under the jail’s blanket policy that all male inmates would be subjected to a search upon arrival. The following day, Florence was released and all charges were dropped. Florence sued the jail and won in District Court, but then the Jail appealed and won in the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court will rule in favor of the Board of Freeholders because Florence’s Fourth Amendment Rights were not violated during the search. The Blanket Policy of the prison protects them from losing this case. They subjected this search to all male individuals, suspicious or not. While Florence may be seen as a not suspicious inmate, he still is subjected to the same treatment as the other inmates at the prison. Bell v. Wolfish is a very similar case to this, where it was ruled that a prison may conduct a strip search after a supervised visit with a guest from outside the prison. This applies to this case because Florence was coming from outside of the prison and therefore, it was unknown what markings or items he had on him. Also, in the case of Powell v. Barrett the Court concluded that a Blanket Strip Search policy was completely constitutional. This policy is almost identical to the one used in Florence’s case. Finally, in the case of Michigan v. Fisher it was ruled that it was ok for police to search a house without a warrant when circumstances say there’s something wrong (in this case, it was a broken window and blood on the hood of a car). Florence was brought to prison because it was believed he had done something wrong, therefore, the strip search was done in suspicion. Overall, the evidence and previous cases force the court to rule in favor of the board.

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Amicus

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Prison safety is a necessity and therefore, strip searches are needed to help keep prisons safe. In the case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders, the Supreme Court should rule in favor of the Board because they in no way, shape, or violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The Court’s Blanket Policy says that all male prisoners are subjected to strip searches, this means they had a right to search Florence based on probable suspicion. Florence was an inmate and sent to prison because he had done something wrong, those working had to make sure he had no weapons or gang related tattoos because if he did, that would make the prison more of an unsafe place than it could already be considered to be. When the court rules in favor of the board, it will show how the prison can do what it needs to do to continue to make prisons safe (within reason). It will show other prisons that they can perform reasonable strip searches without penalty of law and thus stop problems for starting. This would create less gang violence and allow less contraband to come into prisons. This would slow down and impede the productions of things such as shivs, shanks, and illegal tattoo guns. With this ruling in place, prisons would become one step closer to being a safer place.

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The Cost of Safety

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Current Events should affect the balance of safety measures. While granted you can’t lower your guard anymore in this world, you should still be able to find a way to weed out all the ridiculous, yet useful safety measures in such a way that you would still be just as safe, but be able to take some of the stress out of doing something. For example, if a prison has been getting a large flow of small time and petty criminals, they should ease their restrictions on searching and checking inmates as they come in. Also, for example, if the terror threat is low in an airport, don’t subject the passengers to as many screenings and security checks. September 11th changed the world when it came to public safety, but as time went on and we began catching terrorists and began ‘winning’ our battle against terror, Americans began to ease off a little and stop watching their backs so much. Overall, events in history will constantly shape how we keep ourselves secure; the question we must ponder however is: How much is too much…

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the case of Hosanna Tabor Church v. EEOC, a woman named Cheryl Perich taught at the Hosanna Tabor Church’s school. She was employed there from 1999-2005. IN 2004 she left on medical leave and was diagnosed with narcolepsy. She was guaranteed her job when she came back. However, when she returned, she was asked to quit after being offered a package. She refused and took the case to court, which violated the church’s belief that all affairs should be handled domestically. This led up to the case which is being discussed today.

            Writing for the majority, the court will vote in favor for the Hosanna Tabor Church because their religious practices are protected under their First Amendment right of freedom of religion. Under the First Amendment, no law can be made that impedes a religion. This also applies to the idea that no judgment can be made if the said judgment impedes a religious group. While Perich was fired because the church felt she would be unable to perform her duties as a teacher due to her illness, which is a direct violation of the ADA, the court will rule in favor of the Hosanna Tabor Church because they cannot rule against the practicing of a religious group, as it would be unconstitutional to. The Church is free to do as they see fit and since she took classes based on religion and taught religion in some way, even if it was minute, in the classroom, her job, whether seen by the church as a religious one or not, contained religious aspects to it.

In Cases such as EEOC v. Waffle House Inc., the case was tried in favor of the EEOC. In this case a man suffered a seizure at work and was fired. This, however, would not be the same ruling in this case because Waffle House is not a religious institution. In the case of Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, Milivojevich was removed from his seat from the church for canonical misconduct. Milivojevich sued and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese because it was felt that the Supreme Court of Illinois (who ruled that Milivojevich needed his job back) stepped beyond the first amendment rights of the church. In the case of Employment Division v. Smith a group of Native Americans were fired from their jobs because they smoked peyote during a break, a substance that is illegal in Oregon. The Court ruled in favor of the state, saying that they do not allow persons to violate laws based solely on the fact that it is for religious purpose. The church violated no real laws if one thinks about it. She was fired because she went against the ideology of synod because she took the matter to court. Finally, in Locke v. Davey, the court ruled that the government does not violate any laws by only funding non-religious scholarships in some cases. This means that the government should not get involved with outside religious activity.

In conclusion, the court will rule in favor of Hosanna Tabor Church because based on evidence and the First Amendment, there is no way the court can rule in favor of the EEOC because it would be violating their First Amendment right of the Government not interfering with religious activities.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the case of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the court should rule in favor of the church. I represent a religious school and I feel that the idea of “ministerial exception” greatly applies here. To begin with, the government should not become involved in religious affairs. It does not say in the Constitution that church and state must be separated, but it is a regarded and accepted fact that the two need to be separate. The government should not step in and handle religious affairs. Secondly, Ms. Perich taught at the school and gained the status as a “called” teacher only after she took a variety of classes, including ones stemmed deeply in religious ideology. While she did teach a secular subject (math to be specific), she obviously did teach some religion in the classroom. Since the school was a religious school, the ideology of the church must have been included in the curriculum; therefore, she had to have taught religion in some way in her classroom.

If the court were to rule in this way, this would affect future precedents based on the same subject, making ministerial exception apply to teachers in the school as well. This would make Serbian Orthodox Church v. Milivojevich’s ruling stand strong. Overall, the Court should rule in favor of the Church, mainly because the First Amendment would block any ruling that the court would make because the government is not allowed to make any law that impedes the religious doings of the church.

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Free Exercise Clause

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I agree with the ministerial exception ideology. The First Amendment of the Constitution blocks the Government from making any sort of law or choice that would impede the beliefs of a religious institution. The church is allowed to make their own decisions and, as long as they are not morally unacceptable they should be free to do so. Personnel decisions equate to the free exercise of religion in a variety of ways. The Church can do as they see fit to help them. Obviously, the church found Perich as a blemish on their staff because they felt she could not appropriately supervise the children and advise them on religious matters. Therefore, it is fine that they asked her to leave. The church should be able to freely hire and fire as they please. Lawsuits from former employees will infringe on this right, because they will bring up the argument about who is applicable to the idea of ministerial exception. This topic is what this case is about; are all workers in the church applicable because they are serving God in some way, or is it just those that have religious advisory in their job description? In the end, while very controversial in nature, the free exercise clause is definitely a good thing to remember when ruling on a religious case.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the case of M.B.Z. v. Clinton, the question is asked if Congress interfered with the President’s foreign policy making power by passing a law that said the State Department must list Israel for place of birth for Americans born in Jerusalem. This is a serious question because the location of Jerusalem and the idea of a state of Israel is a highly disputed topic in the Middle East. Congress passed this legislature in 2002, however, when President George W. Bush signed the bill, he noted that Section 214(d) was unconstitutional because Congress was attempting to change the State Department and the President’s stance on the state of Israel. In Article II of the Constitution, it is stated that only the State Department and President have power to determine US foreign policy.

Overall, the case should be dismissed because it is a political question and therefore cannot be ruled on by the Courts, however, if the Supreme Court were to agree to rule on it, the court will rule in favor of Clinton because Congress violated Article II of the Constitution by attempting to influence foreign policy. Whether Former President Bush was for or against the Jerusalem being considered part of Israel, Congress was still influencing judgment by saying that Jerusalem is considered part of Israel in their statement. This kind of decision can only be made by the President and the State Department. In the case of Goldwater v. Carter, it was ruled that in the case of a political question, the President does not need the opinion or the influence of Congress. Foreign Policy can be considered a political question; therefore, The President can disregard the ideology of Congress and forward his own opinion. Also, U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. established that the President has exclusive power to make foreign policy decisions. It is acceptable for Congress to have no say in any foreign policy decisions that the President and his constituents make. Finally, in Republic of Iraq v. Beaty, it was determined that the President could wave an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which would have allowed American P.O.W.’s to sue the Republic of Iraq. This shows the President has final say in all Foreign Policy Decisions, and therefore is correct in saying that Congress cannot influence judgment over a highly disputed location of a city such as Jerusalem.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The security of America is the chief responsibility of our justice system and that extends to the rights of those in our prison systems. That is why search policies that help protect everyone in the prison must remain in place. A blanket strip search policy may be uncomfortable and feel violating to an inmate but not nearly as uncomfortable as the knife an inmate managed to sneak in would feel. While it is more probable that a repeat offender or someone arrested for violent crime would have a weapon then other inmates even a small chance of weapons or drugs entering the jail that could be prevented is too high. Also the search checks for diseases doesn’t correlate to having a criminal past or not. Even if a system was made to only screen certain inmates it would still leave a chance of something entering from an unsearched inmate and would no doubt be biased. I biased system would lead to discrimination law suits against the jail and the “harmless” looking inmates let through without a search may very well be the ones who have the most to hide. The current system of searching inmates is the only sure way to make sure that nothing enters the prison therefore it should remain in place.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The President’s power in foreign policy making should not be questioned. It is clearly said in the Constitution that it is the President and State Department’s job to decide foreign policy and not Congress’. Congress’ job is to create laws and adivse the president’s decisions. The President needs to handle foreign policy with only close advisors from the State Department because it is only them who truly know what I going on when it comes to foreign affairs. It is only them who are briefed daily on world events and news from first hand resources. With the Court ruling in favor of Clinton and the State Department, this would forward the idea that only those whose primary job is to handle foreign policy could have a say on issues that deal with world affairs. That way Congress would no longer have any say in what happens in the US when it comes to foreign relations. In the end, it would be absurd to rule in favor of M.B.Z. because it would violate Article II of the Constitution and put more power in the hands of the Legislative branch than the Executive Branch, thus throwing off the checks and balances of the government.

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The Cost of Safety

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

 

In recent years the United States has moved towards a bigger emphasize on societies safety then individual rights. The US PATRIOT Act gave government agencies more freedoms to investigate alleged terrorists, like the ability to wire tape phones, seize a suspected terrorist groups assets, and to hold those suspected in a terror plot without trial, which decrease the freedoms of the charged individual. However the government considers the loss of these people’s freedoms acceptable if it saves lives by preventing terrorist’s attacks. Many people may be against the PATRIOT Act in theory but the general fear of terrorists in America is greater than our fear of our rights being violated. Maybe in the future once the terrorist threat is diminished the powers given by the PATRIOT Act will be shocking to future generations but currently we need to be secure in our thoughts that our government is keeping us safe.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court rules in favor of the Board of Freeholders because the safety of the whole prison is greater than an individual’s freedom from a search. Florence brought this case against the Board of Freeholders because he felt his Four Amendment rights were violated when he was twice strip searched after being arrested for an outstanding speeding ticket (that he had already paid). The district court agreed with Florence that his rights had been violated but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision which lead the Supreme Court to hear the case.

The Four Amendment of the Constitution guarantees citizens protection from unreasonable search and seizer; however unreasonable is not defined so other Supreme Court cases must be looked at for what searches are considered reasonable. In Bell v. Wolfish the Court ruled that a blanket search policy is constitutional and individual suspicion is not needed in the prison environment. In a similar case, Powell, v. Barrett, the court used the precedent from Bell to decide if a policy that was almost the same as in this case was legal. The Court rules in favor of the Board of Freeholders because the precedent of Bell and Powell both state that a blanket strip search policy in prisons does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I believe that the Founding Fathers separated the powers of our government in such a way because they wanted to make sure that no one official or group gains too much power. It all relates to the idea of Checks and balances which means that each branch of government regulates the other branches of government. The Legislative Branch advices the Executive Branch by making laws fitting to what the people want, and the Judicial Branch makes sure these laws are constitutional. This is only one example of the many ways checks and balances are used in the government. The Founding Fathers also felt that King George’s rule was beginning to get tyrannical which was the reason for the Revolution. They wanted to make sure that their government was strong enough and had enough checks and balances in it to stop tyrannical rule from happening, but still allowed people to have their freedoms and let leaders exercise their power based on their own whim and what’s best for the nation.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the case of Rehberg v. Paulk, the Pheobe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia was sent many anonymous faxes criticizing the way the Hospital was doing business. Rehberg was apparently alleging that the hospital was being economically dishonest. A man named Ken Hodges agreed to investigate the anonymous faxes as a favor to the hospital. James Paulk, an associate of Hodges, believed Rehberg was responsible, so he issued fake subpoenas to get Rehberg to issue his phone records and electronic data from his e-mail provider. Also, the subpoenas claimed that a jury was formed and requested the documents. This was a lie. Enough evidence was compiled to send him to court and charge him with assault, burglary, and harassment. A claim was made by Paulk, the only witness, that Rehberg broke into Dr. James Hotz’s office and assaulted him. This was also a lie. After Paulk confessed that he had no evidence to back this up, the case was dropped. Rehberg over the next year was brought back to court twice for assault and harassment based on Paulk’s testimony. Both were dropped due to lack of evidence.

The court should rule in favor of Rehberg in this case. Rehberg’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated in this case, and while Paulk may have immunity, he still filed false subpoenas and lied in court. Also, there are a variety of cases that would back up this argument. For example, in Kalina v. Fletcher, a man named Kalina submitted an affidavit to try to get another man named Fletcher on probable cause. Kalina swore to tell the truth in his affidavit under penalty of perjury. Eventually, it came to light that Kalina lied in his affidavit and was then sued by Fletcher. The Court found that a prosecutor who lies under an affidavit for an arrest warrant is not under absolute immunity. This shows that, in Rehberg v. Paulk, a subpoena also can’t be written in falsehood, and that Paulk did something wrong. Also, in the case of Malley v. Briggs, a Rhode Island state trooper filed an affidavit for the arrest of Briggs. Briggs was arrested and testified against by Malley (the trooper), but Briggs was never indicted. Briggs then sued Malley and Malley claimed he should be exempt. The Court ruled that he is only applicable to qualified immunity because he was a complaining witness. This means that is Paulk is anything, he would only have qualified immunity because he testified as a witness, but at the same time, Paulk did not do work for the government. Technically, he was working for the hospital and was not working for the government; therefore, qualified immunity would not apply to him. Finally, in Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, the ruling was made that prosecutors were not exempt from lawsuits when they fabricate evidence. It is obvious that Paulk fabricated evidence in his subpoenas and lied in court and came out about it during the trial. Overall, it is obvious that Paulk should be punished in this case and that the ruling should be in favor of Rehberg.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In the case of Rehberg v. Paulk, the ruling should be made in favor of Rehberg. Prosecutors and police officers should not be allowed to say what they want to in court, and then easily get away with it. Overall, regardless of what the law says, Paulk and his associates committed an ethical and moral sin. In his fake subpoenas, he violated Rehberg’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. Paulk not only falsified legal documents, even though he made it seem that Rehberg turned them over willingly, but also gave false testimony in court. This also made him ineligible for any sort of immunity because, based on previous court cases, him being a complaining witness made him ineligible for qualified immunity. While, the court may say that if you rule in favor for Rehberg, it would open up for more people to accuse their prosecutors or policemen of foul play, or false ruling, it, in fact, would not it. This could be easily regulated by setting up very specific rules for suing, or charging an officer or person of the law. For example, if the person falsified court documents, they should be able to be charged. The idea that a lawyer can falsify documents and get away with it is despicable. This case should be ruled in favor of Rehberg, and it will show that just because you’re lawyer, doesn’t mean you’re above the law.

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Official Immunity and Section 1983

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1b3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I think the court allows certain government officials to get by on immunity so the court system can remain uncluttered. If the court were to not have immunity most criminals convicted of a felony would sue their prosecutor or who arrested them over something. They could manipulate something the prosecutor said or did and make it seem like they lied to put them into prison. In reference to the Klan problems in the south, I believe that it was put into place so that persecuted African Americans would not sue their white prosecutor and claim that he was in the Klan. This would have kept African American’s voice in government minute in that era. Overall, the concept is both a good and bad thing. If an officer unjustly beats a criminal and has no witnesses, he can’t be sued because he is immune from it. Also, this allows prosecutors to create false evidence in order to get a person into court, such as in this case. Overall, immunity is given to officials so the government won’t have to deal with criminals filing fake cases to get their prosecutors in trouble and therefore tie up the court system.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In this case, the petitioner Cheryl Perich is appealing to the Court for the right to sue her previous employer Hosanna-Tabor Church for firing her under discrimination. She was fired because of the religious school’s concern that she couldn’t properly teach after the health issues she returned from. The respondent Hosanna-Tabor Church argued that the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) did not relate to her because she was fired under ministerial exception. Under the law, ministerial exception is when employees may be fired for any reason that comes into conflict with the religious practices of the institution. This case deals with the ambiguity of the separation of church and state, and with its decision could influence cases in the future. In this situation, the Hosanna-Tabor Church should win the case.

The First Amendment highlights the freedom of religion. Our country was founded to be a federation of states with a separate state and church. In this amendment, it clearly supports why Hosanna-Tabor Church should win the case. Under the free exercise clause, it is unconstitutional to force churches to move away from their orthodox traditions to modern norms that do not follow their designated religions. If the Court rules in favor of Perich, the federal government is interfering with how religious leaders are chosen, and forcing them to comply with the federal employment discrimination laws. Not to mention, under ministerial exception, it is clear that religious leaders are exempt from this law, for it reinforces the freedom of religion promised in the First Amendment.

Furthermore, in the case of Bradfield v. Roberts, it makes it clear that Congress may have no say in creating legislation to control religious institutions. Thus, making any federal employment discrimination void in the case of religious institutions. Consequently, if the ruling was in favor of Perich, it could also interfere with the establishment clause, which could corrupt how religious beliefs are taught to students. This clause clearly prohibits the government from passing legislation that favors a religion over another. As the Court has already voted in the decision of Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, the termination of the bishop was not an appropriate case for the Illinois courts to decide. Hence, the church had a greater priority in manners of electing/removing positions over the federal government. It can be argued that if the Court chooses to support Perich, they are violating the establishment clause by favoring one religion’s right to suspending members and not allowing another religion that right.

As Perich was employed in a religious institution, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to her as she held the position as “commissioned minister”. Perich claims that she was wrongly fired from her job, for ministerial exception did not apply to her since her duties were mainly non-religious. Although her case is certainly unfortunate and emphasizes the ambiguity in the ministerial exception, according to the Constitution, Perich’s case is not strong enough to deter the law.

In the case Employment Division v. Smith, the Court held that an religious objection does not allow a person to disobey the law. This is rightfully so, but does not support Perich’s situation. In Perich’s case, the Hosanna-Tabor church does not have just a ‘religious objection’ to a law, as ministerial exception clearly provides religious institutions to be exempt from the ADA. As for her argument of the application of ministerial exception, it is not wrongly interpreted for any evidence that Hosanna-Tabor can provide with interfering with the religious education of the students can be easily used. Her position, despite what she actually taught, clearly emphasizes that she was part of the religious education that was provided at the school.

In another case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the Court ruled that the school could not use the First Amendment to discriminate which students they chose, since it is not a violation of favoring certain religious groups if they had to accept everyone. This case is a good example of what kind of discrimination should be barred from religious institutions. However, in this case Hosanna-Church is only removing Perich from their institution because it conflicts with their practice of religion. It is not open discrimination to her illness, but a limit as her health situation interferes with her ability to properly uphold the practices the religion requires.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Court should understand the importance of ministerial exception in our government. Our founding fathers clearly created a foundation of a government to separate church and state. The first amendment in the Constitution clearly notes that the freedom of religion should not have interference from the government. As a religious school, I most certainly believe that we deserve the right of the first amendment, which also provides ministerial exception. The government should not be able to regulate who is deserving to be employed at a religious institution, especially if those individuals will damage the curriculum of the religion by providing an inadequate teacher. If the Court chooses to deny us the privilege, then the lines of church and state will become severely blurred. It would clearly infringe upon the rights of the church, as well as the government. Although our founding fathers chose to separate these two sectors, they may begin to influence each other if such court cases begin to pass. Not only will this blur the lines, but other religious practices that do not align with the government’s laws will intervene with religious practices. For example, the prohibitions of women holding positions as a pastor under the Catholic Church may begin to be jeopardized as well. Perhaps the definition and limits of what magisterial exception means should be clarified, but in this case it is obvious Perich falls under this exception. It is extremely important the case should favor Hosanna-Tabor Church. Not only does this case deal with protecting the rights of religious groups, but it threatens the identity of the religions and their beliefs as well.

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EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor’s Effect on Religious Schools

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Oh how dire times are. The Supreme Court have just decided that Cheryl Perich won the case against the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School. For those unfamiliar with this case, Perich has been given the right to sue Hosanna-Tabor, and ruled that firing her under ‘ministerial exception’ was not appropriate- which I do not believe was just. I am concerned about how this court ruling will not affect the first amendment, specifically how the Church will be affected. The ADA does not and should not interfere to how a religious institution should perform its duties. The First Amendment clearly supports our rights. If these court rulings continue, the education that our students receive could have infiltration from the government, and disrupt the purpose of our institution. Perhaps our school should have taken more preventive measures so avoid such a conflict. The roles of teachers could be explicitly stated in their teaching contracts, highlighting the amount of religious influence they hold and making no surprises if such measures happened again. Before the Court ruled the case in favor or Perich, most of the employed teachers and administration were understanding, yet a good number were dismayed. I suppose it was a hurdle we don’t have to deal with. If the case did not favor Perich, I’m sure there would have been demands to add protection to their contracts or some sort of protests. Not much to do about it now, let us just hope no further problems occur in our schools.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In this case, the petitioner Albert Florence is arguing that his Fourth Amendment right was violated when a State Trooper arrested him with a warrant for a fine and subjected him to an invasive strip search. Charges were eventually dropped as the prison realized after six days that he had already paid for them. The respondent Board of Burlington County is arguing that it was constitutional for it was a blanket-policy that was procedure to every person entering the facility. This case deals with the application of the Fourth Amendment, and whether people can be subjected to means of personal obstruction as a routine procedure.

As supported in Bell v. Wolfish, the Burlington County prison does indeed have the constitutional right to propose a blanket-policy. The responding side may argue that it is necessary in order to maintain a safe working environment for the people in the building. However, as emphasized in a later case of Powell v. Barrett, a “reasonable individualized suspicion” was not needed if there was a legitimate need for a blanket policy. As this is rightfully noted, neither of these two cases involved an intrusive nor unreasonable treatment that Albert Florence was subjected under. In most cases, these two cases should make the obvious case for the Burlington County prison’s favor in the case. Unfortunately, this case is different. Under the Fourth Amendment, Florence is protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures”. This is clearly stated in the Constitution and should remain a stronger influence in the decision in this case than those two previous cases.

When Florence was stopped by the State Trooper and taken to the prison, his Fourth Amendment was obstructed. Although Florence had shown proof that he had paid the fine, the State Trooper still arrested him. The Court should favor in Florence’s case not because the blanket-policy was unconstitutional, but because his treatment was unreasonable for not even completing any crime. The opposing side may use the case of Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Nevada to point out the police officer may arrest an individual if there are suspicious factors. However, in this case with Florence, there were absolutely no grounds to be suspicious of. Florence had revealed his proof of payment and had committed no acts that emitted such behavior. Hence, he was wrongfully forced to proceed through a process that stripped him of his rights.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Writing for the majority, the Court rules in favor of Mr. Albert Florence; prison officials had no reasonable suspicion to justify a strip search of Mr. Florence, so Florence’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The US Supreme Court is overturning the ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which reasoned that a blanket strip policy is the most effective way to prevent weapons and disease from entering the prison.

Mr. Florence had an outstanding arrest warrant for not paying a routine fine, which caused his vehicle to be flagged by a police officer. Although Mr. Florence produced official documents proving that his fine had been paid, the officer arrested him and transported him to jail. Upon arrival, Florence was subjected to a cavity and strip search; six days later, upon arrival at a correctional facility, he was subjected to another cavity and strip search. Once officials realized his fine had been paid, Florence was released and all charges were dropped.

The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….” Mr. Florence was cooperative with officers and had no violent crimes on his record; therefore, the officers had no reasonable suspicion upon which to justify a strip search. In 2009, the Supreme Court held that a 13-year old girl could not be searched based on a suspicion of processing prescription strength ibuprofen. A petty suspicion such as this is not grounds for a violation of privacy as protected by the Fourth Amendment; in the case of Mr. Florence there was no suspicion at all. Additionally, Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Nevada established that a police officer is permitted to question an individual if there were ‘suspicious circumstances’ which lead the officer to believe that the individual committed a crime. The key to this case was that suspicious circumstances must have been present. Again, officers had no reason to believe that Mr. Florence posed a threat to the safety of the jail and his search was therefore unprovoked. In Brown v. Plata, the Supreme Court ordered that 30,000 inmates at a California jail be released because of dangerous overcrowding. This ruling was based on the presumption that inmates still deserve a certain portion of their rights protected by the Constitution; could these protected rights then also include unreasonable search and seizure per the Fourth Amendment? In Board of Education v. Earls, students and parents sued a school for enforcing mandatory urinalysis on students wishing to participate in extracurricular activities. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ginsberg wrote that there was not significant suspicion that students were using illegal drugs and the urinalysis tests violated students’ Fourth Amendment rights. Likewise, there was not significant suspicion on which to justify a search of Mr. Florence. The precedents set by these cases enforce an individual’s right to be free from unwarranted searches.

In summary, the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Mr. Albert Florence and overturns the decision of the Third Circuit. Officers conducted a strip search of Mr. Florence upon his arrival at jail because they had a blanket policy of searching all incoming inmates. The officers had no reasonable suspicion in which to justify such a search, so Florence’s Fourth Amendment rights were consequently violated. The previous precedents set by Safford Unified School District v. Redding, Brown v. Plata, and Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Nevada support an individual’s protection from unreasonable searches. It is for these reasons that by a 5-4 majority the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Florence.

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Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey centers around the question, “Is a person’s Fourth Amendment right to protection against unreasonable search and seizure violated when a jail has a policy of strip-searching all prisoners even when a prisoner does not pose a threat to others in the jail?”

In March 2005, Albert Florence was pulled over by a New Jersey State Trooper because of an outstanding warrant for Mr. Florence’s arrest that had been issued for allegedly failing to pay a fine. Although Mr. Florence showed the officer documents stating that he had paid the fine, he was taken to a Burlington County jail. At the jail, he was subjected to a routine strip-search, visual body-cavity search, and shower in front of a correctional officer, all of which are required by incoming prisoners to be subject to. He was transferred to a correctional facility six days later and had to undergo the same search procedures. The correctional facility had a blanket policy of subjecting all incoming male residents to these searches.

Mr. Florence brought a suit against the jail, claiming that the blanket policy violates his and others’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from “unreasonable search and seizure”. The Board of Freeholders contends that the blanket policy is necessary because it protects inmates from dangerous weapons and diseases. In addition, the Board says that the detection of weapons is difficult due to cramped conditions in the prison and that intake searches are the best precautionary measure to take. The District Court has seemed to rule in favor of Mr. Florence while the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court decision and ruled in favor of the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County.

One major Supreme Court case that has set a precedent in this type of case is Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520 (1979). In this case the Court ruled in favor a prison policy of strip-searching all inmates after they have received supervised visits and ruled that “reasonable individualized suspicion wasn’t needed when making a prison strip search. Another case that has set a precedent is Hudson v. Palmer (1984), which determined that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to protection from searches of prison cells.

We the Court have determined that the blanket policy of subjecting all incoming inmates to these searches is constitutional and does not violate Mr. Florence’s Fourth Amendment rights. The searches are a precautionary measure used by Burlington Co. correctional facilities to prevent violence and danger in the prison and to also protect the inmates. In addition, the use of individualized analysis of each inmate can lead to issues regarding discrimination or racial profiling and things of that nature. A complex analysis would not guarantee protection of jail inmates the same way that the blanket policy does. Our decision is supported by the decision made in Bell v. Wolfish to allow inmates to be strip-searched after visits with guests, determining that these searches were constitutional. This decision has been upheld by circuit court decisions in recent years, notably in Powell v. Barrett, and also through the Supreme Court decision in Hudson v. Palmer in 1984

Personally, I believe that the actual Supreme Court will rule in favor of the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County in a 6-3 decision because of many of the reasons I’ve stated above and in large part because they don’t want to overturn the decision made in Bell v. Wolfish. The precedent set in that case is a long-lasting and legitimate one in the eyes of the Court.  There seems to be a division between more liberal and more conservative justices in these types of cases, with the liberal siding with the inmates’ rights while conservatives tend to rule in favor of the prisons. At the end of the day though, a solid precedent will lead the majority to side with the Board of Freeholders in this case.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

I am the leader of an organization that promotes safety in prisons across the country and I am writing to you because I believe that a decision in Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey ruling that these searches are constitutional will keep inmates safe. The blanket policy that seems to be the central issue in the case is a policy that is in the best interests of all who are at the prison because it prevents weapons or other dangerous materials from entering the prison. It also prevents violence between inmates, thus protecting correctional officers who are assigned to break up such skirmishes. The 1979 case of Bell v. Wolfish has set a clear precedent stating that strip-searches of inmates after visits from guests are needed to protect the inmates of the prison. Sometimes a bit of discomfort is the only way to protect people’s lives. If Mr. Florence has an issue with that, then maybe he should think twice before committing an action that caused him to receive a fine and land in a prison. I trust that you will use correct judgment and review past precedents when you make your ruling on this case.

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The Cost of Safety

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Over the past decade, Americans have seen a drastic tightening of security, especially at airports. This increased security is for good reason though, as it is the result of the 9/11 attacks on the United States and subsequent terror plots. Airports now have limitations on what passengers are allowed to bring on plane and may be subject to physical searches of the body as well as x-ray exams of what a person is bringing onto a plane. I believe that this increase in security is extremely important though. People need to understand that if sacrificing a bit of comfort and time saves innocent air passengers and other citizens from dying as the result of a terrorist attack, the increased security is valid and constitutional. Current events do seem to effect the country’s security, one example being Executive Order 9066 which authorized the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II. If the United State enters a long period of time where it isn’t attacked or threatened greatly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a cut back of some security measures. Now I don’t necessarily agree with that but it’s a fact that current events dictate what security measures are taken in our country.

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Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

 

In the case of Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the central issue seems to be whether or not the “ministerial exception” applies to teacher Cheryl Perich. From 1999 to 2005, Perich taught elementary school at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School and taught secular subjects to her class though the school offers a “Christ-centered education” with religious classes and times for prayer. When Perich took a medical leave of absence in 2004 she was promised that her job would be waiting when she returned, but that was not the case when she returned. Hosanna-Tabor had not left an opening for her and she consequently filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging unlawful discrimination and a violation of rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hosanna-Tabor contends that under the First Amendment and the ministerial exception, federal employment discrimination laws do not apply to religious leaders and that federal interference in the hiring and firing of religious leaders is a violation of the church’s First Amendment rights. Perich’s defense states that the ministerial exception to the ADA doesn’t apply to her because her teachings were primarily non-religious. She was however a “commissioned minister” and used religion a few times in the classroom but she mainly used secular teaching materials.

We the court believe that in fact the ministerial exception does not apply to Perich’s teaching role at Hosanna-Tabor mainly because her teaching duties were primarily non-religious. Perich did not hold a high religious position such as a minister or bishop and her role does not affect the religion. Hosanna-Tabor thus wrongfully terminated Perich because her narcolepsy did not interfere with her ability to do her job and the fact the Perich is protected under the ADA.

One previous Supreme Court ruling that has set somewhat of a precedent is Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). Here, some Native Americans in Oregon were fired from their jobs because they smoked peyote, an illegal drug in Oregon, during religious ceremonies. The Native Americans claimed that punishment of using this drug in a religious ceremony is a violation of their First Amendment rights to exercise free religion. The Court ruled that it is constitutional for Oregon to regulate drug use and that it doesn’t interfere with the “free exercise” clause. The First Amendment doesn’t allow someone to disobey the law because of a religious objection. If we apply this ruling to the present case we determine that Hosanna-Tabor cannot disobey the Americans with Disabilities Act because of a religious objection that does not fall under the ministerial exception.

Another court case that has set a precedent is Sutton v. United Airlines Inc., 119 S.Ct. 2139 (1999) which determined that if a disability can be corrected or mitigated, employers can conclude that an impairment does not amount to a ‘substantial limitation.’ Narcolepsy is a condition that has treatments to help the individual but not cure them. Therefore, Perich’s condition can be described as a disability and she is protected under the ADA.

Personally, I predict that the actual Supreme Court decision will be very close, with a 5-4 ruling in favor of Perich and that the termination of her from her teaching position was unconstitutional. The deciding judge will be Judges Clarence Thomas who, though he is conservative and most conservatives will support the church, is chairman of the EEOC. That will ultimately play an underlying role in the decision, which will have a far-reaching impact on how religious institutions view their employees. They’ll have to take in account for what the primary duties of the employees are and whether or not they’re religious.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Members of Supreme Court,

I am a lawyer representing a York Catholic School District in York, PA and I am writing to you in order to help you understand that a decision in favor of Cheryl Perich in Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC will have negative effects on religious establishments all across the country. There is a distinct separation between church and state for a reason and you will violate this separation if you allow Perich to bring this claim against her previous employer. Religious institutions and employees should not be combined with governmental regulations regarding the workplace, an opinion that our own founding fathers believed in. She is covered under the ministerial exception because she is an employee of a church and she does lead her classes in prayer and devotional time. Therefore she is not protected by the ADA. Also, a decision in favor of Perich will open the door for so much gray area and all across the country you will hear of church employees bringing claims against their employer and defending themselves by saying that their duties were primarily non-religious. It is too difficult to determine what duties are primarily religious or non-religious on a case-by-case basis. A definitive precedent for ministerial exception cases needs to be set and this is the time to do that. I have faith that you will make the correct ruling.

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Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The two issues at hand are the following: Does this case involve a political question that may not be heard by the courts? And, did the legislative branch interfere with the powers of the executive branch when it passed a law forcing the State Department to name Israel as the birthplace for American citizens born in Jerusalem?

In 2002, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act was passed through Congress and Section 214(d) states that the State Department must recognize “Israel” as the birthplace of U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem, though the State Department has not wanted to name Jerusalem as the capital because it is the cause of much conflict. President Bush Signing Statement declared that Section 214(d) was unconstitutional because it changed the executive branch’s opinion on Jerusalem, and foreign policy decision are made only by the executive branch.

The Zivotofskys, the petitioner, wish to have the State Department recognize their son’s birthplace as Jerusalem, Israel. They believe that we the Court should hear the case because it deals with the separation of powers. They also argue that the President acted unconstitutionally, not Congress, by attaching a signing statement. Clinton, on behalf of the State Department, has argued the case involves foreign policy issues and can’t be heard by the courts and that President Bush was right in rejecting Section 214 (d) because it was unconstitutional.

We the Court have decided to dismiss this case due to the fact that it involves foreign policy matters, a political question that may not be heard by the courts. The issue of what to declare Jerusalem as part of forces the government to take a stand on a foreign policy issue, which is a dealing of the executive branch. Therefore, we the courts may not hear this case. Addressing the second issue, we the Court rule in favor of Clinton that Congress interfered with the powers of the executive branch because it attempted to change the State Department’s stance on Jerusalem.

One past court decision that we examined to help us in our decision was Goldwater v. Carter where the case was dismissed because the main issue involved ending treaties. Since this involves foreign policy, five of the justices in the 8-1 decision argued that the case involved a political question and couldn’t be heard by the Court. M.B.Z. v. Clinton involves a political question and shouldn’t be heard by the courts. Also, in the Baker v. Carr case of 1962, the court opinion stated the following: “Prominent on the surface of any case held to involve a political question is found: (1) a textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;
(2) or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it . . .” The courts do not have manageable standards for resolving this case as it involves foreign policy and should be dealt with in the executive branch of government. Marbury v. Madison did show that the powers of the executive branch “can never be examinable by the Courts.”

            I personally feel that the actual Supreme Court will agree with my opinion, ruling that this case involves a political question and cannot be heard in the courts. It will be a 6-3 decision with Roberts, Thomas, and Scalia voting in favor of M.B.Z. because they are more conservative justices and conservatives tend to vote in favor of less executive branch power.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

I am writing to you as a supporter of the President’s strong executive power. I believe that in order for the executive branch to hold it’s power as the branch that deals with foreign policy, you must decide to either dismiss the case or rule that Congress acted unconstitutionally when it drafted section 241(d) as part of the FRAA. Madison v. Marbury showed that the powers of the executive branch can’t by dealt with in the courts and that statement is also supported by the Goldwater v. Carter case. There needs to be a clear separation of powers and the executive branch needs to hold onto its ability to make decisions on the global stage.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Framers of the Constitution wanted to prevent a monarchy from becoming the political system of the United States, so they developed a balanced approach to creating a government. The three branches of government, executive, judicial, and legislative, where created first of all to divide the work of the government. Not one single person would have to deal with court rulings and foreign policy. Also involved with the three branches was a system of checks and balances that held each branch accountable to their actions. Not one area of government can gain more control than the others without questions being raised and measures being taken to prevent that. The Framers were tired of their voice not being heard in the British monarchy and they didn’t buy into the idea of “royal blood”. Their new country needed a foundation based on equality and freedom, thus the three branches of government.

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Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

  In the case of Rehberg v. Paulk, the central issue at hand is whether or not a government official who knowingly provides false testimony to a grand jury that results in the arrest of an innocent citizen is entitled to absolute immunity from a civil lawsuit.

In 2003 and 2004, Charles Rehberg, the petitioner in this case, sent anonymous faxes to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia that criticized the hospital’s business practices and ways of dealing with money. District Attorney Ken Hodges, the respondent in this case, agreed to investigate the faxes with Chief Investigator James Paulk, another respondent, as a favor for the hospital. They felt as though Rehberg had sent the faxes so they created fake subpoenas for Rehberg’s phone records and electronic data. The subpoenas lied about the fact that a grand jury was requesting the documents. Rehberg was the charged with assault, burglary, and harassment as Faulk, the only witness to the grand jury, testified that Rehberg broke into a doctor’s house and assaulted him. There was no physical evidence to support this. The jury eventually found there to be a lack of evidence and the charges were dismissed. Rehberg was then indicted for the same charges two more times and both were eventually dismissed.

Rehberg consequently filed a lawsuit saying that Hodges and Paulk violated his constitutional rights under Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983; Civil Actions for Deprivation of Civil Rights, which states that “Every person who . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. . .”

The violation came in the creation of fake subpoenas, knowingly lying to a grand jury, and improper prosecution. Hodges and Paulk contend that the lawsuit should be dismissed because they are protected under absolute immunity, which states that a prosecutor can’t be sued for things the say in front of a jury while acting as a government representative in court.  The district court has ruled in favor of Rehberg, believing that Paulk acted as a complaining witness in the trial, not a prosecutor, and was not protected under absolute immunity, only qualified immunity. The district court reversed that decision and the decision now lies in our hands.

One previous Supreme Court case which will shed some light on the subject is Malley v. Briggs (1986) where court officials determined that government officials who act as complaining witnesses and don’t have enough probable cause for arrest established in their warrant affidavits are only protected under qualified immunity. In the 1976 case Imbler v. Pachtman, although the Court ruled in favor of attorneys or prosecutors having absolute immunity from civil suits resulting from governmental duties, they remarked that absolute immunity may “leave the genuinely wronged defendant without civil redress against a prosecutor whose malicious or dishonest action deprives him of liberty.”

Such is the situation in this case. We the Court believe that Paulk was acting as a complaining witness and is therefore not protected by absolute immunity. Paulk was not working this case as a governmental duty, but rather as a favor for the hospital that inquired about where the faxes were coming from. The respondent lied and used malicious techniques in order to gain information about Mr. Rehberg and did not have enough probable cause for arrest, though Rehberg was arrested anyways. The absolute immunity clause does not protect attorneys who bring up complaints against others, use distasteful and reckless techniques to arrest them for a crime they obviously knew the person had not committed, and then act as the only witness to a grand jury. The respondent is not protected under absolute immunity.

 

I, as a student, believe that the real Supreme Court will favor the petitioner and rule that Paulk is not protected under absolute immunity in a 6-3 decision. The court will find that Paulk was acting as a complaining witness and the fact the Paulk lied and made up documents that led to an arrest will not cause the Court to look favorably towards him. Also in the case is a Fourth Amendment issue. A decision in favor of Rehberg will set a precedent for greater protection against search and arrest when the arrest only comes after government officials have produced false document. I believe that three strong conservative justices, Thomas, Roberts, and Scalia, will vote in favor of Paulk because historically, conservatives have leaned towards supporting absolute immunity for all government officials.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

I am the leader of an organization that fights to support police officers and protect their rights. I believe, as does my organization, that you the Court need to rule that Paulk is protected under absolute immunity in order to protect government officials, especially police officers, from unnecessary and ridiculous lawsuits. A ruling in favor of Paulk will prevent a gray area from emerging when it comes to absolute and qualified immunity. Before you know it, there will be countless convicted criminals asking to have their say in court because they believe they’re owed money by a police officer who lied on the stand or gave incorrect information in their mind. Please remember the precedent that was set in Briscoe v. LaHue (1983) where it was determined that all trial witnesses are granted absolute immunity. The Court was also fearful that if their decision went the opposite way, a flood of lawsuits made by defendants who lost trials against police officers would soon appear. If you don’t rule in favor of Paulk, a door will surely be opened leading to future lawsuits against innocent police officers.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day In Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

When the Court stated in its opinion of the Briscoe v. LaHue case that a decision giving police witnesses only qualified immunity would bring forth a flood of lawsuits made by bitter criminal defendants against police officers, I believe that the Court was only looking out for the best interests of the police officers. The officers do not want to relive a trial in which they’ve already given their solid testimony by having a lawsuit filed against them by the same defendant. It isn’t fair to the police officers to have to risk losing money because an angry criminal feels like the officer’s testimony drastically impacted the case that he or she lost. However, if I am wrong and the Court just did not want the court system to be bogged down by these lawsuits, I believe that the Court has the right to decide that. Police officers are held to a higher standard than regular citizens and therefore deserve a protection of their rights.

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Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC’s Effect on Religious Schools

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-313

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

  As a director of a religiously affiliated school, I believe that if the Court decides to allow employees like Perich to file lawsuits after being terminated, a serious threat is posed to the existence of religiously affiliated schools. The curriculum would need to be watered down to the point that almost all teachers would have primarily secular teaching duties, thus making the once religious school basically the same as a regular public school. Some schools are religiously affiliated for a reason and it isn’t right to force the schools to rid much of the curriculum of religious material in order to protect themselves from a lawsuit. A decision saying that Perich falls under the ministerial exception will provide some clear cut definition to the rule and allow religiously affiliated schools to operate efficiently without the fear of being sued. This would be the best-case scenario for a school like the one I am director at.

 

 

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Opinion of the Court: Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Based on the pretense of the First Amendment and the arguments presented by both sides, the majority of the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Perich and the EEOC. Because Perich taught only secular subjects, minimizing her impact on the students’ faith, the church’s claim of right to free exercise of religion is irrelevant. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Perich’s position did not interfere with the church’s exercise of their religion. When observing the case in this light, the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School clearly infringed upon Ms. Perich’s equal employment rights; they promised her a job upon her returned, and then later terminated her employment for no reason other than her illness. As ruled by the Court in Bowen v. Kendrick, the government may step in to regulate religious organizations’ behavior when the case at hand does not seek to advance religion. The termination of Ms. Perich was not to protect the religious values of the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Luther Church, but rather based strictly on her illness, giving the issue judicial standing. The Supreme Court ruled against the church in Employment Division v. Smith, where Native Americans were fired from their jobs because of the drugs they used in religious ceremonies. Justice Scalia explained that the ruling did not violate the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause because the amendment does not allow for an individual to intentionally break the law with a religious objective. The Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church is also violating employment laws and trying to hide behind the free exercise clause in this same way. Another case, Christian Legal Society, Hastings College of Law v. Martinez, also ruled that policies that applied to everyone did not infringe upon religion institutions, not their First Amendment right, because the policies were nondiscriminatory. The Americans with Disabilities Act indiscriminately applies to all employers, therefore, it also applies to religious institutions.

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Amicus Brief: Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The First Amendment states that the government cannot interfere with a religious organization’s freedom to exercise their faith; while the Americans with Disabilities Act also states that employers cannot terminate an employee’s employment on the sole basis on their illness. In this scenario, the Supreme Court must rule in favor of Ms. Perich and the EEOC because the Americans with Disabilities Act is a nondiscriminatory policy; therefore, should not exclude Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church. The government would in no way be interfering with the ways in which the church functions because Perich’s duties were mainly secular. If the court does rule in favor of church they will be giving them special treatment based solely on their position as a religious institution. This fully supports most churches’ claims that the government is singling them out, though not for the same particular reasons. Countless doorways will be opened for these organizations to further violate the labor laws protecting Americans in the work place if the Supreme Court does rule in favor of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church. Problems in religion-based institutions could escalade as far as sexual harassment, and the court would be able to do nothing about it just because the place of employment is a church. Hosanna-Tabor claims to be an Evangelical Lutheran Church, but that sure didn’t stop them from deliberately violating an employee’s rights. As the modern world progresses, religious organizations are degrading further away from their moral roots and need to be regulated by the government like every other business. Bottom line: what the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church did was judicially and morally wrong, and court simply cannot rule in their favor.

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Opinion of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

After reviewing this case, it has been decided that Cheryl Perich is not covered by the ministerial exception because she spent a majority of her time performing secular duties. Perich was protected by the Americans with Disabilities act, which Hosanna-Tabor violated, even though doctors, as well as the principle, assured Perich that she would be able to return to work. Cheryl Perich had the right to go back to her work. According to the ADA, no employer shall discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard of discharge of employees. The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”, which does matter in this case because Perich’s duties were non-secular. This decision is in disagreement with the past case Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich in 1976, when the Supreme Court decided that church was in the right to fire an employee when  he had misconduct. Another precedent that is in disagreement with our decision is Locke v. Davey. In this case, it was decided that the state was not infringing first amendment rights by denying scholarships to students pursuing religion. The Employment Division v. Smith is also a precedent of interest. In this case, Native Americans were fired because they smoked peyote in religious ceremonies, which is in disagreement with the law of Oregon. The Supreme Court decided that this exercise failed because the First Amendment does not allow a person to disobey the law simply because they have a religious objection. This applies to Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC because Tabor’s termination was unlawful and should not be allowed because it is against the law. Perich should be reinstated to her position.

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Friend of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I am the lawyer for the Hosanna-Tabor religious school. I understand that the court is under the impression that Cheryl Perich’s duties were not secular, however, this is completely wrong. Hosanna-Tabor has, and always will be a religious institution. Hosanna-Tabor’s mission is to provide a safe, nurturing, Christian environment. Therefore, every teacher working there has a religious responsibility. The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Hosanna-Tabor had every right firing Perich. If the EEOC wins this case Perich could go back to class and fall asleep. Also, consider the position that they already replaced. The new employee would lose their new job. Decisions have already been made on cases similar to this one. Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich decided that insubordination was made by the highest authority in the Serbian Orthodox Church, therefore that religious body, not the court, should have the sole power to appoint and suspend. The same reasoning should be made in this case. Another substantial case aligned with this view is Locke v. Davey. In this case, the court decided that the state did not interfere with Davey’s First Amendment rights by only funding non-religious studies. If the state is not interested in funding religious studies, why should they have a say in whether or not this woman should be replaced?

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The Free Exercise Clause

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I believe that the court interfering with the institution’s hiring and firing decisions are justifiable. The First Amendment as I interpret it, only says that one has the right to freely exercise their religion. Hiring and firing is not an exercise of religion, and in a case such as this, it is an illegal act. Perich was under protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She did nothing to break their religion or religious practices. As stated in Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the free exercise clause fails because it does not allow a person to disobey the law simply because they have a religious objection. Perich was doing her duties and the doctor said she could go back to work. There is no way that Hosanna-Tabor had the right to replace her job. Maintaining the ability to make personnel decisions do not equate to the free exercise of religion.

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Opinion of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Reviewing this case, it has been decided that the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey’s actions will be affirmed. The blanket policy is the only way to ensure prison safety. It would be discrimination to single out certain prisoners. Blanket strip searches are important because they search for gang signs, concealed weapons, contraband, and infectious disease. The blanket search will stay as the policy in the Burlington county jail. In Powell v. Barrett, an almost identical case was presented. It was decided that the blanket search was constitutional. A similar decision was made in Bell v. Wolfish. In this case, the prison had a policy of strip searching all inmates following supervised visits with guests from outside the prison. The court decided that “reasonable individualized suspicion” was not necessary to make a prison strip search policy constitutional. In a case similar to Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, Michigan v. Fisher, a decision was made that agrees with the current opinion. In this case, police officers saw blood on the hood of a car and newly broken window on the building. The court noted that they were not required to ignore even the most obvious imminent violence, even though they did not have a warrant. In Florence v. Burlington County, the prison has the right to strip search prisoners because of the potential dangers that prisoners could be hiding. The blanket strip search is for the well being of not only the prisoners, but also the guards.

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Opinion of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court has decided that the case of M.B.Z. v. Clinton cannot be heard by the judicial branch. The case involves foreign policy matters, which are explicitly delegated to the executive branch. The court does not have the power to decide the issue at hand. President George W. Bush was justified in refusing to uphold Section 214(d). This section was unconstitutional because it essentially recognized Jerusalem as a part of Isreal, and attempted to change the executive branch’s stance on Jerusalem. President George W. Bush had the sole power to determine foreign policy because he was in the executive branch, as stated in the Constitution. Congress’s actions were unconstitutional and intended to interfere with his power. Because all of this, Section 214(d) is invalid. A very famous case related to M.B.Z. v. Clinton is Marbury v. Madison. This case concluded that “the President is invested with certain important political powers, in the exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character and to his own conscience…. [This power] respects the nation, not individual rights, and, being entrusted to the Executive, the decision of the Executive is conclusive… [Such acts] can never be examinable by the Courts.” In the case Republic of Iraq v. Beaty, the court decided that it did not have the power to hear the private lawsuit of Beaty, a prisoner of war, against the Republic of Iraq. Simalirly in M.B.Z. v. Clintion, the court does not have the power to hear foreign affairs. In the case of Carter in 1979, the question of whether the President had the constitutional authority to end a treaty without the consent of Congress was asked. The court decided that the case involved a political question and could not be heard. Reviewing all these cases, it is apparent that the court can not hear this case.


Friend of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I am a lawyer for a prisoner rights group, and am very concerned about the court’s decision on Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey. The blanket strip search procedure that the prison in Burlington County is following, is an intrusion on the prisoners rights. The Fourth Amendment clearly states the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. Albert Florence was arrested because he allegedly failed to pay a routine fine, but Florence showed the documents to prove that he payed them. What right do the police have to strip search a man simply because he failed to pay a routine fine? The actions of this prison are in direct disagreement with the Constitution. This case is similar to Safford Unified School District v. Redding in 2009. In this case the Supreme court held that it was unconstitutional for school officials to strip search a 13-year old student who was suspected of hiding a prescription-strength ibuprofen. The search was conducted after receiving a tip from another student. In this case, the actions were unconstitutional because the school did not have real reason to conduct the search. This is similar to the case you are currently considering. Clearly, every person entering do not need a strip search. Florence had not commited a violent crime. There was no need to strip search him. If the court decides that the blanket strip search is constitutional, the effects would be tremendous. The blanket search denies the Fourth Amendment, and if you accept their actions you will be ignoring it as well.

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Administrative Concerns

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The costs associated with more sophisticated screening matter to the constitutionality of strip searches, especially in the current economy.  It is more important for the prisoners to be safe than for them to feel violated. If blanket strip searches stopped, the prison would automatically become a more dangerous place. A prison should not lose its security simply because it can not afford a sophisticated, less intrusive screening.  As of now, strip searching is the cheapest, most efficient way of securing the prison. There is no reason why this should be changed. There is no point in using expensive, sophisticated searches. The prisoner is in jail for a reason. Modern society is making jails more luxorious, however, it is jail. If one does the crime, they should expect a strip search. A sophisticated, expensive model should not be used. If the Fourth Amendment does not protect an individual from being strip searched, there is no reason to pay more money for the comfort of a prisoner.


Friend of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I am a lawyer for a group supporting the President’s strong executive foreign power. I am aware of the case you will hear on November 7, and I am deeply concerned with your decision. Throughout the history of America, it has always been that the President would deal with foreign affairs. I do no believe the court has the right to hear this case. President George W. Bush had the right to deny Section 214(d). The President has, and always should, have the responsibility to recognize foreign governments. If you hear this case, you should recognize the consequences. The most important being that it would take away the power that the president should have. If the court hears this case, it will be reversing decisions made in the past. For example, in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp, it was decided that the President did have the power to establish an embargo on Bolivia, although there is no explicit basis for that power found in the constitution. M.B.Z. v. Clinton is similar to this case in that the Constitution does not explicitly give the president a certain power. However, the President has the exclusive power to make foreign affairs decisions and his authority to carry out foregin policy should not be limited to the powers specifically stated in the Constitution.

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The Validity of Signing Statements

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Once Congress has passed a bill, the President should not be allowed to sign a bill while not enforcing part of it because it is unconstitutional. That action itself is unconstitutional. If the President was allowed to do this, the executive branch could possibly have too much power. If the courts do not agree with a part of the bill, they can decide the constitutionality of it, but not the president.  Signing Statements would not be consistent with Article I, Section 7, Clause 2 of the Constitution which states “Every bill which shall have passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approves it he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which is shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it.” This clearly states that if he denies the bill it should be returned to the House with his objections, where it would be reconsidered. The president does not have the right to pick and chose himself. The court would then have the power to decide if a President has acted unconstitutionally if he refuses to enforce part of a law following an earlier Signing Statement.

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Opinion of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

It has been decided by the court that Paulk is not entitled to absolute immunity from suit. Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983, states, “Every person who . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.” This states that anyone is subject is liable to the party injured if they are deprived of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution. It has also been decided that Paulk only has qualified immunity because complaining witnesses perform different functions than a prosecutor. This case is very similar to Malley v. Briggs in 1986. In this case, the Supreme Court decided that complaining witnesses are not entitled to absolute immunity, but rather, they are just entitled to qualified immunity. Other cases that support the Supreme Court’s decision are Kalina v. Fletcher in 1997, and Buckley v. Fitzsimmons in 1993. In Kalina v. Fletcher, a prosecuter was trying to get a warrent to arrest Fletcher so they gave detailed evidence against fletcher to show probable cause. However, the evidence was later found as inaccurate. The Surpeme Court decided that the prosecuter was not protected by absolute immunity, even though the prosecuter was a government official. In Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, Buckley was placed in jail for three years due to unreliable testimonies. Buckley decided to sue the prosecutors for fabricating evidence and the Supreme court decided that the prosecutors did not have absolute immunity because they fabricated evidence. Considering previous cases, as well as the

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Friend of the Court

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I am a lawyer for a group supporting police officers and I am concerned about your decision on the case of Rehberg v. Paulk. Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983 states that prosecutors cannot be sued for things they say or do in front of a judge or grand jury when the prosecutor is fulfilling his or her duty as the government’s representative in court. Therefore, they are entitled to absolute immunity. If the Supreme Court decides that Paulk is not entitled to absolute immunity, there will be an immense consequence. The decision would open the door to a flood of lawsuits against police officers who testified at trial. This is not in the best interest of the courts. In the case of Briscoe v. LaHue in 1983, the Supreme Court mentioned this potential issue in its decision. The issue will be no different on November 1, 2011. As you make your decision, I ask that you consider the effect that it will have on police officers around the entire nation.

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Official Immunity and Section 1983

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I do not believe that it is right for government individuals to be absolutely immune from suit. I believe that Section 1983 is correct if every person who deprives a citizen of their rights shall be liable to that citizen. However, Government officials should not be excused from this. In situations such as the response to the Klu Klux Klan, the law may have been necessary, but it is not fair anymore. It is used far beyond what it is intended for.  The current state of this law allows for complete abuse by government officials. The Supreme Court should seriously review Section 1983 and decide if it is truely constitutitional, without worrying about a future flood of lawsuits against government officials.

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Discrimination & Religious Employees: Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC

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School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I believe, without a doubt that religious organizations, including churches, temples, mosques, and religious schools, could and will abuse their exemption from employment lawsuits. Labor laws were established to protect all Americans in their place of employment; therefore, religious institutions should not be exempt from them. However, I understand if a church refuses to hire an individual because of their race, sexuality, or disability status. Though I believe it to be morally wrong, certain religions have incredibly strong beliefs when it comes to such issues, especially homosexuality. In cases like this, the issue at hand would interfere with the religious beliefs and practices of the church in which the individual was hired. My problem with Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC is Ms. Perich was hired before being diagnosed with her illness, and fired before she came back from the hospital. There was nothing to base the termination of her employment off of besides the idea that she wouldn’t be able to perform her job.

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Opinion: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

What happened to Mr. Albert Florence is certainly unfortunate; however, the Supreme Court must rule in favor of the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey. It’s no secret that federal and state penitentiaries are prone to severe violence between the inmates. One of the only ways to monitor this is a mandatory strip search for all incoming inmates. Mr. Florence argued that these invasive strip and body cavity searches violated his Fourth Amendment right of protection from unreasonable search and seizure. The problem with this argument is that the jail did indeed have a reason to perform the search; Mr. Florence had a warrant out for his arrest and was therefore a criminal in the eyes of the judicial system. The jail’s blanket policy of subjecting all incoming male residents to these searches was standard procedure to protect the well being of all inmates. In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Nevada, the Supreme Court ruled that a police officer may ask for identification of an individual if there is suspicion of a crime being committed. In Florence’s case, there was probable cause to perform a strip search because he was being brought into a correctional establishment that must be monitored for incoming drugs and dangerous weapons that could hurt other inmates. Block v. Rutherford determined under the Fourteenth Amendment that the Central Jail’s blanket prohibition on contact visits is an entirely reasonable, an acceptable response to legitimate security concerns (http://supreme.justia.com/us/468/576/). Brown v. Plata ruled that even though criminals may be in prison, but they still have a right to safety from those around them. This right outweighs the person comforts Florence demanded through the Fourth Amendment. If he were in fact guilty of the charges he was brought in on, he would have wanted the other inmates searched for deadly weapons as well.

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Opinion: Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

From September 2003 to March 2004, the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia received aggressive faxes accusing them of financial dishonesty. The District Attorney of Dougherty County’s Chief Investigator, James Paulk looked into the case as a favor to the management at the hospital. Paulk created false subpoenas and warrants to gain enough evidence against Charles Rehberg, the accused harasser. On December 14, 2005, Rehberg was prosecuted and charged with assault, burglary, and harassment because of the evidence and testimony Paulk provided. Rehberg appealed the court’s ruling and the case made its way up to the Supreme Court. After reviewing the evidence, law, and arguments, the highest court in the land will rule in favor of Paulk, under absolute immunity. It is without a doubt that Mr. Paulk violated Mr. Rehberg’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy; however, under Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983 which states that a prosecutor is absolutely immune from suit for malicious prosecution, Paulk cannot be prosecuted for his false testimony. The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Rehberg would lead to infinite civil cases against prosecutors from both the winning and losing sides. The Supreme Court took this stance in the Briscoe v. LaHue preceding, ruling that police officers could not be prosecuted in civil court because of a false testimony. Investigators may also not be subject to suit if a false arrest was made with an outstanding warrant in Baker v. McCollen (www.ahcuah.com/lawsuit/ussc/baker.htm). In similar cases, including Kalina v. Fletcher, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forging arrest warrants voided a prosecutors absolute immunity, however, Paulk created false subpoenas and search warrants to gain evidence for the prosecution; therefore, not violating the rulings of Kalina v. Fletcher and still preserving Paulk’s absolute immunity.

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Amicus Brief: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Keeping the public safe from criminals has always been a top goal of our government; and making sure correctional facilities are safe goes right along with that. The blanket policy that implements mandatory strip searches for all incoming prisoners that is being called into question is certainly constitutional in order to protect the employees and inmates at the correction center. Prisons are known for being breeding grounds for dangerous communicable diseases and deadly to those not high on the jail’s underworld hierarchy. Guards at these establishments need to be able to adequately protect the other inmates from these hazards, and the easiest way to do that is to perform mandatory strip searches on all incoming prisoners. This allows for the prison staff to regulate, or seize, gang signs, concealed weapons, contraband, and infectious diseases entering the establishment. It’s simply impractical for guards to wait until there’s a fight with deadly weapons, or drug bust, or lethal AIDS outbreak to do anything about what the prisoners are bringing in. For the safety of everyone there, it’s completely necessary for convicts to undergo a strip search upon the arrival at any detention center. The pure fact that they are indeed convicted criminals is enough probable cause to make the blanket policy perfectly constitutional.

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Social Cost: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Mr. Florence’s situation is certainly unfortunate. With that being said, I still do not believe he should be exempt from the strip searches required of all other inmates just because he does not have a criminal background. Florence could very well have internal gang affiliations that just have not been discovered yet. I really do wish that everyone could be trusted for who they appear to be, but that’s just not possible in today’s society. At my high school that opposite rule is almost in effect; students who get in trouble to most receive lesser punishments because they’re closer to the administrators than those of us who stay out of trouble. The bottom line is that life isn’t fair. The guards at the dealt with Mr. Florence were just doing their jobs making sure the prison remained secure, had he stayed there longer I’m sure Mr. Florence would have appreciated the safety the staffed worked to maintain.

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Opinon of the court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Nathaniel Miranda

Fantasy Scotus

 

Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

 

Opinion of the court:

 

Cheryl Perich taught elementary school at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School. Although the school offers student a “Christ-centered education” that involves religious classes, Perich taught classes that had no religious views or bias. By 2005 Perich earned her “called” teacher status, which requires completing religious classes and being voted in by board members of the church congregation.

 

In 2004, Perich was diagnosed with narcolepsy, which caused her to take a leave of absence. The principal and doctors assured her that she would still have a position after receiving proper treatment. Towards the end of Perich’s leave the principal became concern that her disability would interfere with her ability to effectively teach a class. The principal deemed her unable to teach and said that her position was no longer available at Hosanna-Tabor.

 

The church showed a sign of guilt by offering her a peaceful release agreement where she could resign and in exchange the church would give her partial payment of her healthcare expenses. Perich rejected the offer, retained a lawyer, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This case ultimately refers to the church’s first amendment right to freely exercise religion and how that right relates to church’s ability to be sued by their former employees who claimed they were discriminated against.

 

While deciding which way the Supreme Court justices will rule, we have to take into consideration their political values and decisions on prior cases. Five out of the nine Supreme Court justices have conservative political views. Based upon this I can conclude that they will most likely side with the church because conservatives contain more religion based values.

 

Also the last Supreme Court case that dealt with the church’s first amendment right was the well-known controversial case of Snyder V. Phelps. The Westborough Baptist church protested Michael Snyder’s funeral because he died in the protection of this country. The church believes that God hates America and our troops because we support homosexual orientation and our troops protect those values. Members of the Westborough Baptist Church stood 30 feet away from where the funeral took placed and screamed demeaning and even discriminating things to the mourning family. Al Snyder, Michael’s father, took the Westborough Baptist Church to the Supreme Court but the Justices ruled against him, favoring that the Westborough Baptist Church was not unconstitutional in their protesting tactics since they were 30 feet away from the church (a law states you must protest at least 30 feet away from churches).

 

In Bell v. Wolfish, the Supreme Court upheld the policy of strip-searching inmates following supervised visits with guest outside the prison. Throughout this case the court proposed a complex balancing test, but concluded that it was not necessary to make a prison search constitutional.

 

In the Supreme Court case of Southern Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich the issue of the church’s first amendment right came into play once again. The Serbian Orthodox Church removed Milivojech from his bishop position for “canonical misconduct,” but Milivojech challenged his termination at the Supreme Court of Illinois and the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court ruled that the termination of a bishop for insubordination is a matter of church governance, therefore the religious body, not the court, should have the sole power to appoint and suspend bishops.

 

In Employment Division v. Smith several Native Americans were terminated from their jobs but they were denied unemployment benefits because they smoked peyote (which is a drug outlawed on Oregon) during religious ceremonies. The fired employees sued their former employer, claiming that punishment for their drug usage during a religious ceremony was a violation of their first amendment right to freely exercise religion. The Court believed that it is legal for the state of Oregon to control drug use and that the law does not conflict with the “free exercise” clause. Justice Scalia explained that the free exercise of religion dispute failed because the First Amendment does not permit a person to violate the law because of a religious objection.

 

Based upon the information I researched and prior rulings, I can confidently predict that the Supreme Court will favor the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School. The churches are strongly protected by their first amendment right, even though some of these cases seem unethical, the federal government does not have the judicial authority to overrule the church. As long as the church is not directly disobeying the law (partaking in illegal activities) the first amendment will protect them. The impact of this case will help set in stone on what kind of role the government plays on church matters.

 

Throughout researching this case I concluded that if I were to be a justice in this case, I would rule in favor of the church. Even though some of these cases seem unethical it is not the government role to monitor religious sanctions and ceremonies.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

We of the Supreme Court believe that Paulk should not be immune due to the fact that he acting as a complaining witness. At the time of the hearing to the grand jury, Paulk was acting as a complaining witness not as a prosecutor; therefore there is not any kind of immunity to protect Paulk. The case of Malley v. Briggs is a very similar to the present case. In Malley v. Briggs the court found that absolute immunity did not apply when the he was acting as a complaining witness. This is very similar to the case we have heard. Paulk acted as the complaining witness not as a prosecutor therefore absolute immunity does not cover him. We also believe that the fact he forged documents is very wrong. This is what Mr. Rehburg did in the first place and later this is what Paulk did to make his case stronger. Two wrongs do not make a right. In the case of Kalina v. Fletcher, the Supreme Court found that a prosecutor could not make false statements and documents and still be protected by absolute immunity. Again this case is very similar to the case in which we are now hearing. In final case Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, the court found that a prosecutor is not protected from lawsuits by absolute immunity after fabricating evidence. This is exactly what Paulk did by creating false documents. So we as the court believe that Paulk is not immune by absolute immunity based on the facts that he was acting as a complaining witness and by fabricating evidence.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

As a former police officer I believe that there needs to be more laws and regulations to protect law enforcement officers and prosecutors from law suits. The job of law enforcement officials is difficult enough without having to worry about doing the right thing so you are not getting sued. This is also a matter of safety, let alone pride. There are some instances where a police officer is put into a very difficult decision, and they have to make spur of the moment decisions. These decisions shouldn’t be impeded with the chance of a lawsuit. If you have that chance in the back of your mind, you might do something slower, and less which could be very dangerous to you or others around you. Also if a lawsuit is brought against you, your integrity is put into question. Your co-workers start to doubt your abilities. Lawsuits that are brought against might also make it more difficult to move up in your job to a higher position. If an officer or prosecutor totally messes up and does something to cause harm to someone, then there needs to be actions taken. As of right now it is way to easy for a person to bring a case against a cop. There needs to be a happy medium from what we are right now. I would like to thank you for your time, and I hope that you take this into consideration for now and into the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

Officer Payne

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Amicus Brief: Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The District Attorneys and police officers of this nation lay their lives on the line every day to protect the citizens of this fine country. When they have a lead on a criminal who is endangering and harming the lives of others around them, these individuals fight to put them behind bars. The public expects them to do everything they can do catch the bad guy. Yet, they still they face harsh criticisms when a defendant believed to be guilty walks free, and even more ruthless battering when an investigator steps across certain lines to gather quality evidence. Prosecutors deserve absolute immunity from all civil cases regarding their work on the case. Though it isn’t exactly correct for investigators to gather evidence in this way, they are indeed looking out for society as a whole and they have the protection of absolute immunity. Absolute immunity states that prosecutors have complete immunity for any activities that they undertake in their representation of the government and that are associated with the argumentative aspects of the criminal process. Simply said, prosecutors cannot be sued for things they say or do in front of a judge or grand jury when the prosecutor is fulfilling their duty as the government’s representative in court. The bottom line is that Mr. Paulk, as a testifying witness for the prosecution, is granted this immunity from the court.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief:

(Theoretical amicus brief)

 

“This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule 37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases or their counsel authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the preparation and submission of this brief.” (Wilson-Epes Standardized Format for Legal Briefs)

 

I am Nathaniel Miranda, a lawyer that represents the Christian coalition of America among with many other religious organizations. I am a graduate of Harvard school of Law and am currently practicing law in Boston, Massachusetts. I have participated in several controversial court cases which helped developed the church’s rights under the first amendment. These Keystone court cases consist of Southern Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich and Snyder v. Phelps.

 

I have no financial interest in the Defendant in this case; nor do I have any financial interest in any other religious organizations. The views expressed in this brief are my own. I have drawn upon the advice of a number of colleagues and friends in forming these views. These include Central York High School teacher Dayna Laur and fellow colleagues of Central York High School AP Government and Politics class.

 

Cheryl Perich alleges that the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School has discriminated against her because she lost her job after being diagnosed with a disability and taking a medical leave of absence. She claims that the Principal assured her that she will have a job once she receives proper treatment. The Court has asked me to address the question on whether the church was discriminatory towards Cheryl Perich or if the church is protected under their first amendment rights.

 

There is no reason to believe that the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School was discriminatory through their action of firing Cheryl Perich. Cheryl Perich was unable to effectively teach a class. The church assured her a job under the circumstances that she receives proper treatments and displays signs of improvements. When Perich returned from her medical leave of absence, she was unable to provide the students with the optimal level of education. The principal deemed her unable to teach and said that her position was no longer available at Hosanna-Tabor. Perich, retained a lawyer, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This case ultimately refers to the church’s first amendment right to freely exercise religion and how that right relates to church’s ability to be sued by their former employees who claimed they were discriminated against.

 

I believe that the federal government cannot implement any rulings against the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School because this is a matter upon church governance. The church government made a decision upon their religious morals and values. If Cheryl Perich’s disability resulted in a lack of a good “Christ based education” then it’s the church’s choice to terminate her or not. The federal government cannot get involved in unethical religious based matters because the first amendment protects the church to freely express their religion.

 

A landmark decision in Snyder v. Phelps helps supports my claim that the government cannot interfere with church governance and inner church matters even though they may be deemed unethical. The Westborough Baptist church protested Michael Snyder’s funeral because he died in the protection of this country. The church believes that God hates America and our troops because we support homosexual orientation and our troops protect those values. Members of the Westborough Baptist Church stood 30 feet away from where the funeral took placed and screamed demeaning and even discriminating things to the mourning family. Al Snyder, Michael’s father, took the Westborough Baptist Church to the Supreme Court but the Justices ruled against him, favoring that the Westborough Baptist Church was not unconstitutional in their protesting tactics.

 

I am referring to this case because it shows that church is protected by the first amendment even though their values are obscene and unethical. The federal government cannot control how the church operates as long as it’s not disobeying the law. In deciding on whether or not the church should be sued for discriminatory actions towards individuals with disabilities, I would rule against Cheryl Perich. Cheryl Perich worked in an environment that all rules didn’t have to apply to government standards therefore her situation doesn’t have to either. This is a prime example of how the first amendment lawfully protects the church on church governance matters.

 

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

We as the Supreme Court of the United States are going to find the “blanket search” as constitutional. The main reason that we find this a constitutional is the factor of safety. Prison is a dangerous place with many dangers including weapons, diseases, and drugs. The best way to combat this is through a search when a prisoner first enters the jail. This is very similar to the process when someone enters the airport; they are search for dangerous items. This is just a case where safety must come before privacy. Though there is usually not probable cause like stated in the 4th amendment, this is covered by the prison’s blanket policy. This is also prevalent in the case of Bell v. Wolfish, where the Supreme Court decided that there didn’t need to be individual suspicion to search an inmate. This again will go with what we are saying, in that safety is what needs to come first. If a prison doesn’t search one inmate because there is not “probable cause”, that inmate could be just as likely to be holding a dangerous item, therefore compromising prison safety. In Brown v. Plata, we see again the Supreme Court ruled in favor of prison safety. After having over-crowded prisons, the decision was made to release prisoners to allow for a more safe prison environment. The most similar case to the one we have heard is Powell v. Barrett. In this case the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a blanket search is constitutional. This kind of search has been going to for years, and it is not anymore intrusive now than it was in earlier years. Therefore we have found that the “blanket search” is constitutional based on the fact of prison safety.

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The Cost of Safety

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I personally do not think that we should base the amount of security that we have on current events that have happened. There should always be a high level of security no matter when the last bad event occurred. If we do have a little bit of a relax in security, this is when people will take advantage and cause major harm. This was very prevalent in 9/11. We had a relaxed airport security and the terrorists took huge advantage of this, causing on of the most terrible events to ever occur on American soil. After 9/11, we have really ramped up our security efforts, and have kept up this high level of security. For example, we are still coming up with new ways of security, like the full body scanner machine. As of now these efforts have really worked. There have not been anymore terrorist attacks through airports. This is the same no matter where security is a big topic like in jail. No matter if the last incident was 5 days ago or 5 years ago, we cannot relax our security efforts because that is when sometime bad will occur.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

 

As an activist from a prison safety group, I would like to inform you about my view of the current case. I have spend many years myself in prison for various reasons, and I saw first-hand what an unsafe prison system is like. I have witnessed many beatings and even a killing with a homemade knife. These all would have been easily avoided with the use of prisoner searches. It really doesn’t matter if a prisoner thinks that these searches violate their privacy or not, they are to protect their own lives. If they do not want to be search, they should not do things to land them in jail. I know that strip searches are very intrusive and awkward, but they are for someone’s own good. These searches will also help prevent other items like drugs from entering a prison. Drugs are going to play a huge rule in the safety of the prison. If there are fewer drugs, there are less people trying to control the trading of these drugs, therefore less violence. No matter what different people have stated how this violates the 4th amendment or how wrong it is to do strip searches, I am telling you firsthand that they are needed in the prison system. The couple of minutes that take up the prisoner’s time during the search will help to ensure the safety of that prisoner and the others around them for their entire time that they spend in jail.

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Official Immunity and Section 1983

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I think that the Supreme Court allows immunity to certain government officials so that there are not a lot of cases brought by people that have been arrested trying to get back at the people that put them away. There are also people that are just trying to win a lawsuit case just to get money out of it, so the Supreme Court is protecting from those kinds of people also.  I agree that there needs to be some kind of immunity, but I feel as if sometimes this immunity is too strong. There are always going to be people that will take of advantage of the power that they have, and this might also include government officials. They might try to get away with and do things just to make themselves better at their job. So we need to find some sort of happy medium compared to where we are right now.

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Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-297

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Write the Opinion – Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC Badge

As the justices of the Supreme Court I would say Perich is innocent. Perich was a teacher that taught elementary school at Hosanna-Tabor that involves religious classes, .In 2004, Perich was diagnosed with narcolepsy.Her doctor recommended her that she would able to return to teaching after receiving proper treatment. Perich spook about her diagnose to the principal and the principal of the school assured her that she would still have her job. On the return of Perich, she resumes her teaching duties but was told that there was no longer a position for her at the school and Perich was officially terminated from her teaching position. At the district court, the court said the “ministerial exception” to the ADA does not accept religious leaders. The first Amendment said “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” This means every religious person in American should respect by the same law no matter what religion they are, plus when the court goes to the Court of Appeals. The Sixth Circuit reversed the previous decision that Perich was not covered by the ministerial exception, because her teaching was secular subjects. The ADA said “No employer shall discriminate against an individual on there disability in regard to job procedures.” When Perich speak to the principle of the school that she will be teacher when her disease in cured. There is no reason that the school should fire Perich because of disability. That is discrimination against an individual.

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My client Ms.Perich has been fired for no reasons. The principle of Hosanna-Tabor Church guaranteed my client when she is back from her disability she will still be teaching. From what the first Amendment that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Ms.Perich clearly did not involve with anything religious. She has been teaching secular subject. My client argues that the ministerial exception to the ADA does not apply to her, as she taught secular subjects and used non-religious teaching materials during her time at Hosanna-Tabor. Her teaching duties were primarily non-religious. This case is similar to the case Employment Division v. Smith. This case arose when several Native Americans were terminated from their jobs and refused unemployment benefits they smoked in religious ceremonies. Although this case failed the First Amendment, it does not allow a person to disobey the law simply because they have a religious objection. In this case, Ms.Perich is not religious but she was sick when she was diagnosed with narcolepsy. This does not meet the first Amendment and the Americans with Disability Act.

EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor’s Effect on Religious Schools

The school will have a small effect because firing a teacher that was sick is good for the children from not getting it. Students may think Ms.Perich is sick and won’t be back for a wail since their teacher is gone. But school is a environment that children gets a good education. The only change I only make is that all the subjects that has been taught need to be involving religious beliefs. For example, praying and study the Bible and if the Court finds that Perich cannot file suit because of the ministerial exception. The employees will definitely agree that this is the best choice for Ms.Perich. Since she had been out for two years plus still getting paid. Our school is still a save environment for the children and is still will be. With Ms. Perich out of the picture I think we all can say that is the best decision that will suit everyone even for Ms.Perich.

Predictions

My prediction for this case when is at the Supreme Court. Is that most of the strong Conservatives like John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy will support the Hosanna-Tabor church. A conservation is holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautions about change or innovation, typically in politics or religion. On the other hand, a liberal is open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional value. Peoples like Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg will support Ms.Perich. The anonymous can be people that shared both side of the scale that don’t have a opinion in this case. Finally, I think the conservatives will overpower the Liberals and the church will win this case.

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M.B.Z. v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-297

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th
M.B.Z. v. ClintonWrite the Opinion- M.B.Z.Badge

I believe that this case should delegate to the Executive branch. In Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America stated, “ The President shall receive ambassadors and other public minister”. This clause has been interpreted to mean the President has the exclusive power to recognize foreign government. For example, the Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino was about the Cuban corporation largely owned by U.S residents to buy Cuban sugar. Thereafter, subsequent to the U.S Government’s reduction of the Cuban sugar quota, the Cuban Government expropriated the corporation’s property and rights. The U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation was charged with violating an embargo on Bolivia by making illegal arms deliveries. The corporation challenged its charges by arguing that the President did not have the power to establish the embargo on Bolivia, but the Court found that the President did have the power to establish the embargo, even thought there is no explicit basis for that power found in Constitution. The case Medellin v. Texas is about the same topic how the President did not have the unilateral authority to enforce an international treaty as domestic law. The petitioner is arguing that the Court dies have the power to decide the issue at hand and that the political question doctrine does not apply. That law regarding Jerusalem was a constitutional use of Congress’s powers. But since the Constitution said that the Executive branch contra the foreign policy issues that this case should not be heard and should be go right to the President.

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If I were the Lawyer I would support Clinton side, because the Constitution said that only the Executive branch handles foreign policies it has nothing to do with the judicial branch. The Supreme Court should not hear this case since the Petitioner is not a U.S citizen and this case should hear by the President or the foreign ad missioner. The government argues that President Bush was justified in refusing to uphold the FRAA because it was unconstitutional. By forcing the State Department to essentially recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel. Congress was attempting to change the executive branch’s stance on Jerusalem. Because the Constitution gives the executive branch the sole power to determine foreign policy, the President correctly declared the Congress’s action was unconstitutional interference with his power and therefore invalid. Both side of the parties have good argument but this case doesn’t allow the Judicial branch see it, because under the constitution that the President can only deal with foreign policy issues.

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The way Framers of the Constitution structured our government is because of the check and balance of power. With the three branch of government there is a shared amount of power between each branch. Not that one branch control all the power or that will be overpowered our in another term dictatorship. America is a country that people can express their ideas. The freedom of U.S is what make us special and our government. Historically, the leaders of America experience the British Monarchy and they are sick of the British and start a revolution so that America is different. The first president of America experienced the British monarchy and see how horrible is to have a king and follows his order. America is a freedom country because of those lots of immigrates come to America. Finally, I think our government structure is perfectly in harmony and nothing needs to be changed.

Prediction
My Prediction is the case is not acceptable for the Judicial Branch because this case deal with foreign policy and the supreme court can’t deal with foreign policy that is the Presidents job. I think that this court will be reviewed by the president and he will make the decision to what happens next.

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Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-297

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th
Rehberg v. PaulkWrite the Opinion – Rehbreg v. Paulk Badge

Rehberg presents three arguments. First, Rehberg argues that Paulk is not entitled to absolute immunity from suit. The Court’s precedent and other state court opinions from the 1860s to 1870s demonstrate that a complaining witness, such as Paulk, is only entitled to qualified immunity. Second, Rehberg argues that a complaining witness performs a different function than a prosecutor or a trial witness and accordingly is only entitled to qualified immunity. Although prosecutors are generally entitled to absolute immunity, they are only entitled to qualified immunity when they act as a witness rather than a prosecutor. Finally, Rehberg argues that the question of whether a government officials is entitled to either absolute or qualified immunity should not rest on whether the official verbally testified before a grand jury or signed a written affidavit. Hodges and Paulk have no evident that Rehberg break into his house or harass him. In the court case Briscoe v. Lahue. Briscoe was convicted Briscoe believed that Lahue had lied at trial and sued LaHue. Also, I think that Hospital is lying that Rehberg send the fake fax about the hospital was financially dishonest. The Absolute Immunity said the general rule is that a prosecutor is absolutely immune from suit for improperly prosecuting some. Prosecutors have absolute immunity for any activities the prosecutor undertakes in his or her representation of the government and which are associated with the adversarial aspects of the criminal process From this I say that the Hospital lied about the fax about Rehberg and should be charged.

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Between the two parties I found that the respondent had no argument against the petitioner because the hospital said that Rehberg is lying that he did not fax the paper that discussed the topic on the hospital financial information. The respondent had no evident of anything that said Rehberg accused this. So, the respondent is blaming Rehberg and can’t support it. The Absolute Immunity said the general rule is that a prosecutor is absolutely immune from suit from improperly prosecuting some. Prosecutors have absolute immunity for any activities the prosecutor undertakes in his or her representation of the government and which are associated with the adversarial aspects of the criminal process. Also, Rehberg is personally blamed by the hospital for no reason so is a violation of the Fourth Amendment says the violation of personal rights. I think is no fair for Rehberg since he didn’t do anything rather then criticize the hospital. There is nothing Rehberg did wrong as from my prospective.

Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day In Court  - Justice Badge

If the Court entitles police witnesses to only qualified immunity and not absolute immunity, there will be a flood of lawsuits brought against police officers by angry criminal defendant. Qualified immunity is a lesser degree of immunity than absolute immunity. It shields government officials who perform discretionary government functions from civil liability so long as their conduct does not violate any clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have know. I think is ok to  denying a small number of people because the majority roles over small groups. The large number of people might have more opinion and ideas would overpower the small group. The government won’t support both group since the government can’t be support one side. On the other hand, I think is fair to wait while the courts sort through mounds of meritless lawsuit.  Because the court don’t have time for all the case that why courts have a waiting period to approve the case. From a legitimate claim is still fair for them to wait if there being in compliance with law.

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Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-297

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

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As the Justices of the Supreme Court I believe that the jail has the right to strip search. Florence failed to pay a routine fine and the officer arrested him and drove him to the local jail. In a jail a person have to do many things before they are lock up like mug shot, search and seizure. The fourth Amendment gives the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. Florence violated his right by not paying a routine fine. The blanket policy was the only way to ensure prison safety. Strip searches are an important way for prisons to fight many of the most serious problem facing correctional facilities. The country also emphasizes that the Supreme Court upheld a blanket strip search over thirty years ago in Bell and that the one is question here in nearly identical. Florence argues that the prison’s blanket strip search violates his Fourth Amendment right, but many people that are in the jail already did not complain about the blanket search. Florence personally feels violated by the research. There is a reason that Florence is in here and a good reason that why he is in. The price that Florence didn’t pay he has to get in back in some way. Also, Blanket search has been a policy for thirty years now. Although the fourth Amendment said that is a violation to the person’s rights. In this case, the jail has the supreme power. I think that the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County wins.

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In this case I support the Board of Freeholders party because Florence obeys his right and in order to punish him. He had to go to jail, the blanket policy said to search the person from top to bottom see if they Carrie dangerous weapons with them to cause serious impact on the other prisoners. Florence said that the Fourth Amendment protects an individuals right to be free from “unreasonable searches or seizures.” This is completing reasonable because Florence didn’t pay a routine fine so the police arrested him. Another point is why did Florence went to jail is teach him a lesson not to do it again. The policy is part of being in jail and does not relate to the unreasonable search and seizures. The Bell vs. Wolfish case is similar to this that Bell upheld a prison policy of strip-searching all inmates following supervised visits with guests from outside the prison. That is what prison is they have rules for people to follow and not upheld it.

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If Mr. Florence did pay the fine he is completely innocent. The reason that he is in prison is because of he didn’t pay the fine. Mr. Florence had no criminal background, and had not shown that he posed any threat or risk of violence to society. When I first read this case I thought that the blanket policy might be a little harsh to a guy that didn’t pay a small bill. But then I thought that if he gets away with it he might never pay it. I think a good punishment can be community service. Prisoners that have not shown that they can harm others should no treat with the same standard, because for different type of people we have different standards. Putting the no harm people in a better place could teach them not to do it again. When it comes to student with a criminal background they should treat with psychologically, because their minds are still young they don’t have the responsibility of an adult yet. But if they keep doing it over and over, action needs to apply.

Prediction for this case

I think for this certain case the Conservative will win because of the traditional rules that are set throughout 30 years. Florence wants to change the law in a prison by defending with the Fourth Amendment which was unreasonable search and seizures. Again Florence did do a small responsibility, if he actually pay the fine on time this whole case wouldn’t exist. But I think the conservative will win the vote by the traditional values and standards.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

As the Supreme Court, we will be reversing the decision on Hosanna- Tabor v. EECO, based on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA states that no employer shall discriminate on the basis of a disability, therefore the firing of Mrs. Perich would go against this act. Hosanna argued that this would not work based in the “ministerial exception”, under the 1st Amendment. We believe that this is not violated due to the fact that Perich mostly performed secular duties. The majority of Perich’s teachings dealt with non-religious topics. Many similar cases were agreed upon with the churches, but this decision will go with the EECO. For example, in Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Miliovjevich, on the fact the religious institutions had the athourity to regulate their bishops. In this case the bishop was determined to have canonical misconduct. There was not any violation of the ADA, which is present in the current case. Another case prevalent to Hosanna- Tabor v. EECO would be the case of Employment Division v Smith. In this case members of a religious organization were fired after smoking peyote. The Supreme Court decided that it didn’t violate the 1st amendment because you can’t disobey a law just for religious reasons. Christian Legal Society, Hastings Coll. of Law v. Martinez, is a case where the Supreme Court decided that allowing any student into a club didn’t violate the 1st Amendment because all students were allowed to join. So in Hosanna- Tabor v. EECO, we are reversing the decision that Hosanna- Tabor firing Mrs. Perich based on the fact that it violates the American with Disability Act and the 1st Amendment doesn’t cover the “ministerial exception”.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

 

I am the principal at Hosanna- Tabor Church. We as the church believe that you should not agree with the EECO. The main reason that we decided to allow Mrs. Perich to leave was because of her narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a very severe sleeping condition. After contacting of some doctors, we determined that we should release due to the condition. Narcolepsy prevents normal sleeping patterns, and can cause you to become very tired at inappropriate times, including at work. This is not just for the learning that would be diminished for the students, but also a less safe learning environment. Say we have an intruder in the school, if Perich is very tired and groggy, she would not be able to safely and quickly move the kids where they need to go. We also believe that it will effect the learning environment in which our students learn. As a private school, we take education very important. We believe that this condition that Perich has will effect her ability to teach. She will want to take breaks and only teach up to half of her ability. As you know when you are very tired, you can’t perform the task at hand to the best of your ability. This is exactly what might happen to Mrs. Perich. Now don’t get me wrong, we have appreciated her teaching for years, but we believe it is time for her to take a break. She needs this time to get better, and take time for her own. Thank you very much for your time, and we hope you take our concerns into consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Principal Smith

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Discrimination & Religious Employees

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I definitely could see churches having special powers a problem sometimes. There are always going to be people and organizations that will take advantage of powers that they have. So in certain cases this might also be prevalent in churches. I also think that it really shouldn’t matter whether or not Perich taught religion or not in her teachings. If she is able to teach her class, and have control of her class, then she should be able to keep teaching her class. This also goes for any other employer. I don’t think that they should be able to discriminate based on gender, religion, race, or disability; unless it has and effect on their ability to do their job. This also should not be any different for religious institutions or schools. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter who is doing it. I think that these kinds of places would be more likely to look over a disability anyway, than a public company.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

As the Supreme Court we are not going to be hearing this case that is presented before us. This is due to the fact that the current case is dealing with the executive branch of the government; and the powers that they have, and we are the judicial branch, we can not hear matters from the executive branch. This ruling is going along with Baker v. Carr, which states that powers given to a branch by the constitution will not be heard if the courts can not decide the case with traditional legal standards, then it will stand as a political question. The Constitution gives foreign policy making powers to the executive branch (Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino); therefore our ruling is that this case will stand as a political question.

 

This case also involves a second question on whether or not Congress intruded on the president’s ability to make foreign-policy. We believe that Congress did intrude on the president’s foreign policy making abilities. Again using the case of Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, this states that the president has exclusive powers in deciding foreign policy. The matter of whether Jerusalem shall be put on a birth certificate is directly a matter of foreign policy. When Congress passed the bill stating that Israel shall be on the birth place of someone is was born in Jerusalem; this intruded on the president’s ability on foreign policy. As in Carter, the Constitution said that both the president and congress must decide on foreign treaties, but was dismissed. So we are going to dismiss this case.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Dear Supreme Court,

 

I have worked with some of the last presidents that have been in office, and I would just like to express to you my concern that the president must be in charge of foreign policy making. First of all, that is the president’s job, not the job of congress. This is clearly stated in the constitution, so I am not really sure why congress is even making bills like the one just passed. Congress does not have all of the same abilities that the president has when coming up with foreign policy matters. The president has many more advisors and helpers when it comes to foreign policy. That is their job, and they are very good at it. For the most part, Congress needs to just concentrate on making bills that deal with matters inside of our country. As I stated earlier, I worked for a certain president, and saw the effects of what happens when others interfere with foreign policy. The fact is that the president has a lot more information about things going on outside the country than most realize, therefore he is in charge of foreign policy. I would hope you keep what the constitution states on foreign policy, because we know what is right for our country.

 

Sincerely,

 

A concerned citizen

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The President and National Security Decisions

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-303

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I think that the Patriot Act was a very necessary and very good thing for our country. 9/11 was one of the most horrific acts ever committed on US soil, but a lot has changed since then, and most of that being good chance. We have had many changes to security and homeland issues, and most of that change has come from the Patriot Act. I do not think that this act gives the executive branch too much power at all either. We have not had another attack on American soil since 9/11, so we are definitely doing some things right with this. If we didn’t give the executive branch the power that they now have, and there was another attack, the whole country would be up in arms. Some people are still complaining that it gives too much power, but I’m not really sure why they are complaining since they are and will stay safe.

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Conflict between the courts

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Conflict between the Courts:

When individuals talk about what the law says or what the law is, they are usually talk about the statutes of a law. Statutes, which are generated by the U.S. Congress and by state legislators, attempt to lay out the ground rules of the law. When disputes arise over the meaning of statutes, state and federal courts issue court opinions which construe the statutes more precisely. This is identified as case law.

 

I believe that federal laws should be more precise with their statuses so that different sectors of the federal courts can interpret the laws in the same manner. It is not fair to the individuals whose livelihood depends on the outcome of case. The appeals process is mentally and emotionally depriving to the individuals involve because different courts can interpret the statuses of each law differently. Perich v. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School is a perfect example on how different courts can interpret the law differently.

 

When the case made it to the district court, they dismissed the case because Perich’s claim deals with the ministerial exception. The ministerial exception means that federal discrimination laws do not apply to religious leaders because an employment discrimination lawsuit against a church would interfere with their first amendment right. Concluding that since Perich is a teacher at religious school she was the exception and could not file a suit.

 

Perich appealed the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sixth Circuit reversed the previous decision, stating that Perich was not classified under the ministerial exception, because she spent a majority of her time teaching a non-religious class. Judge Eric Clay recognized that some other circuit courts use different standards to determine who qualifies for the ministerial exception. Because the decision of one federal circuit does not agree with the others it causes a circuit split that can only be resolved by the Supreme Court.

 

When the Supreme Court is deciding the final verdict on this case they should not take into consideration prior rulings from the circuit courts. Instead the Justices should focus on the law itself and attempt to interpret the law in ways the framers intended it to mean. The justices should attempt to do more research under the ministerial exception and see if there is a clause. I also believe that geographical location and political values has a lot to deal with the interpretation of laws. The more conservative you are the more you tend to side with the church because conservatives hold religious values closer. The more liberal you are the more you are the more you tend to go against the church because liberals like more government control.

 

In conclusion the Supreme Court should not base their decision off of prior interpretations from the circuit court. The Justices should research the case themselves and form a verdict based on their own findings.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th
On March 3, 2005 Albert Florence was with his family driving through the area of Burlington County, New Jersey when he was pulled over by a state trooper. Mr. Florence was notified that he was being pulled over due to an outstanding warrant due to his failure to pay a routine fine. Mr. Florence presented the correct documents showing he had paid his fine; regardless he was taken into custody and transported to the local prison. Over the next several days Mr. Florence was subjected to several “blanket” strip and visual cavity searches. The following day, after being transported to another local correctional facility, he was released from custody and all charges against him were dropped.
Mr. Florence claims that throughout his encounters with the Burlington County prison system his fourth amendment right was violated; which is unreasonable search and seizure. In his argument Mr. Florence claims that while prisons should have leeway to infringe on rights, to a degree, it is still not able to be used as a shield from liability. Mr. Florence had at that point no past of violent or dangerous crimes, nor was he at any time not complying with officers and their direct orders. Mr. Florence was subjected to many of these different types of searches during his time in custody, despite the above circumstances of no violent past and present compliance. Mr. Florence feels that these blanket searches being carried out by the Burlington County prison system violate his fourth amendment; under the fact that there was no reason for the search of himself and others like him; meaning that without him giving the county prison a reason to suspect something of “foul play” there was no need to search him.
The respondent, Burlington County, New Jersey, argues the searches are necessary for security purposes. They also argue that individuals who cause problems are always unpredictable. Burlington County goes on to elaborate that there are many instances where passion over their crime can lead to a first offense of having something that can be considered dangerous on their frame; and can be used as such considering the possible state of mind of said individual.
As a justice of the supreme court there are many things I must consider when deciding where I will chose to stand with this case. The most important being what earlier case laws have set prior precedents for a case such as this.

The first case that comes to mind is Bell V. Wolfish (1979) where the courts had upheld a prison policy of strip searching inmates. While the court did create a complex balancing test but in the end concluded that the prison was not required to have or provide reasonable individual suspicion to make the strip policy constitutional. In a second instance when citing another case, Powell V. Barrett (2008), a 12 member en banc panel upheld that a policy almost exactly like the one in Mr. Florence’s case was upheld as being constitutional. The court in this case relied heavily on the decision in Bell V. Wolfish in order to say that the search in this case was no different in regards to the one previously held Constitutional. Also the court decision stated that blanket policies such as the strip and visual cavity search were allow-able if the prison could provide reasonable evidence for the policy itself. My last example would be the case law of Michigan v. Fisher, where the court held up the police rights to do what is proper and necessary outside the search and seizure law in obvious and proper cases for the good of the nation.

After analyzing the above case laws we next must look at the voting patterns of my other colleagues on the bench to predict how they will vote. This is important based off the fact that past voting patterns are in most cases upheld and carried on into future rulings. In most cases viewing several cases the supreme court has been split, fifty, fifty, ruling for and against prison rights. Most decisions being more recent (2000-2011) such in the cases of;  Safford v. Redding, where a thirteen year old girl was suspected of hiding prescription strength over the counter drugs, the methods of search and obtaining the information that lead to the search where declared unconstitutional. Vice Versa in another case when looking at Michigan v. Fisher, the courts upheld police rights and struck a blow against the rights the accused hold under the constitution. Because of this we move on to look at the justices viewpoints to get a better accurate idea of how the vote will go. Currently of the nine justices five are conservative and four are liberal. As you know conservatives are normally known for upholding the bill of rights word for word. So in this instance my prediction would be that the court will claim the searches to be constitutional since the majority of the bench is conservative.

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Opinion of the Courts

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey

 

Opinion of the courts:

Albert Florence was driving with his family through Burlington County, New Jersey when he was pulled over by a New Jersey State Trooper. The officer notified Mr. Florence that he was being stopped due to an outstanding fine that he failed to pay. Albert Florence showed the police officer documentation that he paid the fine, therefore his warrant was invalid, but the officer still proceeded to arrest him and take him to the county prison.  

 

When Florence arrived at the prison, he was subjected to a mandatory strip search. Preceding the strip search, he was asked to shower in front of an officer. Six days later, Florence was transported to a local correctional facility where he was subjected to another mandatory strip search. Florence shortly found out that the strip searches which he experienced was completely normal. The correctional facility where he received these searches had a policy stating that all incoming inmates were subjected to these searches. The next day, Florence was released and all prior charges against him were dropped.  

 

This case imposes a very important question regarding our fourth amendment right. Does the jail’s policy to strip search all inmates, even though they pose no threat to others, a violation to their fourth amendment right (free from unreasonable search and seizures)?

 

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez agreed with Albert Florence stating that the strip search of Florence violated the Constitution. However, officials representing Burlington Counties appealed the decision. In the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the districts court prior decisions, holding that it’s reasonable to search everyone being jailed, even without suspicion that a person may be concealing a weapon or drugs.

 

In deciding on how the Supreme Court will judge this case we have taken into consideration rulings of prior cases. In the prior Supreme Court case of California v. Greenwood, the police acting upon on a tip that Billy Greenwood was dealing in illegal narcotics, searched trash bags out on his curb. The officer found paraphernalia associated with illegal narcotics in the trash bags and based on the these findings the police officer applied for a search warrant; which included a description of what they found in the garbage. Based on the evidence found in the trash bag and the related search, Greenwood was convicted of drug-related charges. Greenwood appealed the case to the Supreme Court, claiming that the search of his trash was warrant less and therefore illegal. The Supreme Court favored the side of California in a 6-2 decision stating that trash bags left on the side of street was open to inspection by the general public. The garbage was ruled public domain and admissible, this is an indication that the Supreme Court may go against Albert Florence because they believe under certain circumstances warrant less searches may be constitutional.

 

In the Supreme Court case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding, the Supreme Court concluded that it was unconstitutional for school officials to strip search a student under suspicion of hiding prescription-strength ibuprofen. Even though student’s constitutional rights are stripped once they stepped through the school house gate the fourth amendment still can still lawfully protect students in a school house setting.

 

In the case of Michigan v. Fisher the Supreme Court decided that police officers do have probable cause to search a home after visually seeing evidence of illegal activities or foul play. For example the police can search a home after seeing blood on the hood of a car and newly broken window on the building. The court stated that although police cannot enter a home without a warrant they should not ignore the most obvious signs of violence.

 

The Supreme Court upheld a law that allows police officer to ask an individual to identify him or herself under suspicious circumstances. The individual is required to identify themselves. “Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Nevada states that although the police typically cannot question an individual arbitrarily, the presence of suspicious circumstances justified the minor intrusion.” (Cornell School of Law)  

 

Based on the prior decision making trends of the Supreme Court, I can confidently predict that Albert Florence will lose this case. The Supreme Court justices seems to support the police when comes to questionable search and seizure procedures. If I were to be a justice on the Supreme Court panel, I would vote against Albert Florence. Since Florence was in prison the officers had to assume that every inmate poses a threat, even though they do not specifically have a violent background. All statuses of the fourth amendment doesn’t apply to this case because the setting is in jail, where rights are limited.              
Work cited:

Cornell School of Law
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-5554.ZO.html

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

“ This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for

the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici  submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.”

Preliminary Statement: The legal counsel of the National Association of Police Organizations (“NAPO”) respectfully submits this brief as amicus curiae in order to urge the court to consider the impact of the case Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey.

As already stated the purpose of this brief is to bring the greater issue at hand to the courts attention, lest we witness a mistake of awesome proportions. The opinion and predictions of the court have already been reviewed by NAPO, and although the majority of the bench is conservative and are known for not watering down the bill of rights in most cases to make decisions; there is still room for concern for the vote to sway either way. In the following brief the reasoning will be laid out for why prison safety is necessary and what impact this case will have if it is not chosen correctly.
When viewing this case the question at hand is; at what line do we forfeit a prisoners “constitutional” rights in the name of safety? While yes, Mr. Florence does have a point; at what point do we protect ourselves over the accused and damn? Can we as a nation really cater to the needs of every accused person? All are very complex questions that must be considered and can not be afforded to be overlooked lightly.
Currently we live in a world that would be considered “high alert”. Meaning that it has become necessary to forfeit some of our privacy rights in the name of safety and protection. What is being referenced here is the Patriot Act; which allows the government to intrude into our private matter to catch “terrorists”. Now how can any level-headed, credible nation say one intrusion of safety is “okay” but another is not. Exactly you can’t just endorse one type of an issue and not the other without looking foolish.
In this case you have to consider the impact of what will happen if you rule in favor of Mr. Florence. If ruled in favor prisoners everywhere will be challenging their searches, because they feel violated for no reasons. Our country just like it can’t afford terrorism can not afford violent attacks in prisons. Blanket searches are the only way to assure the safety of everyone. Just because someone does not have a past in violence does not ensure that they won’t have a future of it.
In conclusion I have asked you to consider the impact and truth fullness of this ruling. If you rule in favor of Mr. Florence not only are you making your country a hypocrite, you are also ensuring that our system will become more violent and challenged than ever. In these unstable times we can not afford a set back; so with all respect consider the only decision you have and chose true.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief:
(Theoretical amicus brief)

 

“This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule 37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases or their counsel authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the preparation and submission of this brief.” (Wilson-Epes Standardized Format for Legal Briefs)

 

I am Nathaniel Miranda, a lawyer that represents the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) among with many other religious organizations. I am a graduate of Harvard school of Law and am currently practicing law in Boston, Massachusetts. I have participated in several controversial court cases which helped developed whether or not warrantless search and seizures are protected under the fourth amendment for certain circumstances. These Keystone court cases consist of California v. Greenwood and Michigan v. Fisher.

 

I have no financial interest in the Defendant in this case; nor do I have any financial interest in any other civil right organizations. The views expressed in this brief are my own. I have drawn upon the advice of a number of colleagues and friends in forming these views. These include Central York High School teacher Dayna Laur and fellow colleagues of Central York High School AP Government and Politics class.

 

Albert Florence was driving through Burlington County, New Jersey when he was pulled over by a New Jersey state trooper. The officer told Florence that he had a warrant for his arrest because he failed to pay prior fines. Albert Florence showed the police officer documentation that he paid the fine, therefore his warrant was invalid, but the officer still proceeded to arrest him and take him to the county prison. I consider this action unconstitutional because Florence had valid court documentation that he paid the fine. However, this case is not about the method of arrest but instead the method of search and seizure.

 

However Florence arrived at the prison, where he was subjected to a mandatory strip search. Following the search Florence was asked to take a shower in front of a correctional officer. Six days later, Florence was moved to a correctional facility where he was asked to perform in a mandatory search once again. Even though the amount of strip searches may have seemed extreme, it is necessary to make sure that the delinquents are not harm to themselves or others.

 

When an individual is arrested and in custody they do not technically have the same rights as an individual outside of prison. The jail should have the right to conduct suspicious strip searches on every inmate regardless of their crime. The environment of a jail is extremely strict and is under maximum security at all times. If an officer has suspicion that an inmate poses harm to themselves or others he should have the ability to conduct a search without a warrant. Also, the officer has reasonable doubt because he is dealing with an individual of bad intentions and crime.

 

The 2009 Supreme Court case of Michigan v. Fisher is a prime example of how police officers can perform search and seizure after seeing visual evidence of illegal activities. Under the ruling of the Supreme Court the police can search a home after seeing evidence of foul play for example blood on the hood of a car. The court stated that although police cannot enter a home without a warrant they should not ignore the most obvious signs of violence.

 

I am referring to this case because it shows that the Supreme Court tends to side with the law enforcement, as they should. As a lawyer in many important fourth amendment cases I have an expert opinion that inmates should not have the same rights as a free man. If you are in jail you are being punished for an unlawful act therefore some rights do not apply to you. Albert Florence was in a strict correctional facility where their main concern was to keep everyone safe, as a result everyone had to be strip search. This act by the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey was constitutional and therefore they should win this pending Supreme Court case.

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Administrative Concerns

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

At what point can a country through constitutionality out the window in the name of safety and security? This is a common question that has plagued our founding fathers and country itself since its birth. Currently we have witness a supreme court challenge over the fourth amendment right (search and seizure) in Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey. In this particular case Mr. Florence has claimed that his non-violent past, and complete compliance with the police force should allow him to be exempted from strip searches within a prison.
Prison officials, however, argue that the type of strip searches that would be less-intrusive and more sophisticated for people like Mr. Florence would in-fact cost too much in staff and training. Now our economy isn’t exactly in its best form but should the costs associated with better types of searching really matter in the name of upholding the freedoms under the constitution? Personally I feel that yes it does matter. The people being searched are there for one reason or another and hold limited rights because of what they did or are being accused of. Who is going to pay the costs of these accused? If they want to pay for the training then they may otherwise they have to accept perhaps it is proper and necessary. This is not to be confused with; well what if the person was innocent and being stripped searched? This is not a debate on whether they should be compensated. We all must sacrifice in order to have a more safe and ordered country and world.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

From the time frame of September 2003 to 2004, Petitioner Charles Rehberg sent unsigned faxes to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. In these faxes he accused the hospital of being financially dishonest; and overall criticized them for it. Respondent Ken Hodges, what was the DA of Dougherty County, Georgia, allegedly was politically tied to the management of the hospital and had agreed that as a favor he would investigate into the faxes as a favor. Ken Hodge and James Paulk, the DA’s Chief Investigator, believed Rehberg to be the source of the faxes, and from there the pair created several fake, with the official look of a normal subpoena, for Rehberg’s phone records and submitted them to his telephone companies. They used the same method to obtain electronic data from Rehberg’s email provider. The fake subpoenas claimed that a grand jury was assembled and requesting the use of the documents, although no such jury was existing at the time.
On December 14, 2005 the District Attorney was able to produce enough evidence for the grand jury to charge Rehberg with assault, burglary, and harassment. Following this Rehberg was arrested due to the charges. Respondent Paulk, the only witness to the grand jury, testified that Rehberg had broken into a doctor of the hospital’s house and had assaulted him; there was no evidence to support this claim. Paulk eventually admitted that he had lied and had never interviewed any witness or collected any evidence that Rehberg has committed the crimes. Rehberg later challenged the shaky evidence and the prosecutor dismissed the case.
Over the next year, Rehberg was indicted by a grand jury for the assault and harassment charges two more times. Both times using the false testimony of respondent Paulk. Both the indictments were dismissed due to the lack of evidence.
Rehberg later filed a lawsuit against the two respondents, Hodges and Paulk, for violating his constitutional right by making up subpoenas, lying the the grand jury, and trying to improperly prosecute him for a crime they knew they had no evidence to convict him of. Both Hodges and Paulk filed a motion for a dismissal on the basis that they were immune from Rehberg’s lawsuit, due to their status as government officials. They claimed they were not able to be sued for doing their duties. The courts found that because of Paulk acting as a witness complaining against Rehberg as a witness in a grand jury he was not immune from the suit. Paulk appealed this decision and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th circuit that found because Paulk was in fact a respondent of the government that neither him nor Hodges were able to be sued because of their actions as government officials.
Rehberg petitioned for a writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court. The main argument from Rehberg’s side is that the appellate courts were divided on the questions of whether government officials who provided false testimonies were really immune to civil lawsuits. Rehberg argues that some courts say complete immunity, while others say immunity to a lesser degree. Rehberg argues that the supreme court should hear the case to settle the dispute between the appellate courts.
Now that we have reviewed the complex background of this case; as a justice of the supreme court there are many things I must consider when deciding where I will chose to stand with this case. The most important being what earlier case laws have set prior precedents for a case such as this.
The first case I feel holds a standing in this current context is the case of Buckley v. Fitzsimmons(1993). In this instance prosecutors where trying to convict the defendant, Buckley, for rape and murder. Their main piece of evidence was a boot print on the scene which in three separate lab tests did not connect to Buckley. The prosecution eventually found an expert testimony, who linked the print to Buckley. The expert, however, had a reputation for lying in most cases for prosecutors. After a mistrial in the case, the expert died and the case was dropped without sufficient evidence. Buckley had spent three years in prison throughout the trial process. Buckley sued the prosecutors for their fabrication of the evidence; the supreme court held that the prosecutors were not immune to the charge brought to them. So in this case the precedent of lesser immunity was sent.

A second case I think that is important is Malley v Briggs (1986). In this case a state trooper submitted criminal complaints and other superfluous documents to a judge alleging Briggs possessed illegal marijuana. Briggs was arrested based on those submissions. However a grand jury did not indict Briggs on the charges, so the case was dropped in the end. Briggs sued Malley, in which the courts rejected Malley’s arguments of immunity, arguing that a complaining witness were not entitled to absolute immunity in 1871 (year congress passed the Civil Rights Act). The court held that officials who act as a complaining witness , and do not establish probable cause for their actions are only entitled to “qualified immunity” from the suit.

Lastly the last case law I would like to quickly mention is Telthorster v Tennell (2002). In this case Tennell argues that officers negligence in handling his gun during Tennell’s arrest lead to his back injuries which Telthorster should be responsible for. Officer Telthorster’s defense argued that the officer acted and complied with the article of “good faith” which would grant the officer complete immunity. The courts found the defense could not provide enough evidence to prove the officer had acted in good faith and was therefore not protected by full immunity. So in three separate cases we saw the availability of complete immunity denied by the courts.

Obviously case law has established in many cases that we looked at that officials were not given complete immunity due to their failure to provide good enough evidence of probable cause.

Next as a supreme court justice I will examine how my colleagues have ruled in previous cases heard before the supreme court. Overall after examining cases like Van de Kamp v. Goldstein (2009), and Kalina v. Fletcher (1997); the supreme court upholds that if you are a government official and act as a complaining witness; based off of false testimony, then you forfeit your right to be immune. So in this case I believe the court will rule in favor of suing Paulk, but not Hodges; for Paulk in this instance acted as a complaining witness under false testimony.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

“ This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for

the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici  submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.”

Preliminary Statement: The legal counsel of the National Organization for Victims Assistance (NOVA) respectfully submits this brief as amicus curiae in order to urge the court to consider the impact of the case Rehberg v Paulk.

The National Organization for Victims Assistance is an organization committed to protecting those from police and legal abuse through false evidence and threats of trials. The organization holds no ties or prior bias or affiliation to anything currently presented in this case. The main purpose of this brief is to urge the court to consider the impact of the case they are presently scheduled to hear.
The case itself is a question of; how much immunity and responsibility do government officials hold in civil lawsuits when doing their official duty? The courts have ruled that if a government official acts as a complaining witness of their own accord with false information than they forfeit this right. While NOVA feels the supreme court will realize this precedent; they still would like to clarify the imminent impact if the supreme court would retract prior decisions.
The clear impact right away if decisions were reversed is government accountability would drop dramatically. For anyone would do what they needed in order to get their job done; whether it was right or not. We can not live in a system were someones word means nothing for they don’t have to back it up; this essentially is a structure for sheer anarchy.
Not only would accountability be extremely low for their is no consequence for lying or being wrong; more abuse amongst the system would be rampant. Victims everywhere would be accused under false testimony and unable to be compensated for their losses as government officials made cases personal in order to get an out come in favor of their side. It’s simply unfavorable to reverse prior decisions for it will crumble the system as we know it.
So in conclusion I urge the Supreme Court to consider the obvious impact I have over viewed in the above brief. It would simply be irresponsible of the court to decide against official accountability. So once again I urge you to consider the impact NOVA wishes to be known and make the only real decision you have.

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Official Immunity and Section 1983

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The supreme court allows exceptions for government officials “under the color of the law” depriving people of rights because of certain exceptions. There are viable cases where in the name of terrorism or other variables that action must be taken to protect the innocent. Although I can honestly see this as being an out-dated claim. Everyone should be held accountable for their actions; for if they are truly doing their job then they have nothing to fear, correct?
It is obvious that this was an easy remedy to take care of plaguing problems such as the KKK but not in its current context is used to allow our officials to act carelessly. While in most cases it seemed the court was responsible in deciding who was really immune; overall the law is in unorthodox in allowing some to “loophole” the system. It will be interesting to see how long we allow an out-dated law to be abused by the system.

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Social Cost

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Social Cost:

It turned out that Mr. Florence paid the fine; in fact he had no criminal background. He was anything but a dangerous criminal and he posed no threat to society. Even though Mr. Florence was not consider a dangerous man he was still consider a criminal during his short stay at the county prison. As a police officer and working official in the prison you have treat every inmate as if they are dangerous. Any individual has the potential to be dangerous if they are put out of their element, therefore it would be irresponsible to treat each inmate on different standards.

 

Here is a real life comparison that will help you visually understand my viewpoint. You are in an airport getting ready to board a flight to Los Angeles but the scanners all the sudden broke. Instead of waiting for the scanners to be fixed, the airport security allowed everyone who did not commit a felony to board their plane without searching though their luggage. As a passenger on the plane you would feel insecure because even though they are not labeled as “dangerous” they still have the potential to cause harm. Even though some inmates do not pose the same threat as others it is still a smart decision to hold every inmate at the same standard.

 

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Opinion of Courts

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Rehberg v. Paulk

Opinion of Courts:

 

Charles Rehberg conducted anonymous faxes to the administration of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia which criticized the way the hospital was conducting its business. Rehberg claimed that the hospital was being finically dishonest. The Hospital management had political ties with District Attorney Ken Hodges and as a political favor he decided to investigate the anonymous faxes. Hodges and James Paulk, (the District Attorneys Chief Investigator) had suspicion that Rehberg was sending these anonymous faxes. Hodges and Paulk created fake but official looking subpoenas which they then used to receive Rehberg’s phone records. Along with obtaining phone records they also used fake subpoenas to receive electronic information from Rehberg’s email provider. The subpoenas claimed that a grand jury had been assembled and is waiting upon those important documents, even though no grand jury existed.

 

Ken Hodges was able to compile enough evidence for the grand jury to charge Rehberg with assault, burglary, and harassment. Rehberg was arrested as a result to these allegations. James Pulk, the only witness in this case, testified that Rehber broke into Dr. Hotz’s house and assaulted him, although there was no evidence to support the legitimacy of this claim. It turned out that Paulk lied, he admitted that he never interviewed any witnesses or collected evidence that Rehberg has committed the crimes, and that his testimony was false. After Rehberg challenges the evidence supporting his charges, the prosecutors dismissed the case.

 

Over the next year, Rehberg was indicted by a grand jury for assault and harassment on two more occasions. Each of these indictments used the false testimony of James Paulk. These exceeding allegations were dismissed by the state trial court due to the lack of evidence.

 

This case also helps answer an underlying question about immunity to government officials. The question imposed by Rehberg and his attorneys is that, a government official knowingly provides false testimony to a grand jury, which results in the arrest of an innocent citizen. Is that government official entitled to absolute immunity from a civil lawsuit?

 

The district court agreed with Rehberg because Paulk had been acting like a complaining witness rather than a government official, therefore he was not immune from the case. In addition to the false testimony, Hodges and Paulk violated Charles Rehberg constitutional rights by making up subpoenas and trying to improperly prosecute him.

 

Paulk appealed the ruling to the United States Courts of Appeals for the 11th circuit. The appeals court viewed this case differently from the trial court and ruled that James Paulk could not be sued for his actions because he was acting as a government official, and therefore government officials have immunity.

 

Rehberg filed a writ of certiorari to appeal the prior decision of the appeals court. The petition argued that different appellate courts were divided under the question of whether or not the government official who provided false testimony should still fall under immunity. On March 21, 2011 the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. The oral arguments for this case will start on November 1, 2011.

 

On deciding whether or not the Supreme Court will agree with the appeal of Charles Rehberg, we have to take into consideration their prior rulings related to the same matter. In the Supreme Court case of Briscoe v. LaHue, the justices answered the question of whether defendants may sue a police officer who provides false testimony during a criminal trial. Briscoe was convicted of burglary and LaHue, an Indiana police officer testified against him. However, Briscoe believed that LaHue had lied during his testimony and sued him. LaHue claimed that, as a witness testifying at trial, he was immune from the suit. The Supreme Court agreed with LaHue claim, holding that, as a trial witness, LaHue was entitled to immunity regardless of his status as a police officer. In addition the Supreme Court expressed concern that allowing criminal defendants to sue police officers who testified at trial could open the door to a flood of lawsuits by defendants who had lost their case.

 

The Supreme Court case of Malley v. Briggs imposed some very important questions on the topic of immunity to a government official acting as a complaining witness. Briggs accused Malley of reporting false information and therefore Briggs sued Malley under section 1983. Malley argued that, as a complaining witness, he should be absolutely immune from suit. The Court came to a conclusion that government officials who act as complaining witnesses and whose arrest warrants do not establish probable cause for arrest, are only entitled to qualified immunity from suit.

 

In the Supreme Court case of Powell v. McCormack answered the question on whether congress has the power to reject being sworn in. Adam Powell was surrounded by a scandal and the allegations consisted of failure to pay a judgment order by a New York court, embezzled congressional travel funds, and illegally paid his wife a congressional salary. Because of this ongoing allegation speaker of house, John McCormack, asked Powell to withhold from taking oath to office in fact he declared his seat vacant. Powell decided to sue McCormick for withholding his elected seat. The Supreme Court decided that congress may not in any way alter the qualifications of its members from the exclusive list given in the constitution.

 

In the case of Kalina v. Fletcher the question of whether immunity should be applied was brought up again. A prosecutor was trying to get a warrant to arrest Fletcher for burglary. He submitted an affidavit in which he sworn to tell the truth, under the penalty of lying under oath. The judge granted the prosecutor a warrant and Fletcher was arrested. During the case the jury identified many inaccurate statements in the affidavit, therefore Fletcher was released. Fletcher then filed a lawsuit against the prosecutor for violating her constitutional right to be free of unreasonable arrest. The Supreme Court ruled that Kalina was not protected by absolute immunity because he made false statements in affidavit.

 

Based on the prior rulings of the Supreme Court I can confidently conclude and predict that the Justices will rule against James Paulk. James Paulk was a complaining witness therefore he was acting outside of his governmental obligations. Paulk did not have to participate in the case due to his governmental status but instead he did it on his own. Secondly, I believe if you lie under oath you should be prosecuted regardless of what your occupation is. Just because you’re a government official shouldn’t mean you have the right to falsely testified and get away with it.

 

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief:

(Theoretical amicus brief)

 

“This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule 37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases or their counsel authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the preparation and submission of this brief.” (Wilson-Epes Standardized Format for Legal Briefs)

 

I am Nathaniel Miranda, a lawyer that represents the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) among with many other organizations. I am a graduate of Harvard school of Law and am currently practicing law in Boston, Massachusetts. I have participated in several controversial court cases which helped developed whether or not government officials should have immunity when false testifying a criminal case. These Keystone court cases consist of Kalina v. Fletcher and Van de Kamp v. Goldstein

 

I have no financial interest in the Defendant in this case; nor do I have any financial interest in any other organization. The views expressed in this brief are my own. I have drawn upon the advice of a number of colleagues and friends in forming these views. These include Central York High School teacher Dayna Laur and fellow colleagues of Central York High School AP Government and Politics class.

 

The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia was receiving anonymous faxes from Charles Rehberg, which criticized how the hospital was conducting business. Hospital management told District Attorney Ken Hodges about the situation and he agreed to conduct a private investigation as a political favor. Hodges and James Paulk (District Attorney Chief Investigator) created a fake subpoena which they were able to contain Rehberg’s phone records and email information. Paulk testified falsely under oath in order to convict Rehberg of criminal charges.

 

In my professional opinion, the way that Hodges and Paulk went about conducting the investigation was unethical, unconstitutional and in my opinion illegal. Even though Hodges and Paulk are considered government officials they should not receive immunity from this specific situation. Paulk testified as a complaining witness therefore he is not protected by absolute immunity.

 

Referring to the similar case of Kalina v. Fletcher will give my claim legitimacy. The prosecutor untruthfully filled out documentations in order to get Fletcher arrested. In this case the Supreme Court ruled that absolute immunity cannot protect the prosecutor because he made false acquisitions. This ruling should apply against Paulk because he lied under oath in order to get Rehberg arrested.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day in Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day in Court

The Supreme Court case of Briscoe v. LaHue answered the question of whether criminal defendants may sue a police officer under Section 1983 when the officer lies under oath. Briscoe was charged with burglary but he stated that LaHue had lied in his testimony. LaHue claimed that, as a witness testifying at the trial he was absolutely immune from any lawsuit. The Supreme Court agreed stating that non-government witnesses are granted absolute immunity under Section 1983 and a government official is no different than a non-official when he testifies at a trial. Even though this case answered a critical question dealing with Section 1983, it also brought up some serious concerns.

 

The Supreme Court Justices expressed concern about allowing criminal defendants to sue the police officer who testified at a trial and how it could open the door to a flood of lawsuits by defendants who had lost their case. This brings up a series of serious question about our court system. Is it worth denying a small number of people their right to a fair trial because a large number of people might clog the court system? On the other hand, is it fair to those with legitimate appeals to have to wait while the courts sort through the non-valid cases?

 

I am a firm believer that everyone should have the right to a fair trial. Therefore I came up with an efficient method of sorting through the large numbers of appeals. The higher level courts should select a panel with the sole purpose of determining if the appeals are legitimate or not. This way everyone is having their case reviewed by elected government officials and the process of sorting through cases will run much more smoothly.

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Opinion of the Courts

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

M.B.Z. v. Clinton

Opinion of the Courts:

 

The House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Foreign Relations Act in 2002. Section 214(d) of the law states that when creating birth certificates of American born in Jerusalem, the State Department must list “Israel” as the place of birth under the request of the citizen. Since the battle of Jerusalem has been a major conflict in the Middle East the State Department had decided not to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

 

President Bush signed the bill into law later that year however he attached a signing statement declaring that section 214(d) of the bill was unconstitutional and would not be enforced. He stated that it was not in Congress’s power to change the United States stance on foreign policy and under the constitution that power was given to the executive branch.

 

When this case finally reached the district court in 2001, Judge Gladys Kessler dismissed the case. She stated that this case cannot be resolved because the constitution said that another branch of government should deal with the problem. However the District Court agreed with the government’s argument, claiming that the constitution specifically states that it’s the executive branches power to deal with foreign affairs, the judicial branch cannot intervene hear cases and challenge the president’s foreign policy decisions. Zivotofskys appealed the dismissal to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Court of Appeals agreed with the decision of the District Court and held that the case should be dismissed.

However Zivotofskys did not give up and appealed the case to the Supreme Court by petitioning for a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court decided to consider whether congress interfered with president foreign affairs policy powers by passing the FRAA. Oral arguments are schedule for November 7, 2011.

 

On deciding on how the Supreme Court will rule this case we have to take into consideration prior court cases. In the 1936 Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. questioned the president’s authority. Curtis Wright cooperation was charged with violating an embargo by making illegal arms and deliveries. The corporation challenged the charges stating that the president did not have the power to establish embargo on Bolivia therefore the embargo should be void. The Supreme Court decided that the president did not have the power to establish the embargo.

 

In Goldwater v. Carter the court was asked if the president had the constitutional power to end a treaty with Taiwan government without agreement of the congress. However the constitution clearly states that the President and Congress must participate in the creation of foreign affairs. Therefore the Supreme Court dismissed the case without hearing arguments.

Marbury v. Madison is arguably one of the most important cases in Supreme Court history. This was the first U.S. Supreme Court case to apply the principle of “judicial review.” — The power of federal courts to void acts of congress in conflict with the Constitution. The decision of this case played a key role in making the Supreme Court a separate branch of government that on par with congress and executive. In the final days of office John Adams appointed a lot of government officials, which was approved by congress before he left office. When Thomas Jefferson took office he appointed James Madison as his secretary of state and ordered him not to deliver the position of the individuals John Adams appointed. William Marbury, one of the appointees, then petitioned to take this case to the Supreme Court. Marbury lost the case because his act of congress was in conflict with the constitution.

 

Referring to the prior rulings of the Supreme Court I can confidently predict off of my opinion that the Supreme Court will rule on the side of President Bush because he has executive power over congress. The constitution specifically states that congress cannot interfere with foreign policies because it’s under executive jurisdiction. Therefore I can confidently state that the Zivotofskys will lose this case.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief:

(Theoretical Amicus Brief)

“This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule 37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases or their counsel authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the preparation and submission of this brief.” (Wilson-Epes Standardized Format for Legal Briefs)

I am Nathaniel Miranda, a lawyer that represents the United Nations among with many other political organizations. I am a graduate of Harvard school of Law and am currently practicing law in Boston, Massachusetts. I have participated in several controversial court cases which helped developed whether or not government officials should have immunity when false testifying a criminal case. These Keystone court cases consist of Goldwater v. Carter and Republic of Iraq v. Beaty.

 

I have no financial interest in the Defendant in this case; nor do I have any financial interest in any other organization. The views expressed in this brief are my own. I have drawn upon the advice of a number of colleagues and friends in forming these views. These include Central York High School teacher Dayna Laur and fellow colleagues of Central York High School AP Government and Politics class.

 

Congress committed an unconstitutional act and had infringed upon the president’s authority to deal with foreign policy issues. President Bush signed the Foreign Relations Act into law however he attached a signing statement declaring that section 214(d) of the bill was unconstitutional and would not be enforced. Section 214(d) of the law states that when creating birth certificates of Americans born in Jerusalem, the State Department must list “Israel” as the place of birth under the request of the citizen. Congress cannot intervene with laws like this because they do not have the authority too. Therefore under my professional opinion this section of the bill should be voided and Zivotofskys will lose the case.

 

Referring to the results of the Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. will help give my claim legitimacy since the Supreme Court supported what the constitution said. A branch of government cannot intervene with the specific duties of another branch therefore the result of this case will have the similar result as the U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp case. The Supreme Court will agree with the constitution and in fact void this specific section of the bill.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-181

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Historical Context

The main conflict in this case is based on a key component of the Constitution – that powers and responsibilities are carefully divided between three branches of government. Why do you think the Framers of the Constitution structured our government this way? What about their experience with the British monarchy may have caused them to make these decisions? Write a blog post of at least 150 words exploring this issue.

 

Separation of powers is a political doctrine which divides the power of the national government between legislature, executive, and judicial branches.  This form of separation of powers is associated with a system of checks and balances. This prevents one department from having all of the political power. If this political doctrine wasn’t created one group or individual would have all of the political influence in this country.

 

The Framers of the constitution main purpose was to create a government where anyone could participate in it. They did not want a specific family or individual to have complete control like the British monarchy. That’s why are government is divided into specific sectors which are devoted to different issues, so that no one can have absolute control. When different branches cross over into other governmental branches territory it creates an unconstitutional act and therefore any laws that are passed during that time should be voided.

 

In my opinion the Separation of Powers is the most important political doctrine in the constitution because it prevents dictatorship which ultimately protects our freedoms and basic liberties.

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Official Immunity: Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Section 1983 states that “every person” acting under the color of law who deprives a citizen of their rights shall be liable to that citizen.” However, the law must protect certain government officials, like police officers and prosecutors, from this liability of a lawsuit. If the Court rids these officials of absolute immunity, there will be a flood of lawsuits brought against them from both angry criminal defendants. As far as Section 183 originally being used to protect African Americans from members of the Ku Klux Klan, I find it almost incomparable to the use of this law today. The Ku Klux Klan was/is a hate crime organization that openly committed vicious acts towards the black community across America. One cannot even compare them to the government officials of today that sometimes cross certain lines to put criminals behind bars. Individuals, like the members of the Ku Klux Klan, are the ones that the America judicial system strives to protect citizens of the United States from; thus, they deserve the protection of absolute immunity in court.

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Opinion: MBZ v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Constitution itself, under Article II, Section 3, states that President has exclusive power over foreign policy. The only division of foreign policy in which any other branch of government has power in is peace treaties, which is between the executive and legislative branches. This particular piece of legislation determines the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Clinton and the State Department of the United States. The House of Representatives and the Senate’s passing of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FRAA) deliberately violates President George W. Bush’s stance Jerusalem’s disassociation with Israel because of its tremendous cause of controversy in the Middle East. President Bush’s accusation that Congress’s attempt to change his office stance was unlawful under Article II of the Constitution was therefore completely accurate. The President has exclusive power to make foreign policy decisions and that this authority should not be limited to powers specifically listed in the Constitution, has the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation. Even in Goldwater v. Carter, which challenged the President’s ability to end a peace treaty without Congress’s consent, was dismissed 8-1 by the Court on the basis of political question; once again proving that the President has the only say when it comes to developing and terminating foreign relationships. When Leonard Boudin and the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (NECLC) sought to derestrict President Regan’s instituted travel requirements to Cuba in Regan v. Wald, they faced a similar ruling: the President’s stance of foreign affairs Cuba was determined to be unquestionable to the Court (http://ccrjustice.org/ourcases/past-cases/reagan-v.-wald).

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Amicus Brief: MBZ v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Jerusalem has been the largest source of controversy in the Middle East for centuries. It’s the claimed origin of the three major religions of our world: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. To claim this provocative city to be the capital of any nation is political suicide for the American government, and could even provoke another Holy War. The United States is one of the main reasons the Palestinians lost their land to the Israelis; putting a huge target on our backs from the Islamic community. Muslim extremist doesn’t need any more incentive for a 9-11 repeat by America taking a stance on this holy city. President Bush’s stance to avoid this conflict was openly and deliberately challenged by the House of Representatives and the Senate passing the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FRAA), which states in section 214(d) that when making birth certificates for Americans born in Jerusalem, the State Department must list “Israel” as the place of birth at the citizen’s request. Not only does this piece of legislation favor the Jewish citizens of Israel, but it violates Article II of the Constitution that clearly says that the executive branch of government has complete control over foreign policy. This case undoubtedly involves political question and must be dismissed by the Supreme Court.

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EEOC v. Hosanna-Tabor’s Effect on Religious Schools – Education Badge

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

If a terminated employee sued the school that I direct, it could have potentially disastrous effects on the well being of the congregation, the students, and myself. Not only would our reputations and dignities be tarnished, but also crucial moneys could be taken away from us in an economy that is very cash-strapped. The quality of schooling could decrease due to the less funding that resulted from damages paid to the terminated employee. To prevent being sued, I would make it clear by personal meetings with new and current employees that having a job at my school means being under certain mandates and limits (i.e. not being able to sue me). Of course, effective but flexible contracts must be made, and those who don’t comply must look for work elsewhere. I would also be sure to distinguish the roles of staff to either religious or nonreligious to simplify qualification for the ministerial exception. My staff would be under contract, and Perich losing the right to sue means that those in my staff considered as “religious leaders” would definitely not be able to sue, too. The staff might be a bit perturbed, but they should know that they are under contract. Having the staff under contract makes it much easier for regulation and they will always have the option to resign if they are unsatisfied–I will even provide job-searching assistance for the employee’s transition into other jobs.

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Historical Content: MBZ v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3d3

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The British monarchial government held complete control over the citizens of Great Britain and every sector of its government. For this reason our founding fathers established the three branches of government still used today: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Each uses a system of checks and balances to keep the others in line and protect Americans from any particular branch gaining too much power. The Framers designed the branches in this manor to avoid the inevitable rise and domination of a single branch. The one division of government affairs that lacks this system of checks and balances, however, is the executive branches’ total control over foreign policy. This is clearly laid out in the Constitution, though I’m not entirely sure why. Unlike every other area of the government and the ways in which it functions, neither the legislative branch nor the judicial may interfere with the President’s decision to handle issues outside of the United States. This is surprising to many Americans because our founding fathers so evidently wanted to avoid a single branch gaining too much control, yet they left the decisions of foreign policy in the hands of only one division.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Write the Opinion

 

 

Cheryl Perich taught elementary school at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School. She was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 2004 and took a medical leave of absence. The doctors assured her that she would be able to return to work after receiving treatment, and the principal of Hosanna-Tabor told Perich she would still have a teaching position after her leave. However, the principal and school board members feared her disability would interfere with her ability to do her job, and offered her partial payment of her health care fees in exchange for her resignation. Perich rejected, stating her intentions of returning to work. When she returned, her position had been terminated. In response to this, Perich filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stating she had been unlawfully discriminated against and her rights had been violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Perich and the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Hosanna-Tabor for unlawful discrimination due to her disability.

We as the court rule in favor of Hosanna-Tabor. The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. This being said, we as the court cannot interfere with religious affairs, so cannot rule in favor of Perich. In Serbian East Orthodox Diocese v. Milijovevich, the court ruled that the religious body, not the court, should have the sole power to appoint and suspend bishops. Due to this precedent, the ruling of this case should be in favor of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, because it is a religious institution and should therefore be able to terminate Mrs. Perich. In Christian Legal Society, Hastings College of Law v. Martinez, the court ruled that the school’s policy did not violate the group right to exercise their religious beliefs because the policy was applied to all student groups. However, Justice Alito dissented, stating that the policy did single out religious organizations and therefore infringed on their First Amendment rights of expressive association. This dissent supports our decision in ruling in favor of Hosanna-Tabor. Finally Lee v. Weisman, the court ruled that ceremony, including clergy who offer prayers as part of an official public school graduation, is prohibited by the Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. This acts as a precedent for us to rule in favor of Hosanna Tabor Church because it is an establishment of religion. These examples show the necessity of ruling in favor of Hosanna Tabor Church because it is a religious institution and under the First Amendment, the court should not interfere with its affairs.

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Amicus brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th
This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties.  Counsel for
the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a).  Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.
Glorious Mary School respectfully submits this brief as amicus curiae to urge the Court to consider the facts presented and hold that the challenge submitted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was invalid. A decision favoring the Equal Employment Opportunity supporting has the potential to disrupt the threshold between church and state, two factors of our country that should remain separate. For example, the Supreme Court case Bishop v. Amos in 1987 supports the religious freedom granted by the First Amendment by ruling that by allows religious institutions to have total control of whom they employ. Thus, Perich’s lawsuit should be halted. The ministerial exception does apply to her and so the church should be able to handle her employment as it pleases. Perich was initially hired as a regular teacher under a contract, and she took religious classes to become a “called teacher.” Most reports indicate that Perich taught secular subjects, but she also taught religious classes four days a week and was capable of leading a chapel service. That high amount of religious contribution undeniably pins Perich as a religious leader. Perich would also have been dismissed sooner or later, regardless of the fact that she filed a lawsuit–her condition jeopardizes the safety of those around her. Religious schools require morally and physically capable teachers to educate its students.

The ministerial exception is a crucial aspect of the identity of major religious institutions in the United States. The religious institution should be the sole operator of its system; religious leaders are the ones that know what is best for their community. The defining nuances of religion would only be skewed with government regulations. In the oral argument, Mr. Laycock gave a great example of how effective religious institutions are when the federal government is not involved; a priest was fired after being accused of sexually abusing children and tried to sue to get his job back. Luckily, the church called upon the ministerial exception to prevent the potential damage that could be caused by the rampant and angry priest. If the ministerial exception hadn’t been there, the man could have gotten his job back and continued his wrongdoings. As can be seen, the religious community knows what is best for itself. Government interference only hinders the effectiveness of the community.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief

 

The ruling in Hosanna Tabor Church v. EEOC should be in favor of the church. I am a lawyer representing a religious institution similar to that of Hosanna Tabor Church. The court should consider the interests of my client, because they reflect the interests of many other religious institutions. The court should decide in favor of Hosanna Tabor Church because of the Establishment Clause, which states that, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. This being said, it would go against the First Amendment to make a decision against the church. It is important to rule in favor of the church, rather than rule in favor of the EEOC because it will set yet another precedent to cases involving religious institutions. An example of a previous court case that ruled in favor of a religious institution are Serbian East Orthodox Diocese v. Milijovevich, where the court ruled that the religious body, not the court, should have the sole power to appoint and suspend bishops. Another example would be Lee v. Weisman, where the court ruled that the Establishment Clause prohibits ceremony as part of an official public school graduation. If the court were to rule in favor of Perich, the First Amendment would be completely ignored and this decision could set a precedent of future cases ignoring the First Amendment when dealing with religious institutions.

 

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Cheryl Perich is trying to file a lawsuit against her employer, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, for unlawful discrimination of her disability. Perich was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 2004 and took a medical leave, having been told that her teaching position would still be there when she returned. The parents of students and members of the congregation became concerned that Perich’s narcolepsy would prevent her from providing a safe and effective teaching environment for her students so the congregation voted to offer Perich a peaceful release agreement that would also cover some payments of her medical bill. She refused this agreement and tried to return to work but found that her promised position was filled by someone else. Thus, Perich filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity commission against Hosanna-Tabor Church on grounds of unlawful discrimination of her disability and of the violation of rights given to her by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hosanna-Tabor officially terminated her employment upon finding out about her lawsuit (the church claimed her termination was on grounds of her breaking the rules by not settling the issue within the church and not as retaliation) and the two parties argued their case at the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The court agreed with the church’s argument that federal employment discrimination laws do not apply to Perich due to the “ministerial exception,” which implies that Perich’s lawsuit is in violation of the First Amendment because it gives religious institutions the right to choose its leaders. Thus, Perich was classified as a religious employee so the “exception” applied to her, and she could not file a lawsuit against Hosanna-Tabor. At her workplace, Perich mainly taught secular subjects such as science and math. However, since the school has a “Christ-centered” education, Perich also led students in a religious manner, such as leading prayer times.

Perich then appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, who decided the opposite was true—Perich performed mostly secular duties so the “ministerial exception” did not apply to her so she could continue with her lawsuit. Hossana-Tabor appealed again to the Supreme Court, citing that different circuit courts had different standards for determining whom the “ministerial exception” applies to and that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the “exception” wrong.

Thus, the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The First Amendment indeed says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” implying freedom of religion. Bishop v. Amos in 1987 further supports the First Amendment, ruling that by allowing religious to have total control of whom they employ, the state and the church are kept separate, which is the goal of the American government. However, ruling in favor of the EEOC will not cause too much interaction between the church and state. Agostini v. Felton of 1997 even ruled that unannounced monthly visits to religious schools was not excessive interaction.

Hossana-Tabor, the defendant in this lawsuit, provided very vague reasons and definitions of being a minister and how Perich, even though her role was mostly secular, was a minister. This loose interpretation indicates that it is advantageous for the Court to define what a minister is—religious institutions could take advantage of the ambiguity to consider most of their employees as “ministers” in order for protection against lawsuits from the ministerial exception. Bell v. Wolfish of 1979 supports constitutionality of a detailed test to define a problem, and the circuit split over the ministerial exception needs to be resolved. Defining the ministerial exception would be in the genuine interest of both parties since their arguments on it were flawed and imprecise. Justice Scalia and Kennedy presided over Employment Division v. Smith in 1990 and both agreed that the First Amendment does not allow the breaking of a law just for a religious reason. This can be applied to Hossana-Tabor’s alleged dismissal of Perich for “religious” reasons; apparently, it should be well known that the resolving of issues arising in the church should not be taken to the government’s courts. Finally, Christian Legal Society, Hastings Coll. of Law v. Martinez of 2010 ruled that a school’s policy that applied to all student groups did not exclusively discriminate against religious groups. This ruling can be applied to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hossana-Tabor’s claim that Perich is a religious leader is not sufficient enough to warrant a bypassing of the ADA. The ADA is not discriminating against the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School because it can be potentially applied to every American citizen.

Ruling in favor of the EEOC will, by some degree, impose government authority on the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, but religious freedom is not literally unlimited as some would like to believe. The application of the “ministerial exception” will be more refined and defined so that loose interpretations are effectively eliminated. Ruling in favor of Hossana-Tabor would allow the churches to continue leading themselves, which is not bad, but it could possibly also allow the continued abuse of the ministerial exception to avoid government laws that apply to everyone.

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The Free Exercise Clause

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Free Exercise Clause

 

I agree with the rationale that a court would be violating a religious institution’s First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion if the court interfered with the institution’s hiring and firing decisions. Making personnel decisions equates to the free exercise of religion because it affects the teaching of religion and the way it is taught if the government gets involved. To truly be able to practice religion freely, the government cannot be involved or affect the way religion is taught in a specific institution. Lawsuits from former employees could infringe on this right by involving the government in the employment and hiring and firing of religious officials. The ministerial exception does apply to the American with Disabilities Act and other employment laws because of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. To truly separate church and state, the court should not be able to make any decisions that affect religious institutions.

 

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Write the Opinion

 

Albert Florence and his family were driving through Burlington County, New Jersey when he was pulled over by a state trooper. The state trooper told Mr. Florence that he was being stopped due to a warrant for his arrest that had been issued because he had failed to pay a fine. Florence produced paper work that proved he had paid the fine, however, the trooper arrested him and drove him to the local jail. Upon his arrival to the jail, he was subject to a routine strip search and visual body cavity search that are conducted on all inmates in the jail. He also had to shower in front of a correctional officer. Six days later he went through yet another strip search and visual body cavity search with four other inmates. Florence later learned that the correctional facility had a blanket policy of subjecting all incoming male inmates to these strip searches. He was released the next day and all charges were dropped. Florence filed a lawsuit against the jail, saying the strip searches violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment.

We the court rule in favor of Albert Florence. The Fourth Amendment protects the right of the people to be protected against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Florence’s Fourth Amendment right has been violated by this blanket policy of strip searching inmates because the strip search was completely unreasonable, since he had paperwork proving his innocence. In the case, Safford Unified School District v. Redding, the court ruled that the strip search performed at the school was unconstitutional. This is an important precedent because it shows that an unnecessary strip search is unconstitutional because it is not warranted. In Mapp v. Ohio, Dolly Mapp’s house was searched for a suspect of a recent bombing and found obscene materials in her home. Dolly Mapp was initially convicted of the possession of obscene materials. The court overturned its initial decision, saying the search of Dolly Mapp’s house was illegal. This precedent shows the importance of protecting an individual’s rights under the Fourth Amendment against unnecessary search and seizure. Finally, Katz v. United States is an important precedent for ruling in favor of Mr. Florence. In Katz v. United States, Katz was arrested for illegal gambling after using a public phone to relay gambling information. The FBI had attached a device to the public phone Katz used stating their actions were constitutional because they never actually entered the phone booth. The court ruled in favor of Katz because the Fourth Amendment protects a person from illegal searches. Through these examples, it is apparent that the court’s ruling in favor of Albert Florence is valid.

 

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Amicus brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties.  Counsel for
the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a).  Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.

CLAIM, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers, respectfully submits this brief as amicus curiae to urge the Court to consider the facts presented and hold that the challenge submitted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Burlington County was invalid.

The blanket policy in question in Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey is extremely unconstitutional. As a group that is fighting for the rights of women and mothers in jail, we view the blanket strip-search policy as an abominable treatment of humans. The fact that it is applied to every inmate, regardless of the severity of their crime or their gender is very insensitive and intrusive towards inmates, especially the women. To expose a women’s body so objectively is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment and the protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” that it provides. To strip search a woman without a strong reason—like how Florence’s humiliation was carried out—is an even more atrocious act. This logic is supported by Safford Unified School District v. Redding. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to strip-search a 13-year-old girl under suspicion that she was, at worst, carrying prescription strength-ibuprofin. A weak reason such as this did not substantiate the very intrusive nature of the teenager’s strip-search. Nonetheless, we understand that strip-searches, when justified by probable cause, are perfectly acceptable and are for the safety of everyone.

Thus, we urge the Supreme Court to consider the potential effects of this case. Ruling in favor of the Board would allow the degrading and ineffective blanket policy for strip-searching to continue. Often times, strip-searches are performed on inmates with very insignificant crimes and subjects them to an unnecessary humiliation, which violates the Fourth Amendment. On the other hand, ruling in favor of Florence would be a step towards eliminating the faulty blanket policy that oppresses the rights of American citizens.

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Medical Professionals

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Medical Professionals

 

It should not matter whether a medical professional or a prison guard performs a strip search on an inmate. The point of a strip search is to quickly and efficiently check an inmate for weapons or illegal substances of any kind. To require a medical professional to perform such searches would be a waste of money when prison guards can easily be trained to do the same job. I do not think there should be any other restrictions on the type of person who can administer the searches. A strip search does not need to be complicated; it should be a simple procedure that can be performed properly by a prison guard. To have a set of restrictions placed on the people who perform the strip searches, or on the process itself would only make things more difficult for both the guard and the inmate. For these reasons, I do not think it should matter who performs the strip searches and I do not think restrictions should be put into place.

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Medical Professionals – Patient Car Badge

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Though a doctor is much more qualified to examine the new detainees for diseases, illness, and the like, it would be impractical and difficult to implement this amount of high quality into prison systems. First, doctors are limited already, so few would be available to help. Although they are trained medically, whether or not they would be able to handle a violent confrontation with a prisoner is up for debate. Nonetheless, I think that medical training should be a qualification necessary to administer searches. Nurses would therefore be ideal for the job (with security very nearby, of course). “Medical training” could even be reduced to completing a course for identifying common symptoms of disease and illness so that prison guards could continue with being the ones to administer the searches. The proper method of “extracting internal objects” would easily be taught with a training session as well. I believe it would not be too costly to fund some training courses for the prison guards so that their job duties could be expanded to include properly searching the prisoners.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Write the Opinion

 

In 2002, Congress passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. Section 214d of the law stated that when making birth certificates for Americans born in Jerusalem, the State Department must list Israel as the place of birth at the citizen’s request. President Bush declared Section 214d of the law unconstitutional because the Constitution states that the executive branch has the sole power to determine foreign policy. Ari Zivotofsky sued the government, stating that the court does have the power to decide the issue at hand and that the political question doctrine does not apply. Zivotofsky also argued that it was not Congress who violated the Constitution by legislating about Jerusalem, but the President who acted unconstitutionally by issuing a signing statement. Hillary Clinton, who is representing the government, argues that this case involves foreign policy matters that have been delegated to the executive branch, therefore the judicial branch cannot hear it. Clinton also states that President Bush was justified in refusing to uphold Section 214d of the FRAA since it was unconstitutional.

We as the court rule in favor of Hillary Clinton and the United States government. By passing the FRAA, Congress interfered with the President’s foreign affairs powers. This case involves a political question and therefore should be dismissed. There have been previous cases that act as precedents for this specific case. An example would be Goldwater v. Carter, where the court was asked to decide whether or not the President had the Constitutional authority to end a treaty with Taiwan without the consent of Congress. The court dismissed the case without hearing an argument because it involved a political question and the President’s actions could not be challenged by judicial review. Another case that acts as a precedent for M.B.Z. v. Clinton is the viewpoint of the three dissenting justices in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. This suit was filed by a detainee of Guantanamo Bay against the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, questioning whether or not the President had constitutional authority to create war crimes tribunals for dealing with detainees. The majority ruled that these tribunals did violate military justice law as well as the standards set by the Geneva Convention. However, the three dissenting justices stated that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case because Hamdan was an enemy combatant and the law stated that detainees at Guantanamo Bay could not have their cases reviewed in a United States court. The viewpoints of the dissenting justices in this case reflect the reasoning in the decision of M.B.Z. v. Clinton. Finally, in Vieth v. Jubelirer, several members of the Democratic Party sued because the Pennsylvania state legislature passed a redistricting plan that clearly benefitted Republican candidates. The court decided not to intervene because no appropriate judicial solution could be found and it was declared non-justiciable, meaning the court could not hear the case. It is through these examples that we can see the importance of ruling in favor of Clinton and the United States government. When a case involves the decision making of another branch of government or the President, the judiciary should not hear the case.

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Administrative Concerns: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I do believe that strip searches should be allowed simply because other searches are too difficult or too costly. Many prisons cannot afford to purchase more sophisticated screening methods or more personnel, so in order for them to maintain the highest level of safety and security within the prison, the next best option is a strip search. There should never be a cut back on prison safety just because the prison cannot afford the most up-to date technology. If the prison has the money or personnel available to perform less-intrusive, but just as thorough, searches than they should take advantage of the most up-to-date methods or technology. Unfortunately, in many cases, in today’s recession this cannot be taken advantage of and, in my opinion, in these specific instances, a strip search should be perfectly constitutional because it is protecting the safety of Americans. Sometimes in our society, in order to work towards the greater good (in this case greater public safety), we need to give up some of our liberties.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief

 

The court should rule in favor of Clinton and the United States government because the case should not be heard because it involves foreign policy matters delegated to the executive branch. I am a lawyer representing a group supporting the President’s strong executive foreign power. The court should consider the interests of my client because they reflect the viewpoint of Clinton and the United States government in the case M.B.Z. v. Clinton. There are many cases that act as precedents to my client’s point of view. One of these cases is Vieth v. Jubelirer, in which the court decided to drop the case because it was declared non-justiciable. Another example is Goldwater v. Clinton, in which the court dismissed the case because the President’s actions could not be challenged by judicial review. When there is a political question rather than a legal question at hand, the court cannot hear the case. In M.B.Z. v. Clinton, the question at hand is political, not legal, which is why the court should not hear it. Clinton should win because it is not in the jurisdiction of the judiciary to decide a case regarding foreign policy and the decisions of the President of the United States. It is imperative to decide in favor of Clinton as a way of setting another precedent that relates to cases involving political questions.

 

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Opinion of the Court: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey is between Albert Florence and Burlington County. Albert Florence was driving through Burlington County, NJ when he was stopped by an officer because a warrant for his arrest had been issued due to an overdue fine. Mr. Florence presented documents that proved he had paid the fine but the officer still took him to the station in the police car where he was strip searched and body-cavity searched. He was then searched again six days later when he was transported to a correctional facility. The next day all of the charges were dropped and he was released. Mr. Florence then sued the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County (the prison) for violating his fourth amendment right by subjecting him to unreasonable search and seizure.

After balancing the difficulties of prison life with the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, we the court rule in favor of the prison in this case. The fourth amendment states that, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Unfortunately probable cause cannot be used in this prison though because it could lead to individualized discrimination and suspicion which can be just as unwanted as a strip search. Because of this, a blanket policy is the best way to prevent unwanted weapons and disease from entering the prison, and is therefore constitutional and supersedes Mr. Florence’s fourth amendment right.

This precedent was established in Bell v. Wolfish when the Supreme Court upheld that a prison strip search policy is constitutional and “reasonable individualized suspicion” was not necessary. They decided that preventing dangerous weapons and diseases from entering the prison was more important than an individual’s right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. This is extremely similar to the case of Albert Florence which means that in order for the Court to rule in favor of Mr. Florence, they would have to directly overturn this established precedent. Twenty-nine years later in the case of Powell v. Barrett the court upheld the decision made in Bell v. Wolfish when they again ruled that the strip search was not unconstitutional. They didn’t believe that the search presented then was any worse than the search that had been conducted in Bell v. Wolfish. The concept that strip searches are justified was again proven in the D.C. Circuit court in the case of Bame v. Dillard. In this case, a group of males were forced to strip and have a cavity search performed on them by a police officer. After finding nothing, the issue was taken to the court where the D.C. Circuit court found that it was Constitutional for the search to have been performed without, “reasonable, individualized suspicion.” The Supreme Court has ruled against strip search policy though. In the case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding, a 13-year old girl was strip searched after being suspected of having prescription-strength ibuprofen. The court ruled that in this instance, the school had no right to conduct a strip search. This is different from the case of Albert Florence though, as there was no blanket policy in effect at the school and the girl did not have the potential to harm other students with the prescription strength ibuprofen she was suspected of having. Because of the many precedents that were extremely similar to that presented in the case of Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ, the court rules in favor of the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Historical Context

 

I think the Framers of the Constitution structured our government into three branches as a way of dividing the power so no specific group would hold all the power. By separating the powers between the branches of government, no individual could hold all of the power and it would ensure that the government was democratic. One of the reasons the colonists left Britain was because of the oppression felt due to the monarchial government. They wanted to escape this type of government and create a government in which the people had a voice. For this reason, the Framers of the Constitution ensured that the government of the United States was divided equally and that there were political checks on each branch so the power could remain divided. By creating a democratic government, the Framers knew the people would be given more rights and that the power would not lie solely on any individual. For these reasons, the Framers of the Constitution divided the power of the government into three separate branches.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Write the Opinion

 

In 2003 and 2004, Charles Rehberg sent anonymous faxes to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia, criticizing the way the hospital was conducting its business. He claimed the hospital was being financially dishonest. Ken Hodges and James Paulk investigated these faxes and believed Rehberg was responsible. They used fake subpoenas for Rehberg’s phone records and to obtain electronic data from Rehberg’s email provider. The subpoenas falsely claimed that a grand jury had been assembled and was requesting the documents. By December of 2005, there was enough evidence for the grand jury to charge Rehberg with assault, burglary, and harassment; all of which he was arrested for. Paulk acted as a witness and gave a false testimony against Rehberg. Rehberg filed a lawsuit against Paulk and Hodges for a violation of his rights under Section 1983 by making up subpoenas, trying to improperly prosecute him, and lying to the grand jury. Paulk and Hodges claimed they were immune from the suit since they were performing their governmental duties. The court ruled in favor of Rehberg and Paulk appealed the denial of absolute immunity. The appeals court reversed the decision. Rehberg appealed to the Supreme Court, requesting a writ of certiorari.

We as the court rule in favor of Paulk. Paulk is protected by absolute immunity because prosecutors cannot be sued for things they say or do in front of a grand jury or judge when they are fulfilling their duties as the government’s representative. In Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, Goldstein sued various officials involved with his prosecution and arrest after it was found that his conviction was mostly based on false testimony. The Supreme Court ruled that the government officials had absolute immunity from the case. This supports the ruling in favor of Paulk because as a government official fulfilling his duties, he should be protected by absolute immunity. In Briscoe v. LaHue, Briscoe, who was convicted of burglary, sued the police officer that testified at his trial, LaHue, under Section 1983, stating that he had lied at trial. LaHue stated that as a witness at a trial, he had absolute immunity. The Supreme Court ruled that LaHue was entitled to absolute immunity. This also supports the ruling in favor of Paulk because a witness testifying at a trial has absolute immunity and therefore, Paulk should not be convicted. Finally, in Imbler v. Pachtman, Imbler, a convicted felon, sued Pachtman for knowingly using false testimony and suppressing material evidence at his trial. The Supreme Court ruled that a state prosecuting attorney, who acted within the scope of his duties, has absolute immunity. This case supports the ruling in favor of Paulk by giving a prosecutor absolute immunity for performing his duties as a representative of the government. These examples verify the court’s decision in the case Rehberg v. Paulk through use of absolute immunity.

 

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief

 

The court should rule in favor of Paulk in the case Rehberg v. Paulk because as a prosecutor acting as a representative of the government, he has absolute immunity. As a lawyer representing police officers, I think the ruling in favor of Paulk is imperative for government officials. The case Briscoe v. LaHue, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the police officer, LaHue, stating that he had absolute immunity as a witness testifying at a trial. This ruling supports my client’s interests because my client believes that police officers and other government officials should be granted absolute immunity when performing their duties. These interests support Paulk because he is a government official being sued for performing his duties, and should be protected by absolute immunity. It is important for government officials to have absolute immunity so they are protected from lawsuits filed against them by individuals such as convicted felons and can perform their duties without harassment. If absolute immunity was not effective, the number of government officials who agreed to testify at a trial would decrease dramatically and the entire court system would be affected negatively. For these reasons, it is important that the court rules in favor of Paulk and solidifies the existence of absolute immunity.

 

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Amicus Brief: Hosanna-Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court should rule in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in this case. I am a lawyer representing an atheist group and I think that the court should represent the interests of my client because they reflect the interests of atheist groups all over the country. I think that the court should rule in favor of the EEOC because if not, it is directly sending a message to all religious establishments that they are above the law and are free to do whatever they please. The law should affect all people and there should be no areas that are hands-off. As long as the government does not try to make a law regarding the religious establishment and does not interfere with the free practice of it, the establishment should have to abide by the laws of the country they are residing in. If the court were to decide in favor of Hosanna-Tabor, it would send a message to churches around the country that the government can’t touch them and it would be a precedent to future similar cases. Hosanna-Tabor should not be allowed to be above the law and, in this case, fire employees due to their disability, which is why the court should rule in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Opinion of the Court: Hosanna Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The case of Hosanna-Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is between a school teacher, Cheryl Perich, and the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School. Cheryl Perich took a leave of absence and was diagnosed with narcolepsy. She was assured by the doctors that she would return to work, and then by the school that she would have a job when she returned. But towards the end of her leave the board and congregation were worried that her disability would affect her ability to complete her job and decided to offer her a peaceful release agreement. Cheryl Perich decided to reject this offer and take the church to court alleging that it was a violation of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We the court rule in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. We rule in favor of the EEOC in this case due to the recent decisions on similar court cases and what the law states about the issue. The first amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Because the firing of Cheryl Perich is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and a decision in favor of Perich will not create a law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion, we have decided in favor of the Perich.

Although the court had a 7-2 decision that was for separation of church and state in Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, the case was decided in 1976, which was before the current justices were on the court. The previous decisions of the current court exerted more power of the government over these religious institutions, which is why we rule in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the decision of Hosanna-Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A few examples of cases where the court decided that the government could step in on religious institutions include Employment Division v. Smith, Locke v. Davey, and Christian Legal Society, Hastings Coll. of Law v. Martinez. In the case of Employment Division v. Smith, the court decided that Federal Laws regarding outlawed drugs applies to everybody, even they were being used in certain religious ceremonies. The two current justices that voted on this case, Justice Scalia and Justice Kennedy, both deemed that the drug could not be used even if it was used during a religious ceremony, which exerted the government’s power over the religious establishment. In the case of Locke v. Davey, Joshua Davey received scholarship money with the condition that he could not study religion, when he did they took away the money and he claimed that this was wrong. The court voted 7-2 that the state could do this because they were funding only non-religious studies. Three of the five current members voted that this was constitutional which shows once again how the Court feels about the issue. In the case of Christian Legal Society, Hastings Coll. of Law v. Martinez, the Christian Legal Society claimed that a new school-wide non-discrimination policy violated their rights to freely exercise their faith. The court voted 5-4 that it was constitutional because it was applied to all students and did not therefore discriminate against religious groups. Although the current court has made many decisions against these religious organizations, there have also been a few cases where they have voted for them, for instance Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. When the school denied funding to a religious group that wanted to publish a Christian-oriented magazine, the organization took them to court and the Supreme Court finally voted 5-4 in favor of Wide Awake Productions (the Christian Organization). Through these examples and the law of the first amendment and Americans with Disabilities Act, the court rules in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Justice Badge

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Justice Badge

 

If the court entitles police witnesses to only qualified immunity rather than absolute immunity, there will be a multitude of lawsuits brought against police officers by angry criminal defendants. For this reason, the right of absolute immunity should not be broadened. These cases would have no substantial argument for them and would only be a nuisance for the judiciary. It is important to protect police officers from being incriminated by their own testimonies, and to grant them absolute immunity when they agree to be witnesses in any case. If the courts waste their time looking at pointless lawsuits filed by defendants against police officers, the more important cases that serve a purpose will be delayed, which is not fair to those people involved. Absolute immunity is an important part of our judicial system that protects law enforcement officers, and it should not be broadened because it will only create issues within the judicial system.

 

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

On October 17, 2002, Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem to American parents. The parents requested to the US Department of State for their son’s birth certificate to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as his place of birth. However, because of the fact that Jerusalem is a source of tension in the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is a policy of the State Department to list just “Jerusalem” on the birth certificates of American citizens who are born there. Ownership of Jerusalem is contested by Israel and Palestine, so the State Department did not want to strongly favor either side. Thus, the parents sued Secretary of State on behalf of their son. The Zivotofsky’s cited the recently passed Foreign Relations Authority Act.

Congress had recently passed the Foreign Relations Authority Act (FRAA), which states in Section 214(d) that the State Department is required to list “Israel” as the place of birth when an American is born in Jerusalem if requested to do so. However, when President Bush signed the bill, he added a “Signing Statement” that declared that this section of the bill as unconstitutional and that it will be unenforced. President Bush did this because this section of the bill was essentially conflicting with his stance as the leader of the executive branch on Arab-Israeli relations. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution states that “[The President] shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers,” which has been decided by Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino to mean that the President has the sole power to recognize foreign governments and make foreign affairs decisions. Thus, Congress was acting unconstitutionally, so the legitimacy of Section 214(d) was contested.

At the District Court, the cased was dismissed. District Judge Gladys Kessler cited the political question doctrine, which essentially says that courts cannot hear the case because it involves a political question, which is a matter that the Constitution designated for the other branches of government to decide. The Zivotofsky’s appealed, and the Court of Appeals similarly dismissed the case on grounds of it involving a political question. Senior Circuit Judge Edwards did disagree, saying that the case did not involve a political question. Nonetheless, he agreed that Congress was acting unconstitutionally by passing the FRAA. The Zivotofsky’s appealed to the Supreme Court and received a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court determined the main points of the case to be whether it involved a political question and whether Congress acted unconstitutionally by trying to interfere with the President’s foreign affairs powers by passing the FRAA.

The Supreme Court hereby concludes that the case does involve a political question. Justice Brennan’s criteria for a political question, which he explored in Baker v. Carr, was applied. Because it is clearly stated in Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino (which interpreted the Constitution) that foreign policy is to be handled by the President, the case involves a political question. Foreign relations could be affected by the US’s practice of listing “Jerusalem, Israel” on birth certificates due to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Marbury v. Madison also states that certain executive powers are not examinable by the courts. Goldwater v. Carter of 1979 involved a political question, so the Supreme Court decided that it could not challenge the President’s ending of a treaty. Thus, M.B.Z. v. Clinton, which involves foreign affairs and duties exclusive to the President, involves a political question as well.

Secondly, the Supreme Court also decides that the acts of Congress were indeed unconstitutional by interfering with the President’s foreign affairs power. Bowsher v. Synar demonstrated that there are very fine lines in the separation of powers. A company was asked to execute a law, which is the executive branch’s job, so it was ruled to be unconstitutional.  In U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. of 1936, the Supreme Court declared that the President has the sole power to make foreign affairs decisions and. The Justices also determined that the President’s power to carry out foreign policy should not be limited to those listed in the Constitution. In Republic of Iraq v. Beaty, the President’s foreign affairs decision making was supported when Supreme Court ruled that the President did have the power to waive an exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. As can be seen, these three court cases affirm the President’s power to handle foreign affairs and his other exclusively executive roles.

M.B.Z. v. Clinton the potential to impact foreign policy in the Middle East. Ruling in favor of Zivotofsky would have changed the US’ stance to supporting the Israelis. Ruling in favor of Clinton, as the Court has done, will keep the United States’ stance in the Arab-Israeli conflict as relatively neutral.

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Employees Rights Badge: Hosanna-Tabor v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court should rule in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in this case. I am a lawyer representing an atheist group and I think that the court should represent the interests of my client because they reflect the interests of atheist groups all over the country. I think that the court should rule in favor of the EEOC because if not, it is directly sending a message to all religious establishments that they are above the law and are free to do whatever they please. The law should affect all people and there should be no areas that are hands-off. As long as the government does not try to make a law regarding the religious establishment and does not interfere with the free practice of it, the establishment should have to abide by the laws of the country they are residing in. If the court were to decide in favor of Hosanna-Tabor, it would send a message to churches around the country that the government can’t touch them and it would be a precedent to future similar cases. Hosanna-Tabor should not be allowed to be above the law and, in this case, fire employees due to their disability, which is why the court should rule in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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Opinion of the Court: M.B.Z. v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In 2002 Congress passed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. There was a section of the Act (Section 214d) that stated that when Birth Certificates that are made for Americans born in Jerusalem, the State Department had to list Israel as the birth place. Because of the conflict in the Middle East, it had been the State Department’s official policy to not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. When President George W. Bush signed the bill into law, he declared that Section 214d was unconstitutional because the executive branch has the sole power to determine foreign policy. Ari Zivotofsky sued the government because he believes that the court does not have the power to decide the issue and that the political question doctrine does not apply. Second, he argued that it was not Congress who violated the Constitution, it was President Bush. He believed that when President Bush used the signing statement to not enforce one section of the bill, he used the equivalent of a line-item veto which the court had already ruled unconstitutional. Hillary Clinton, representing the government, argues that the case involves foreign policy matters delegated to the president, and therefore cannot be heard by the judiciary branch. In regards to the second argument, she says that President Bush’s actions were justified because Section 214d of the FRAA was unconstitutional.

We the court rule in favor of Hillary Clinton and the United States Government. In Marbury v. Madison (1803), it was established that, “By the Constitution of the United States, the President is invested with certain important political powers, in the exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character and to his own conscience…Such acts can never be examinable by the courts.” The president’s decision on foreign affairs is final and he is invested with the power to do what he did because Congress tried to interfere with his exclusive power of foreign affairs when it passed the FRAA. It is also clear that the case involves a political question and should be dismissed through what was established in the case of Baker v. Carr (1962). “If the Constitution grants exclusive power to a certain branch to deal with an issue, it is likely that the case will be dismissed as it involves a political question.” The executive branch was exclusively given the power to deal with foreign affairs so, according to Baker v. Carr, this involves a political question and should be dismissed.

There have been many cases that are precedents to this case. An important precedent was the case of Goldwater. v. Carter. The court was asked to decide whether the President could end a treaty with Taiwan because, although both Congress and the President had to participate in the creation of a treaty, there was nothing in the Constitution about how to deal with ending treaties. The court decided that this was a political question and therefore could not be challenged by judicial review, so the case was dismissed. This was very similar to the case of M.B.Z. v. Clinton and suggests that the current case should be dismissed as well. Another important precedent was in the case of Hamden v. Rumsfeld. The case was brought against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by a Guantanamo Bay detainee. In the case, the court determined that President Bush did not have the authority to establish war crime tribunals for detainees. But, the three dissenting justices stated that the court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case and that it should have been dismissed. In their dissenting opinion, they used similar logic to that applied in the case of M.B.Z. v. Clinton. Lastly, the case of Nixon v. United States was a precedent to the current case. In the case of Nixon v. United States, a chief judge of the United States District Court was the subject of impeachment hearing in front of the Senate due to receiving bribes. The Senate appointed a committee under Senate Rule XI to create a report of findings. Then, after hearing what the committee found and the oral arguments from both sides, the Senate convicted Nixon with more than the necessary 2/3 vote. Nixon sued claiming that Senate Rule XI was in violation of the constitutional grant to hear all impeachment trials given to the Senate because it prohibits the entire Senate from participating in the trial and evidentiary hearings. The Court determined that the issue is nonjusticiable because of the political question doctrine. The Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment to the Senate which therefore renders the topic nonjusticiable. All of these precedents show that when the issue at hand involves powers delegated specifically to another branch of government, it should be deemed nonjusticiable and should be dismissed.

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Opinion of the Court: Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

From 2003 to 2004, Charles Rehberg sent anonymous faxes to the management of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Ken Hodges and James Paulk thought that Rehberg was responsible and investigated the anonymous faxes. In order to get the phone records of Rehberg, they created several fake subpoenas and showed them to Rehberg’s telephone company. They then did the same thing with his email provider in order to get his recent emails. On December, 14, 2005, the District Attorney produced enough evidence to have Rehberg arrested for assault, burglary and harassment. As a witness to the grand jury, Paulk falsely testified that Rehberg broke into Dr. Hotz’s house and assaulted him. Paulk later admitted that he had not collected any evidence that Rehberg had committed the crimes and that his testimony to the grand jury had been false. Rehberg then challenged the evidence supporting his indictment and the prosecutor dropped his case. After this, he filed a lawsuit against Paulk and Hodges for violating his rights under Section 1983 by making up subpoenas, lying to the grand jury, and attempting to improperly prosecute him. Paulk and Hodges claim that they should receive absolute immunity and the case should be dismissed.

We the court rule in favor of Rehberg because when Paulk became a witness to the grand jury, he gave up his entitlement to absolute immunity and only became entitled to qualified immunity. Because a complaining witness acts more like a trial-witness than a prosecutor, Paulk is only entitled to qualified immunity. A similar precedent to this case is the case of Malley v. Briggs (1986). In this case, a police officer, Malley, submitted an arrest warrants, criminal complaints, and affidavits alleging that Briggs illegally possessed Marijuana. Because of this, Briggs was arrested but was not indicted by the grand jury and the charges were dropped. In the Supreme Court, Malley argued that he should be absolutely immune as a complaining witness. The Supreme Court thought otherwise, they said that government officials who act as complaining witnesses are only entitled to qualified immunity. This established the precedent that complaining witnesses are not entitled to absolute immunity. Because Paulk was a complaining witness, according to this precedent he should only be entitled to qualified immunity, which is why the court ruled in favor of Rehberg. Another established precedent was in the case of Kalina v. Fletcher. In this case a prosecutor submitted an affidavit, detailing evidence to create probable cause against Fletcher, with several false statements, even though he swore to tell the truth under penalty of perjury. Fletcher was then arrested because of it. It was later found out that several false statements had been made in the affidavit and Fletcher was released. The Supreme Court determined that a prosecutor who makes false statements of fact in an affidavit for an arrest warrant is not protected by absolute immunity. This precedent again establishes that Federal Officers should be entitled to qualified immunity, not absolute immunity. Qualified immunity took precedent once again in the case of Buckley v. Fitzsimmons. In this case, prosecutors were trying to make a case against Buckley for rape and murder. A boot print was found but three separate labs were unable to make a connection to Buckley. Finally, the prosecutors found an expert witness that would make a connection to Buckley. The expert witness was known for making up unreliable expert testimony and unfortunately died before the trial and the prosecutors lost their case against Buckley. After losing three years of his life in jail Buckley was released and sued the officers for fabricating evidence. The Supreme Court upheld that the prosecutors were not were not entitled to absolute immunity because they fabricated evidence. Lastly, the case of Brosseau v. Haugen shows how law officers should be given qualified over absolute immunity. In the case, Officer Rochelle Brosseau shot Kenneth Haugen as he attempted to flee enforcement authorities. Kenneth Haugen brought this to court alleging that the shot constituted excessive force. The court granted Officer Brosseau qualified immunity in the case. This again shows that many times these officers are not protected from lawsuits and should be subject to qualified immunity and not entitled to absolute immunity, which is why the court decided in favor of Rehberg in the case of Rehberg v. Paulk.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day in Court: Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

If the court were to entitle police witnesses to only relative immunity, there would be far more lawsuits of wrongful accusations and police brutality than the courts could possibly handle. That being said, I don’t believe that it is fair that police officers and prosecutors are able to constantly hide behind the concept of immunity. I believe that they need to be responsible for their actions just like every other American. I don’t think that the court can put a blanket on whether police witnesses are entitled to absolute immunity or relative immunity. I think that they need to look specifically at the more extreme cases just like they do now. Police officers need to understand that they have to be responsible in their treatment of criminals and know that there will be consequences for their actions but people also have to understand that if the court were to only grant relative immunity in all cases then the justice system would become clogged and less effective. There needs to be a delicate balance of relative immunity in certain cases and absolute in others.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Charles Rehberg criticized the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia from September 2003 to March 2004 by sending anonymous faxes because he believed that the hospital was being financially dishonest. Ken Hodges, District Attorney of Dougherty County, Georgia allegedly had ties with the hospital’s management and proceeded to investigate the anonymous faxes as a favor to the hospital’s management. With James Paulk, the District Attorney’s Chief Investigator, the two suspected Rehberg of sending the faxes. The pair then proceeded to create realistic-looking but fake subpoenas and gave them to Rehberg’s telephone company and email provider, requesting Rehberg’s phone records and electronic data. The subpoenas claimed that an assembled grand jury was requesting the documents—the jury did not exist.
On December 14, 2004, Hodges produced enough evidence for a real grand jury to charge Rehberg of assault, burglary, and harassment and Rehberg was consequently arrested. Paulk served as the only witness to the grand jury and provided a false testimony that he later admitted to. The Prosecutor was forced to dismiss the case when Rehberg challenged the evidence of his indictment. Nonetheless, Rehberg was indicted for assault and harassment two more times with the false testimony that Paulk provided as evidence. These two cases were expectedly dismissed by the state trial court for a lack of evidence.
After these events, Rehberg filed a lawsuit at the District Court against Hodges and Paulk for making up subpoenas, providing false testimonies to a grand jury, and improperly prosecuting him, thus violating his constitutional rights listed under § 1983. Hodges and Paulk claimed that they had absolute immunity, which completely protects the prosecutor from suit when they improperly prosecute someone in civil cases, so they filed for the case to be dismissed. Hodges received immunity but Paulk’s request was denied because he acted as a complaining witness in the grand jury trials. Paulk appealed and the Court of Appeals decided that he did have absolute immunity because he was acting as a government official. Rehberg then appealed to the Supreme Court, which is to decide whether or not a government official who consciously provides false testimony to a grand jury, which resulted in an arrest of a citizen, is eligible for absolute immunity.
The Supreme Court thus decides that James Paulk is only eligible for qualified immunity, as he served as a complaining witness. Paulk does receive some kind of immunity because he is a government official, but he was more like a trial-witness than a prosecutor, so he only qualifies for qualified immunity. This decision is supported by section 1983 of the United States Code, which states, “Every person who . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . ” Paulk deprived Rehberg’s Fourth Amendment right by using false warrants to intrude and violate Rehberg’s papers and documentation.
Malley v. Briggs in 1986 also supports giving Paulk receiving only qualified immunity. In this case, the Supreme Court decided that government officials who acted as complaining witnesses and wrote unconvincing arrest warrant affidavits are only entitled so qualified immunity. The scenario in Malley v. Briggs is similar to how Hodges and Paulk made up testimonies to convict Rehberg. Kalina v. Fletcher in 1997 ruled that when a prosecutor provides false statement in an affidavit for an arrest warrant, that person is not eligible for absolute immunity. Again, this precedence can be easily tied to Paulk’s false testimony. Another Supreme Court case, Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, supports Paulk being at risk for being sued. In this trial, Buckley’s prosecutors used a witness who was known for providing very unreliable testimonies. The witness soon died and the prosecutors were unable to formulate a case. Buckley was able to then sue the prosecutors because the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors who fabricate evidence are not eligible to receive absolute immunity. Paulk similarly fabricated evidence and is therefore only eligible to receive qualified immunity. Finally, Pottawattamie County v. McGhee also did not grant absolute immunity for the prosecutors who fabricated and withheld evidence. The Eighth Circuit determined that the prosecutors violated the defendant’s due process rights, so they were not immune to lawsuits.
Although Rehberg’s harassment of the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital was wrong, the Supreme Court does not tolerate the practice of fabricating or illegally obtaining evidence. Ruling in favor of Paulk would mean favoring a liar. Even though he is a government official, Paulk should not be allowed to be immune from lawsuits if he committed unconstitutional acts. The morally weak practice of making baseless claims to convict “criminals” would thus be retrained by ruling in favor of Rehberg. Having only qualified immunity would discourage government officials for making unsupported claims.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day In Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

If broadening a right means that there will be a greater workload for the judiciary, it should still be broadened anyway because that it the concept of justice. You are either right or wrong—a complaint about having more work (which implies laziness) has no place in the discussion. If anything, the judiciary would have a greater demand for workers, and that’s never a bad thing in any economy. Anyways, justice is synonymous to “fairness” and “righteousness.” In Briscoe v. LaHue, a police officer got off the hook for giving a false testimony during a criminal trial. I believe that this is a blatant abuse of the justice system and that people should be accountable for their actions, whether they are the President, a plumber, or a police officer. Having more cases to handle does pose difficulties, but that problem can be solved by increasing the workforce. Then, the convicted persons who actually have merit to their lawsuit will have the opportunity to have their voices heard and to have it heard quicker. It’s only fair that the American society stands by its belief of equal treatment.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

A woman by the name of Cheryl Perich has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran church and school for discrimination in the workplace for a recent medical condition (narcolepsy), even after her condition had been treated and planned on returning to work the following year. However, Perich already had been offered financial aid to cover medical costs. The petitioner has declared its suit to be defended under the ministerial exception, as the respondent was employed by a church, and thereby was, in fact, considered a legal minister under this exception. This, in some ways, is a misconstrued interpretation of the exception that specifically states, “a religious organization may require that all applicants and employees conform to the religious tenets of such organization,” in the anti-discrimination act. This, of course allows a church to hire people that belong to the faith that the group is associated with, which is an entirely different issue. Unlike the Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church Diocese lawsuit that involved a bishop that was a leader, her duties at the school did include religious and secular positions. The first amendment implies the unofficial ‘Separation of church and state,’ but as the school is a secular organization, it must coincide with the same law that governs any other business, which brings up the Employment Division v. Smith case. Like in Perich’s case, Native Americans were discriminated against on religious grounds. The court ruled that the peyote they used was no reason to fire an employee, since it was used for religious purposes. In context, the law shows that Hosanna Tabor’s response is protected under the first amendment, since they are a religious organization. The most relevant case to consider has to be Locke v. Davey in 2004. The government nullified Joshua Davey’s scholarship, since it was to be used to pursuit a degree in theology, and not a secular field of work. In the same way that Davey’s rights were not protected by the state, so also should Perich’s. Since in that case, the government decided that the state must be separated, the ministerial exception does not apply to the school.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the respondent, Cheryl Perich, is given compensation for her current loss of work, and fines dealt to the Hosanna-Tabor School for unlawful discrimination, with the reason of which being a physical disability. The ministerial exception does not apply in this case since neither does the Free Exercise Clause. Even though the respondent did teach classes associated with the LCMS doctrine, the majority of her work was based upon secular, universal teachings in the fields of mathematics, physical education, and the sciences.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Current court cases are beginning to intrude on the rights of the church. The Cheryl v. Perich case may take away our rights to worship freely, along with the power to choose who works in the church, even in the case of an unreasonable circumstance. The Free Exercise Clause allows churches to have a decision over who is eligible for work in the church, not only the power to decide what kind of leaders it looks for. Wisconsin v. Yoder ruled that it is unconstitutional for the government to make schooling mandatory for people of a religion (Amish) that do not believe in either public schooling or socialization with the outside world. In this case, the Amish were granted their right to “Free Exercise,” even though public schools are very secular institutions. Since the Amish did not want their children being corrupted by the outside world, the government decided that they were not required to send them to public, state-run schools. Since they were granted to have freedom to practice religion by choosing what kind of schooling the students receive, it is very reasonable that every other religious school should have that same right. Not only should each church be allowed to choose the schools that the children will go to, but each church should be permitted to employ its leaders freely. If the money that pays for the employees comes from the church, the church has its rights protected under the “Free Exercise Clause” to regulate all employment associated with the church’s funds, as it is protected by the constitution.

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Amicus brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties.  Counsel for
the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a).  Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.

The Constitution is clearly in support of the president having strong foreign executive power. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution states that “[The President] shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers,” which has been decided by Banco Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino to mean that the President has the sole power to recognize foreign governments and make foreign affairs decisions. Thus, ruling in favor of Clinton will continue the supreme authority of the Constitution. It would also allow the United States to remain relatively neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and in Middle Eastern affairs in general. Ruling in favor of Zivotofsky would have slyly shifted the United States’ stance to pro-Israeli. The positive relations and progress that the United States has made with Israel and Palestine would be skewed. Favoring one side would only increase the militancy of the other.

Thus, a neutral position on the conflict should be kept, and that is what the ruling in favor of the respondent would do. Congress was trifling and unconstitutional by trying to allow Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authority Act and interfere with President Bush’s foreign policy decision making. President Bush is the representative of America, so it is only logical to respect and revere his political duties and standpoints.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-38c

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Amicus Brief

 

The court should rule in favor of Albert Florence. As a lawyer representing a prisoner rights group, I think the court should consider the interests of my client because they reflect the interests of other prisoners who are subject to strip searches. I think the court should rule in favor of Albert Florence because he is protected from unnecessary searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment, and unwarranted strip searches violate this right. It is important to consider the Fourth Amendment when deciding cases such as this, so the rights under the Constitution are protected. In other cases, such as Katz v. United States and Mapp v. Ohio, the Fourth Amendment rights have been protected. These precedents are imperative to establishing the importance of protecting an individual’s rights under the United States Constitution, which is why the decision in Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County New Jersey should rule in favor of Florence.

 

 

 

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Amicus Brief: Rehberg v. Paulk

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court should rule in favor of Charles Rehberg in the case of Rehberg v. Paulk. I am a lawyer representing a victim rights group and I strongly believe that the court should reflect the views of my client because if they do not, then Federal officers will be free to wrongfully accuse people of crime, falsify evidence against them, and knowingly send the wrong person to jail without having to worry about any consequences. Our officers hide behind the concept of absolute immunity far too often and have no consequence for their actions because of it. In this case, Paulk should not get to hide behind absolute immunity because what he did was wrong and there is absolutely no doubt about it. Paulk knowingly falsely testified after swearing an oath to speak the truth. Just because he is an officer, does not mean that he should be able to walk free of something that is lawfully and morally wrong. The fact that Paulk is an officer of the law does not mean that he should be above the law. What kind of message would we be sending to these officers and prosecutors if Paulk got out of this free of charge? We would be saying that officers can send whoever they want to jail with complete disregard of the truth and with complete disregard of consequence.


Amicus Brief: M.B.Z. v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I believe that in the case of M.B.Z. v. Clinton, the court should rule in favor of Clinton and the United States Government. I am a lawyer representing a group supporting the President’s strong executive power and I feel the court should reflect the interests of my client because my client represents the United States Government and reflects views stated in the United States Constitution, the Political Questions Doctrine, and the precedents established in various court cases. An extremely important precedent in this case is Goldwater v. Carter where the case was dismissed due to the fact that the Court cannot decide a political question. A similar ruling was given in the case of Nixon V. United States, which was dismissed due to the fact that the Senate was solely given impeachment powers and judicial review does not apply to powers reserved exclusively for one branch of government. Both of these cases show that the Court cannot decide the constitutionality of a political question, which is exactly what is being discussed in the case of M.B.Z. v. Clinton. To rule in favor of Ari Zivotofsky in this case would be to overturn the multiple precedents established earlier. I believe that the case should be dismissed because the Court should not be able to review matters that are given solely to other branches of government. To do this would directly violate the division of power laid out in the constitution by taking power from the executive branch and giving it to the judicial branch, which is why the court should rule in favor of Clinton in this case.

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Historical Context: M.B.Z. v. Clinton

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Framers of our Constitution carefully divided the powers of government between the three different branches in order to divide the power so that one specific group could not control all of the power. In order to prevent one of these groups from taking control, the Framers instituted checks and balances into the Constitution. These checks and balances were created so that the power would remain balanced between each of the three branches and the country would remain Democratic. The reason that our Framers decided to create this type of Government was because they had just come from Great Britain, where they were oppressed by a monarchy. They were tired of having no voice in the Government so they created one in America where the people have a much greater say. Because they wanted America to remain as Democratic as possible and not fall under the control of a monarch or dictator, they divided the powers among the branches and put in checks to ensure one person or group of people would never gain control of all the power.

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Free-Exercise Clause

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Hosanna-Tabor Church does not have the right to utilize the Free Exercise Clause in this case, since the parties involved are in conflict over a secular, and not religious matter. ‘Free Exercise of Religion’ applies to the leaders of a church, but not its teachers. The minute amount of religious leadership that Perich held was not significant enough to fall under the ministerial exception. Lawsuits from former employees would only be valid if they fell under the same circumstances as Perich. The personnel laws of a church are up to the church, unless government finds any real reason to be skeptical. Government is not imposing on the church’s right to exercise religion freely if it is allowing Perich to sue. If the government was to remove a religious leader for creating a cult or something like that, yes, it would be a violation of the church’s rights. The ADA operates under all the other laws. If the ministerial exception prevented it from regulating the church’s staffing decisions, it would have no grounds for a lawsuit, without a doubt. The question in this case is based on if the ministerial exception applies in this case which, I am sure, will not.

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The Validity of Signing Statements – Separation of Powers Badge

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I don’t think that what former President Bush did was constitutional. Article I, section 7, clause 2 basically states that a bill’s survival is determined by a “yes” or “no,” not a middle option that allows the President to pick and choose what components of a bill are passed. The President should instead just reject a bill in its entirety and suggest to Congress a quick edit (removal) of the unliked parts of the bill. Granted, the process of getting a bill signed takes a while, but the revised bill should go through the process faster the second time around if most of it was already seen by legislators. A signing statement is also similar to a line-item veto, which suffered a quick death in the 90s when the Supreme Court struck it down. That said, it would be fair for the Supreme Court to declare a President has acted unconstitutionally by not enforcing all of a bill that is signed. If there is a contrary statement in the Constitution, challenges by the Courts are definitely justifiable.

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Amicus brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties.  Counsel for
the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a).  Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.

Our government officials and leaders were elected or trained to receive their positions. Thus, their actions are for the good of society and they should be protected from lawsuits. A very recent precedence was set by the Supreme Court in Van de Kamp v. Goldstein. In this case, you, the Supreme Court decided that it does not matter if the government officials’ actions were exclusively “prosecutorial.” The government officials were consequently given absolute immunity.
It is also the job of the government officials who are prosecutors to put on a case. If there isn’t sufficient proof to convict a criminal, it is necessary to do more detective work, which may be at times not perfectly compliant with laws. Thus, the preparatory stages before a case need to be protected in order to bring criminals to justice. If the preparatory investigation was not protected, criminals would be able to find ways to manipulate civil lawsuits against government officials. Finally this ties into a consequence of ruling in favor of Rehberg. Allowing the criminals who were convicted to sue government officials would cause an influx of unnecessary cases. Bitter and convicted criminals would have an outlet to do as much damage as the can to the people that convicted them. Ruling in favor of Paulk, on the other hand, would allow government officials to continue to effectively police society and convict criminals.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Albert Florence had violated local traffic laws, and was fined. He claimed that he had already paid his fine, but some confusion led an officer to bring him into the local jail, despite the fact that Florence had evidence and had already presented it at the time. Once they arrived at the jail, officials told Florence that he must be strip-searched. He was strip-searched two times over the course of a week, although there was no reason to believe that this man possessed any firearms or illegal substances. After the week, Florence was released, with no charges brought against him. The police have the right to detain anyone for 24 hours, even without any reason. Nowhere in the law does it say that it is legal to hold someone for an entire week with no grounds to charge them, especially when the prisoner has substantial evidence that they are innocent. The police are allowed to search prisoners if they have evidence proving their guilt. In this case, the prisoner gave no indication of harm. The police treat this as if Florence murdered fifteen people, when all he did was (allegedly) break traffic laws by supposedly not paying his fine. Albert Florence was falsely accused, violated, and then let go. This is definitely unreasonable search and seizure. In Bell v. Wolfish, prisoners were being strip-searched even after having supervised visits, in an attempt to prevent jailbreaks and violence in the prisons. Just like Florence, there was no reason to search the inmates through these embarrassing means, suggesting unreasonable search and seizure. Since the court denied “reasonable individualized suspicion,” certainly it should also deny unreasonable individualized suspicion. In the case of Safford Unified School District v. Redding, a girl named Savana Redding was searched for drugs in school. In the search, she was required to remove her undergarments because the school had reason to believe that she possessed drugs. In this case, the police actually had a reason for searching her, even though they found nothing. Again, unlike Michigan v. Fisher in which there was substantial evidence for a search, Florence had no evidence against him, so in this case, it is definitely unlawful to detain Florence, and hold him subject to embarrassing search under unlawful seizure.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Sometimes, the government takes away the rights of the people in the name of practicality. In Florence v. Freeholders, Florence was innocent and had no evidence of possessing any firearms or illegal substances. He also did not have a criminal record. Therefore, if he were to be detained, authorities would need a warrant for his arrest. The fourth amendment of the constitution explicitly states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and Warrants shall not be issued, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” More specifically, “secure in their persons” sums this case up. Since the strip search was customary for each inmate, the search is not necessarily unconstitutional. However, there is no doubt that this is unreasonable seizure. Florence was literally dragged away from his family, out of his car to prison, where he spent the week and was eventually transferred to a correctional facility. He had done nothing wrong, and had evidence to prove it. The court should be looking from his eyes. People should have security in the law-that it will protect them and not humiliate them. Mistakes shouldn’t be happening in America’s legal system. The petitioner is voicing the views of all the people in saying that this kind of treatment needs to come to an end, especially when no evidence, from the past or present, led officials to assume that this man was either dangerous or on drugs. Betts v. Brady even ruled that even blatant crimes with substantial evidence do not always dignify an unreasonable seizure. This means that everyone has the right to a fair trial in which the accused have an equal chance to present their case to an unbiased courtroom. The court system needs to stop being practical and start being reasonable. If everyone had a chance to voice their own argument, ‘mistakes’ like the one in Florence v. Freeholders would not occur.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

When the United States were formed, the Framers of the constitution knew that the only way to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical was to create checks and balances that would stop any one branch from having too much power. Briton’s abuse of power dates back as far as 1765, when the Stamp Act went into action. Soon, people started to question and rebel against the government. The only way the Framers could guarantee that their rights would not be violated was to create the checks-and-balances system that the United States has today. The powers given to each branch have not been changed yet-only more specifically defined. Because we already know that chances are that the constitution is not going to be changed just because of one flaw, and it is not an important issue to become an amendment, the only thing that can happen is to decide through the supreme court whose power this is which is what the supreme court is already doing. I predict that the Supreme Court will rule that this power will go to the president. If this is the case, all other cases will most likely regard the Executive branch as the branch with the most Foreign Power.

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Cost of Safety

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Should people with criminal backgrounds be held to a higher standard than people without them? Why not? If they do something bad once, doesn’t it mean they will do it again? What about the other people, the ones that were in fact innocent, or were arrested for traffic law? Morally, people should be given a clean slate each time, but realistically, they shouldn’t. Serial killers are called ‘serial’ for a reason. They constantly have committed murder over and over again. The effects of a serial killer are massive, while breaking a traffic law probably only involves one person. This case says that they should be treated the same as someone who breaks traffic laws by not paying a fine. This is not right and good people who slip up once in a while should not be treated like compulsive criminals. This is socially unacceptable when it comes to how people trust their government. Criminal background checks allow officials pass judgment on the accused based on their former actions. It is completely logical that people who have broken the law already will break it again. This does not mean that in court these people should be judged differently, but searching someone because they have a history of violence is a reasonable idea.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

SourceURL:file://localhost/Volumes/13DNIZINSKI/School/10-12th%20grade/AP%20Gov/SCOTUS(TURN%20IN)/M.B.Z.%20v.%20Clinton/Amicus%20Brief.doc

Although it is not politically correct, the president does hold power over foreign policy. Since the president hold the most foreign power out of all the branches, he should be allowed to declare how the United States defines its borders. Jerusalem is in the land that is debatably called Israel. Since Israel is an ‘ally’ (Really a MNNA) of the United States, the president does actually hold power, since this would fall under his domain of rule, however the only way for the president to enforce this power is to have it approved by two-thirds of the senate. There should be an even distribution of power throughout the branches. Since congress can propose law, it should create a way for these kinds of cases to be settled in the future. In a new law, it would be in the nation’s best interests for the foreign powers of the president to be extended to include the power to declare borders. Nothing can really be done about this case at the present time, as the constitution has not declared the powers to fall under any one branch. The only reasonable action that the government can take is to create laws on how the next issue like this will be handled. The powers of the president have been in question for a long time. A case called Clinton v. The City of New York is one that puts such things in perspective. It was conflicted that the idea of a line-item veto would be unconstitutional, since it would be in strict violation of the Presentment Clause. Under the Presentment Clause, the president must also pass any law passed by Congress before it becomes a law. To complicate things, under this clause, the president was only given the power to approve or reject an entire bill. The line-item veto would have allowed the president to approve and reject whatever he or she wanted. This would cause some laws to be passed out of context, and allow the president to misconstrue laws that Congress had passed already. The Supreme Court ruled this power unconstitutional; Clinton lost. The powers of the president were restricted to what was already in the constitution, so in the case of foreign policy, the same laws apply. Allowing the president to have complete control over foreign policy is unconstitutional, since the constitution was created in such a way that would balance the powers. On the other hand, Congress is not issued these powers either. In fact, the president has arguably more power than congress, anyway. Since the president is allowed to overturn congress’ foreign policy, the president should be allowed to have the final say in foreign policy, but his/her decisions should be able to be reviewed by Congress.

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Court Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Charles Rehburg is suing James Paulk, Kenneth Hodges, and Kelly Burke for false testimony at the stand, which accused Rehburg for assault, harassment, and burglary as revenge for sending faxes proving that Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital had been spending unauthorized money. Rehburg was found innocent by the lower courts, as the only evidence that it had was a bogus testimony from Paulk. When Rehburg tried to sue Paulk, the court was not even sure if it was constitutional to sue a public official or not. The court needs to view this case as a common American would. All witnesses must take an oath of truth to testify. Do these rules not apply to public officials, too? It is a fact that the president can be impeached. Rehburg has been protected by the law through all the court processes, while Paulk definitely had not. Paulk had lied while under oath, which is a crime in itself. Rehburg possessed the evidence (the faxes) that had been dated, showing that he had brought a plausible case. Paulk had no intention of bringing any good out of this, only his personal gain. Rehburg definitely should have been allowed to sue Paulk for lying under oath. However, not all court cases have come to this conclusion. Briscoe v. LaHue ruled that defendants are not able to sue public officials who witness at the stand for false testimony, because if the court allowed this, too many people would be bringing lawsuits against public official for the court’s capacity to hear. Practically, the court had good reason, but realistically, they should not be taking away people’s rights on the account of practicality. Kalina (in Kalina v. Fletcher) did not receive all her rights and she still was able to sue an official, even though she may have really been guilty. In Malley v. Briggs, almost the exact same scenario as Rehburg’s was brought to the Supreme Court. Since public officials that act as a complaining witness do not automatically receive immunities. Therefore, Rehburg’s case should be allowed to be heard to sue Paulk. He has no grounds for his defense.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The (fictional) Give Me Voice or Give Me Death group has recently begun to contend that it is too difficult to bring suit against a public official and therefore presents the law as biased to those who enforce it. It is true that currently only a complaining witness is given immunity when they are a public official. This is unreasonable, since the common people are viewed as unequal in the eyes of the justice system, creating an unwritten gap in the law and how it deals with commoners. It is not fair if everyone who is not a public servant is at a disadvantage as soon as they walk into the courtroom. This would not only affect the parties involved, but everyone’s trust in the government. Skepticism will rise, and people will soon begin to believe that they have no rights when arrested. Breaking traffic laws are probably the most commonly broken laws that involve only the driver and a police officer. Just because the policeman works for the government shouldn’t mean that the government needs to work for him. On the contrary, new legislation should be passed that takes away immunities in all cases that do not provide substantial evidence protecting (or accusing) the defendant. In this way, the government would not be able to become tyrannical, the rights of the people would be guaranteed, and the people would have a higher level of trust in the government. The constitutionality of immunity of public officials was decided in a case called Saucier v. Katz. In that case, it was decided that public officials need to go through a two-part system of determining if officials are void from the immunity. The first step was to know when what part of the law protected each party. The second was to find out if the official had any good intentions that may in any way have created a positive result. Saucier v. Katz determined how to handle a case like this already. Officials do not always receive automatic immunity. They must qualify first. Officials need to qualify for immunity by the court’s standards, leaving the court the power to balance the rest of the law. This is why it is important for the courts to be unbiased and not automatically view public officials as immune.

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Official Immunity-Section 1983

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The history of Official Immunities leads one to believe that it was created to only block ideas that went against the government. The problem is that the government is at the very root of the problem. Instead of blocking out groups like the Ku Klux Klan, congress instead passed legislation that led to a decline of people’s rights against officials. The argument seems to be one that goes against only policemen or only prison guards. Instead, it should be taking its stand against corrupt politicians and other officials who work behind the scenes to protect the local level officials. Prison conditions are set by the state, so why go after the people who work for the state? Attack the state and fight for your rights. Under section 1983, officials were meant to be sued by the opposing party if they had legitimate reason, but somehow, the law was twisted to protect selected citizens-the officials. When it all comes down to its most simple form, officials are just regular citizens, so everyone should be guaranteed the same rights no matter what their occupation is because this is discrimination in the same legal system that tried to abolish discrimination of other kinds. Commoners need unbiased protection of their rights, unlike the officials.

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Court Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-cb

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Congress in 2002 wanted a bill to become law that would require all people born in Jerusalem to have written on their birth certificate that they are from Israel, even though Israel’s borders are currently loosely defined. As Palestinians and Israelites are at war, it is not necessarily politically correct to call the territory “Israel,” since it would only cause more complications. This bill was passed in congress, but the executive branch disapproved of it because its members believed that it is their duty to pass such a law. The family of Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky (MBZ) filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton demanding that their son’s passport read “Jerusalem.” The question at stake is who has the authority to define other countries borders in times of conflict. Since neither has absolute power, many assume the most power is given to the president, but on the other hand, congress has the right to change or back up the president’s decisions. This is accurately demonstrated in Marbury v. Madison. Here, it was decided that court cannot bring charges against the official in the executive position, however congress was given the power to approve or change the president’s decisions. Goldwater v. Carter ruled that there is no exact procedure for ending foreign treaties, so both congress and the president must agree on the terms of which the treaty allows, although most other times, the president is given authority over foreign policy. In Hamdan v. Rumsfield, the court decided that the president’s military powers did not extend to setting up war crimes tribunals, and that these powers were defined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949. This is contrary to the Commander in Chief role that the president plays. In conclusion, as this case has no defined boundaries power, it is beyond the court’s authority to come to a constitutional conclusion, since the powers of the Supreme Court are limited to interpreting the constitution. Therefore, this case is dismissed, since the powers of the courts are not defined in this scenario.

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Amicus

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-3b8

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th
Unanimous non-justiciable finding in favor of ClintonIn 2002, the United States Congress enacted the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, signed by then President Bush, part of which stipulated that the State Department must list “Israel” as a place of birth upon request. Five years later, Petitioner Zivotofsky filed to the State Department requesting to have his birthplace listed as Jerusalem, Israel; contrary to the State Department’s policy of refusing to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel however pursuant to FRAA. In President Bush’s signing of FRAA, he recognized applicable Section 214(d) as unconstitutional, as he argued it was not the legislative branch’s power to modify foreign policy which was reserved exclusively for the executive branch.

At the district court, the logic stated by President Bush was upheld, finding the policies in question were non-justiciable, finding the Constitution gives the executive branch exclusive control over foreign policy questions. Similarly the Cour of Appeals found the case in question held a political nature, and therefore would be dismissed. In the examination of this case, the two primary questions are (1) If the court system is capable of determination of a statute set forth by Congress on the executive branch and (2) whether the intrusion of Congress upon the executive branch is protected under the constitution.

In these matters it is found regarding the ruling on the legality of the statute, it is determined that the Court may do so so long as the questions present can be adequately resolved with deference as to the parties involved and without personal bias. In both these matters, it is found that the court is capable of making a ruling. Under this, the court finds in favor of Clinton, ruling that it is within the powers not specifically mentioned of the president yet enumerated in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. Furthermore, the court finds, under this doctrine, the presidents actions in adding a Signing Statement are, under the precedent of Clinton v. City of New York, summarily an overstepping of the chief executives power.
Despite this, however, it is not the individual actions the president took the court is interested in. Rather, it is only important that the executive branch, within its duties, dispensed its exclusive powers to regulate foreign policies as mentioned in Article I, section 7, clause 2 of the United States Constitution similarly to Nixon v. United States 506 U.S. 224 (1993). The only relevant portion was a trial of Nixon took place-not the individual aspects of the trial.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Writing for the majority, the Court rules in favor of the Hosanna- Tabor Church; the firing of Mrs. Perich was protected under the church’s first amendment right to freedom of religion. Furthermore, the ministerial exception to the Americans with Disabilities Act holds that federal employment laws do not apply to religious institutions.

Mrs. Perich taught mostly secular classes at a Christian-centered church; she was diagnosed with narcolepsy and the Hosanna Tabor Church found her incapable of performing her duties as a teacher. Having received treatment, Mrs. Perich returned to find her position had been terminated.

The first amendment states that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,’ therefore the ministerial exception to the ADA is a valid argument for the Hosanna- Tabor Church because laws cannot be made which interfere with church proceedings. In Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich, the Illinois Supreme Court ordered that a bishop be reinstated at his diocese because proper termination procedure was not followed. The US Supreme Court ruled, however, that the Court does not have power to dictate the hiring and firing practices of religious institutions. Based on this precedent, it is within the rights of the Hosanna- Tabor Church to terminate Mrs. Perich’s position. In Locke v. Davey, Joshua Davey was given a scholarship to pursue a non-theological degree. He ended up enrolling in a Christian school and his funding was withdrawn. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Locke, saying that Davey’s First Amendment rights were not violated because the state’s reasoning was non-discriminatory. Likewise, Mrs. Perich was not fired for discriminatory reasons such as race or gender, but rather because she was incapable of performing her assigned duties. Finally, in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez the Hastings College of Law required that all organizations accept all interested students. Justice Alito, in his dissenting opinion, wrote that the measure infringed on the First Amendment rights of religious organizations and was therefore unconstitutional. This precedent applies to this case because it promotes the Hosanna-Tabor church’s free exercise rights.

In summary, the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Hosanna-Tabor Church because the First Amendment prohibits the making of laws with regard to religion. Although Mrs. Perich taught mostly secular classes, she was still employed by a religious institution and therefore subject to the ministerial exception to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Previous precedent set by Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivohevich and Locke v. Davey support the First Amendment rights of religious institutions. It is well within the rights of the Hosanna-Tabor Church to terminate Mrs. Perich’s position, regardless of reason, because they are a religious institution and exempt from certain employment regulations.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Constitution implies that it is the President’s job to dictate the foreign policy of the United States. As a board member for the Governmental Foreign Relations Group, I strongly urge the court to consider the arguments of Secretary of State Clinton. The State Department justifiably denied Jerusalem, Israel from being printed on an official US document. As a nation with strong global influence, we cannot take sides in the continuing battle between Palestinians and Israelis. Such was the position of President Bush in his refusal to recognize Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, and likewise the current administration must follow suit.

The repercussions of supporting either side could be disastrous; while US troops continue to engage in our own conflict in the Middle East, it is crucial to maintain good relations with any country that could potentially be an ally. To support Israel or Palestine effectively angers any followers the opposing party may have. Additionally, any intrusion on the executive branch’s ability to make foreign policy opens the door to further intrusions. Allowing the judiciary to challenge the President’s word on this matter undermines the system of checks and balances which has worked for so long in our country. This is undoubtedly a political question which has no place in the courtroom. Please consider the effect that ruling in favor of Zivotofskys will have outside of Washington.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Writing for the majority, the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Secretary of State Clinton and the United States government; Clinton argued that this is not a question of which the judiciary can decide and therefore action cannot be taken. The Supreme Court upholds the decision of the District Court and the Court of Appeals, which unanimously agreed that M. B. Z. v. Clinton presented a political question and could not be acted upon by the highest court. Additionally, President Bush appropriately issued a signing statement with the passage of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act which prohibited a citizen from requesting Jerusalem, Israel on their birth certificate.

In 2002, Mrs. Zivotofsky gave birth to a son in West Jerusalem. The family wrote to the State Department, formally requesting that their son’s place of birth be listed as Jerusalem, Israel. The State Department refused, citing that it was against their policy to recognize any countries ownership of Jerusalem due to the intense fighting and conflict surrounding that issue. Acting for their son, the Zivotofskys sued Secretary of State Clinton and the State Department for its refusal to honor their request. The case raised the question of whether the case raised a question which could even be heard by the courts, and whether President Bush was justified in not honoring Section 214(d) of the FRAA.

Article II Section 3 of the United States Constitution states “[The President] shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers.” In the case Banco de Nacional de Cuba v. Sabbatino, the US Supreme Court interpreted Article II Section 3 as stating that the President has the sole authority to recognize foreign governments. In relation to this case, it was in President Bush’s power to not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Though the Zivotofskys argue that the signing statement attached to Section 214(d) was a line item veto, which has been determined to be unconstitutional, the President was justified in doing so because the item in question was in itself unconstitutional.

In US v. Curtiss Wright Export Corporation, the United States filed charges against the Curtiss Wright Corporation for an illegal arms trade with Bolivia. While the defendant argued that it was not within the President’s rights to establish this embargo against Bolivia, the US Supreme Court held that solely the President establishes foreign policy and could therefore establish embargoes. The application to M. B. Z. v. Clinton is that chiefly the President can make foreign policy decisions, and can therefore decide which countries our nation formally recognizes. Goldwater v. Carter examined the question of whether the President needs Congressional approval to end a treaty with the Taiwanese government. A 5-3 majority asserted that the question raised was political in nature and could not be decided by the US Supreme Court. Lastly, the case United States v. Pink established that a state cannot change or violate domestic law in dealing with a foreign creditor. The case further protects the President’s authority as chief executive to make foreign policy.

In summary, the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Secretary of State Clinton because it is against the foreign policy of this country to recognize Jerusalem as the property of any country. President Bush’s refusal to uphold Section 214(d) of the FRAA is constitutional because it prohibited an unconstitutional item from becoming law. Additionally, questions of foreign policy can be determined exclusively by the executive branch and therefore the US Supreme Court can take no action on the case.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day in Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

As I argued in Florence v. the Board of Freeholders, the government should not sacrifice the rights of citizens simply because it is convenient or easy. Inmates are entitled to professional searches, regardless of cost or feasibility. Likewise, if an official does not deserve absolute immunity then the case should be retried with the police officer only receiving qualified immunity. Realistically, this change in policy will not change the outcome of a large percentage of cases and I trust the judgment of the courts decide when this condition applies. In Briscoe v. LaHue, the defendant was granted absolute immunity partially because by not doing so, defendants who had previously been convicted would want their case retried; justices feared this would clog the court system. It is not just to deny the right to a fair trial to an individual simply because it is convenient. Since when did the Bill of Rights only apply to certain people?

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Government officials should not be protected from prosecution simply because they have a title in front of their name. As a lawyer for the Victims’ Rights Coalition, the US Supreme Court should strongly consider the arguments of Mr. Charles Rehberg and the implications of their decision. To rule in the contrary, future officials will be able to use Rehberg v. Paulk as justification for a government official’s creation of phony subpoenas and other documents. The Patriot Act already allows the government to tap phones and read e-mails in the interest of deterring terrorist attacks, so further justifying invasions of privacy will only further restrict my clients’ Fourth Amendment rights.

To rule in favor of Rehberg is to rule in favor of the people; citizens should be able to know that public officials are held to the same standards that they are, and that there will be repercussions against officials who knowingly lie to a grand jury. To rule in favor of Rehberg will strengthen Section 1983 of the United States Code, allowing citizens to have faith that the repression of their constitutional rights will not come without proper government intervention. Please consider the arguments of Mr. Rehberg and recognize that Mr. Paulk does not qualify for absolute immunity.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Writing for the majority, the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Charles Rehberg; James Paulk is subject to only qualified immunity and therefore can be prosecuted for bringing false charges against an innocent individual. The US Supreme Court is overturning the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which determined that Paulk and Hodges did indeed qualify for absolute immunity.

Charles Rehberg began sending anonymous faxes to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia, questioning the financial honesty of the management there. The hospital then asked the District Attorney and Chief Investigator for that county, Ken Hodges and James Paulk, to investigate the sources of these anonymous faxes. Hodges and Paulk created phony subpoenas, issued by a phony grand jury, to gain access to Rehberg’s phone and e-mail records. The pair eventually convinced a grand jury to charge Rehberg with assault and harassment, none of which was true, resulting in Rehberg’s arrest. The case was later dismissed, and Rehberg pressed charges against the pair for forging subpoenas and charging him with a crime he never committed.

The Civil Actions for Deprivation of Civil Rights section of the United States Code states that any citizen who deprives another of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution is subject to punishment. The Absolute Immunity clause fully shields a government official from punishment for anything that official says or does in the course of their governmental duties. Paulk is not subject to absolute immunity because he was acting a witness rather than a governmental official in the proceedings, therefore is not protected by that clause. In Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, police uncovered a boot print which they connected to a rape and murder case. Five independent labs could not connect Buckley to the crime. One lab, which was infamously unreliable, eventually did. Following a mistrial, Buckley was released and the US Supreme Court held that prosecutors who fabricate evidence are not eligible for absolute immunity. The case is very similar to Rehberg v. Paulk, hence supporting that Paulk does not qualify for absolute immunity. In Malley v. Briggs, a state trooper submitted an arrest warrant against Briggs for possession of marijuana. Briggs was arrested, but a grand jury never convicted him and he was released. Briggs sued Malley, citing that his rights protected under Section 1983 were violated. The Court held that Malley was not protected by absolute immunity because his investigation did not uncover enough evidence to justify an arrest. Likewise, Paulk had no evidence to convict Rehberg of assault and is therefore not protected by absolute immunity. Lastly, Kalina v. Fletcher established that a prosecutor who provides false statements under oath is subject to redress. These precedents all enforce that Paulk is not protected by absolute immunity and charges can then be brought against him.

Qualified immunity implies that a government official is only protected as long as he does not knowingly violate the rights of another person. Rehberg’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated because Paulk did not have a legitimate subpoena in which to view Rehberg’s phone and e-mail records. The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Charles Rehberg because though Paulk was performing governmental duties, the precedents established by previous court cases and specific language of the United States Code allow for his prosecution.

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Administrative Concerns

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

As citizens of the United States of America, we should not sacrifice our right to privacy simply because there as a lack of money for less intrusive searches. I can liken this is a teenager who continues to push his parents boundaries after getting away with something. What is to say that once we allow the government to create a gray area within the Fourth Amendment, that they won’t then begin to challenge the rights protected by the First Amendment? I realize that they are not motivated by a sincere intention to undermine the Constitution, but that is what they are doing. If the prisons are going to implement a blanket policy of searching all inmates, it is crucial that they spend the money to ‘do it right’ and buy equipment or train personnel to conduct the searches in a way that the inmates can still retain some measure of dignity. As in the case of Mr. Florence, an entirely innocent man, inmates deserve to be searched in a professional manner.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The safety of a large group of people cannot be compromised for the rights of individuals, as presented in the case Florence v. Board of Freeholders. As President of the Prison Safety Commission, I am urging the US Supreme Court to rule in favor of the Board of Freeholders. Blanket strip searches are the most effective way to prevent weapons and drugs from entering the premises and they ultimately protect the prison employees from being harmed by the inmates. Just because an inmate cooperates with officers and doesn’t have any violent crimes on their record doesn’t mean that they aren’t dangerous. Officers would have no reasonable suspicion in which to justify a search, and consequently this inmate could get into the prison with a conceal knife or a few grams of cocaine. This argument is needed to circumvent the language of the Fourth Amendment. More simply, Bell v. Wolfish established that ‘reasonable individualized suspicion’ is not required to search an inmate. Ruling in favor of Florence would undermine the prison’s ability to enforce security; the consequences of this could potentially include increased break-outs and violent confrontations with prison personnel. It is my job to maintain safe prison facilities across the country, and I would therefore implore the court to rule in favor of the Board of Freeholders; doing so would enforce a jail’s ability to continue to search all incoming inmates.

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The Free Exercise Clause

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The ministerial exception to the Americans with Disabilities Act was implemented so that the rights of religious institutions were not violated per the First Amendment. I completely agree with the ministerial exception because our country was founded as a place where freedom of religion could be guaranteed, and this applies to all aspects of the church. By regulating who a religious institution can employ, it opens the door to other aspects of the church being regulated. The First Amendment does not specify what aspects are subject to regulations; it simply states, “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion.” The US Supreme Court must therefore take this to mean that personnel decisions fit into this language. Assuming the US Supreme Court rules in favor of the Hosanna-Tabor Church, potential lawsuits include those coming from churches that were forced to keep disabled people on their staff. To maintain the integrity of separation of church and state, the ministerial exception should continue to be observed.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-5d

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The outcome of Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC will have effects extending further than just the two parties in the courtroom. From the perspective of a lawyer representing a principal at a local Christian school, it is imperative that the Supreme Court rule in favor of the Hosanna-Tabor Church. The First Amendment protects religious institutions from the application of laws to them. Additionally, previous precedents set by Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivohevich and Locke v. Davey support the freedom of the church to make decisions regarding employment. To rule in favor of the EEOC would effectively undermine the right of my client’s school to hire and fire employees as he sees fit. The school would become subject to scrutiny for every move it makes that the public does not agree with. This is already guaranteed under the ministerial exception to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The fact that Mrs. Perich taught mostly secular subjects is irrelevant because she was still employed by a religious institution. Additionally, my client would have significantly less control over who is employed at their Christian school; it becomes a matter of who fits the ‘quota’ mandated by the ADA, and less of what individual is most appropriate and able to deliver a Christian based education. In light of these arguments, I would implore the justices to take the effects I have outlined into considerations.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Way In Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

No, it is not fair. To continue, it is certainly not American. Under our justice system we believe in letting a criminal go free rather than penalizing an innocent person. To stem off that philosophy, it is certainly not just for the Court to deny a small number of people of their rights because they do not want a much larger group to re-appeal. As citizens, we have rights to appeal. No matter how illegitiamate or legitimate our cases may be, that is a right we are given. The reason for that case remains that although there may be many meaningless cases, there are cases that do have meaning and will prove to have been wrongfully convicted. Those cases are the reason we have the right to reappeal as many times as we desire. The counterargument lies in that it may force those with legitimate claims to wait while courts deal with some superfluous cases. Yes, it may cause a longer wait. Yet a long wait is better than no opportunity for a wait at all. In this particular case, Briscoe v. LaHue, because of the Court’s fear of “clogging up the Justice system” they may have unlawfully allowed many innocent people be convicted in jail for the lies of police officers. This is not the justice system America should be governed under.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In this case, the Court should favor Rehburg in the case. As a victims right grouop, we believe every person should be entitled to their full rights. Not only was Reburg unjustly framed with more malicious activity then he actually committed, he was wrongfully accused of committing violent acts upon the Hospital staff. Although it became evident the petitioner was not involved in these tasks, but they were rather fabricated by the District Attorney’s Chief Investigator Paulk. There was no adequate reason to why these lies were created, other than to unjustly prosecute Rehberg. Although government officials are entitled to absolute immunity in such cases, this should not mean that government officials have the power to irresponsibly endanger the lives of individuals just to complete a favor for a friend. Other than the obvious moral obstructions in this case, Paulk was not acting upon any government official work when he lied in his testifying statement in court. He was not a government official in that witness stand, but rather a man that was fabricating a story. Because of this manner, he was not protected under absolute immunity and should be sued by Rehburg.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In this case, the petitioner Charles A. Rehburg sent anonymous faxes to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and was charged  with assault, burglary, and harassment. Yet, the catch is that this only occured after fake evidence created by District Attorney James Paulk was submitted to the jury. The District Attorney’s Chief Investigator Paulk had believed that Rehburg had sent the anonymous faxes, and created fake subpoenas to access Rehburg’s email and telephone records as well as lieing in the grand jury about Rehberg allegedly breaking into Dr. Hotz’s household. From this evidence, Rehburg was charged these crimes but eventually was dismissed from the case after Paulk was discovered to have created the fake subpoenas. Rehburg went on to sue Paulk, but Paulk claimed government immunity. This case calls into the question of how much immunity government officials actually receive and the fairness in this process.

The Chief Investigator is indeed protected under absolute immunity as noted in Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983; Civil Actions for Deprivation of Civil Rights. More specifically, this means that he is indeed protected as a government representative in court. To continue, as evident in the case Hanson v. Cager, immunity is evident to be deemable in courts even if the government official has lied. Since it was a civil case it was deemed allowed. Contrary, in the case of Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, the Court deemed the prosecutors not protected under absolute immunity, most likely due to the fact the case was criminal. However, in this specific case, Paulk commited these obstructions under a civil case, and should be protected against Absolute Immunity.

However, the Court should not rule in Paulk’s favor. Although he should be protected under government official immunity for creating the fake subpoenas- in no means was Paulk acting as a government official by testifying in Court. Rather, Paulk was representing a person as a witness. Since he obstructed the law by lieing under oath, Paulk is indeed subject to being sued. In no manner was Paulk representing a government official, and thus does not deserve absolute immunity in this case. In Briscoe v. LaHue, the police officer was deemed to be protected under absolute immunity even though he lied in his testimony. This permittance of absolute immunity may be legitmate because it was a testimony completed by a government official in a government position. With Paulk, this was not the case. Instead, he played the role of a witness not a government official.

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Executive Authority and Foreign Policy

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Only Congress has the power to declare war and there should be absolutely no way the President- the executive branch- should be able to declare war. However, as the Commander in Chief, the President is allowed to station U.S. troops abroad for 60 days (with a possible 30 day extension) without congressional authorization. This is supported under the War Powers Resolution. Even if Congress disapproves with the President’s decision, they are unable to do anything about it other than denying the President to keep the U.S. troops in that location for longer than 90 days. There is a check and balance revolving this system, for ultimately to go into war both branches of government have a fair representation. I don’t see why if two branches are involved in declaring war, why the judicial branch doesn’t have a voice in it either. I do believe that the courts should have the power to examine such issues, for it truly creates balance in our system of government. However, it should have stricter guideline- such as an unanimous vote- if the Court’s decision would truly have any impact on the decisions of either Congress or of the President. The Courts should at least be able to input their reasoning of the constitutionality of such issues, if no direct action could be conducted by them.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Court should favor the case in the interest of the Clinton. As a group supporting the strong executive power of the President, it is crucial to be passed in Clinton’s favor in order to maintain the interests of our country. Under the Constitution, the judicial branch has no direct influence on how the executive branch performs their foreign policy. Point blank, the Courts are not allowed to interfere with political questions. The Courts are directed to use the Constitution as a guide to create their decisions, and in political questions they are unable to use their judiciary skills. The decisions would fall under their personal opinions, thus making it void to use their opinions. Also under the Constitution, the executive branch is given the power to deal with foreign policy. Even in the case Marbury v. Madison, Justice Marbury stated, “being entrusted to the Executive, the decision of the Executive is conclusive. . . . [Such acts] can never be examinable by the Courts.” Hence, this case fits within the context of Marshall’s ruling. By passing legislation/having the courts interfere with the decision, the legislative and judicial branch will be undermining the executive branch and taking away their power. Thus, in the case of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, this bill should be revoked for being unconstitutional. This case will set one of the precedents on whether the other branches of government will be interfere with the powers of the President. In an ever increasing globalized world, this case decision will serve increasingly important.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In this case, the petitioner the Zivotofsky family is arguing that their son Ari Zivotofsky’s passport should not only list Jerusalem. They insist that their country, Israel should be listed as well. The respondent, Clinton retorted that because of the Middle East conflict over the recognition of Jerusalem as a part of Israel or Palestine prohibits the United States from recognizing either country. This decision was made under President Bush in his executive powers. The argument is whether the Courts may even review the case, as it is a political question. This case also seeks to establish the legitimacy of  the Foreign Relation Authorization Act (FRAA) that was passed under Congress, to answer whether the legislative branch can interfere with the powers of the executive branch by passing legislation.

Under the Constitution, Article I, II, and III designates powers of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branch. Under Article II, Section 3 the powers of the executive branch are clearly established to handle foreign policy. Not to mention, in the case of Marbury v. Madison, Supreme Court Justice Marbury ruled that the Courts should have no part in involving themselves with the executive powers. According to these two legitimate and rarely controversial precedents, the power of the President Bush to decide not to recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel is not delegated to anyone other than President Bush himself.

There are no judiciary implications or judgements to be made for this is strictly a political question that uses personal preference. As illustrated in the case, Republic of Iraq v. Beaty the Court unanimously voted that the President did indeed have the right to waive an exception to the Foreign Immunities Act because that decision fell within his responsibility as Commander In Chief.  This case is extremely similar, and should be handled in a similar way.

The powers in each branch of government should by no means overextend what is given to them in the Constitution. For example, in the case Myers v. United States, that remains evident as the Supreme Court rules that the legislative body had no say in whether or not the President could remove executive officials. This case clearly showed that the legislative branch could not take part in the removing process because they had no powers listed to them that gave them the right. In this case, the legislative branch has no say in how the President can handle foreign policy or what the stance on Jerusalem is. Hence, the FRAA should be made void as it exceeds their powers and contradicts the President’s view on his powers.

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Social Cost

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

No, people who have not exhibited any harmful actions should not be subjected to the same treatment as those who are capable of endangering others. I am most definitely a proponent of all individuals being treated equally and removing as much discrimination from an environment as possible. However, in cases of prisons and safety- there is a distinct line drawn. The treatment that criminals and dangerous prisoners receive are not just minimal procedures- they cause the individual to be completely vulnerable and may even be harsh and degrading. For those individuals that have not done any susceptible deeds, they should most definitely not have to give up their freedoms. Those criminals who endangered other lives in society forfeited some of their freedoms when they committed the acts, which justifies some of the extra safety procedures taken. However, in no way should every citizen have to go through the most intense and invasive procedure that criminals go through. Ultimately, innocent people should most definitely not be treated with the standards as criminals.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-1c0

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Court should rule in the favor of Burlington County. Speaking as an organization supporting prison safety, this case is evident in promoting our purpose. Although it is unfortunate that Albert Florence was subjected to prison procedures while he was innocent, it was absolutely necessary. There was not a direct malice toward Florence when he was arrested or admitted to the jail. The procedures completed by the policeman and the staffs at the prison were normal procedures completed for each individual that show suspicion/enter the prison. As it is obvious there is no correlation with discrimination in this case, but rather a system set up for the safety of the individuals, the Court should favor Burlington County. The blanket-policy is a just system that serves to protect the interests of the other prisoners as well as the staff and administration in the building. The procedures completed may be uncomfortable and a nuisance, but they are absolutely necessary to contain danger and avoid violence at any cost. Not only is this case evident to be in favor of the prison, but previous cases have set precedents that should support the Burlington County prison. Such as in Bell v. Wolfish, the Court rules there was no need for “reasonable individualized suspicion” to perform prison searches. As this case nearly mirrors that case, there should not be much dispute why they should not win this case.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In 2002, Congress passed a measure titled the “Foreign Relations Authorization Act”, section 214 (d) of the law stated; that when making birth certificates for Americans born in Jerusalem, the state department must list Israel as the place of birth at the citizen’s request. The reasoning behind this is the State Department’s official policy was to not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel due to its source of conflict in the middle east. During George W. Bush’s reign as president he attached a signing statement to section 214 (d) declaring it unconstitutional and that the law would not be enforced. George W. Bush continued his statement by saying that the fact congress was trying to change his stance was unconstitutional under Article II of the constitution; which states the president has the sole power when determining the foreign policy of the United States. When the case reached the district courts for the District of Columbia the case was overall dismissed. The basis for this decision was the fact that the question being asked was that of a political variety. Meaning that the court could not properly resolve it because it does not deal with constitutionality but with the three branches of government. The district court did agree with the argument of the government since the constitution specifically states that the executive branch has the sole power of foreign policy. The Zivotofskys appealed the dismissal to the court of appeals for the District of Columbia. The court of the appeals unanimously agreed with the district court’s decision; although it had one concurring opinion, it was still upheld that the question was on majority grounds a political question. Lastly the Zivotofskys appealed to the supreme court where there case was agreed to be heard. The supreme court’s overall role here is to examine whether the question is one of politics or constitutionality, and if congress overstepped its bounds in creating a law that inhibited the presidents sole power of foreign policy. As a justice of the supreme court there are many things I must consider when deciding where I will chose to stand with this case. The most important being what earlier case laws have set prior precedents for a case such as this.

The first case that is most viably applied to these circumstances is Marbury v. Madison(1803). In this case the ruling was that the president holds important political powers, that the executive branches decisions are conclusive and that such acts can never be examined by the courts. So in this case the ruling is agreeing with the government essentially ruling that his power to decide foreign policy is final and can not be conflicted. Another interesting case that must be consider is the ruling of .Goldwater v. Carter(1979), in this instance there was a question if the president had the power to end treaties without the consent of congress. Although the constitution states that both congress and the president must jointly make a treaty; there is no given way to dismiss one. In this instance the courts dismissed the case claiming it to be a political question they had no part in ruling in. A more recent case law to examine would be the case filed to block the killing of a high pointed terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. A federal judge in Washington ruled that he lacked the political authority to rule in the case. In this instance we see a judge dismiss a case because of its national authority standing; abstractly this case is dealing with foreign policy with relation to another country. Which the president is under his constitutional right to decide on.

After analyzing the above case law we next must examine the voting patterns of the supreme court based on prior rulings dealing with the same concept. Once again we are for the most part split fifty- fifty when looking at the supreme courts prior rulings in cases. The first example would be in . Medellin v. Texas(2008) where the courts ruled that the president did not have unilateral authority to enforce an international treaty as if it were a domestic law. In this case the presidents claims to foreign policy where limited. Where in Republic of Iraq v. Beaty(2009) the court ruled in favor of the presidents foreign policy case. In this instance the courts upheld that the president was able to waive an except listed in FSIA ( Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act) that would have allowed prisoners of war to sue the Republic of Iraq. In this case we are going to examine my fellow colleagues political standing in order to get a better idea in how they will vote in this case. Looking at the fact that the majority of the current sitting justices are conservative; it is safe to say that the supreme court will uphold that the question is that of politics. I came to this conclusion based off the knowledge that a conservative stance on foreign policy contains a respect for history and prior decision. In this case when we look at the case laws you are able to see that the prior courts had a history of claiming a question of politics.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

One of the defining themes of our government is the separation of powers among the three branches of government. The Founders instituted the three branches of government because they did not want any one person or group of people to have final say on or control over how the country was run. After breaking away from Great Brittan they wanted a system that made sure that a government was always responsible to the people and was weak enough, meaning weak control over people freedoms and lives, to prevent tyranny. The three branch system was adopted so that all three branches would have to compete with each other to prevent any one branch from gaining more power than the other two. The system that our founders thought of must have been a good one because it has become a template for many other nations to adopt and although we may have political squabble our system clearly works.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

This case should be resolved to include Jerusalem as part of Israel because it is offensive to Israelis and Jews everywhere that their holy city of Jerusalem is not considered to be their own. The United States and the United Nations have accepted Israel as a sovereign nation but has yet to recognize Palestinian sovereignty. Both nations have claimed Jerusalem as their capital and the United States and United Nations have not taken an official stand on the issue to avoid causing a conflict. However it is a great injustice that world leaders consider a group that is lead by HAMAS to have the same claim to the city as Israel, a legitimate country. If Palestine is not officially a country then it is illogical that they should have a capital. On the other hand Israel is a country that has been accepted by the world and has should be ale to choose any city within their boarders as their capital that they choose without the world telling them they have no claim to that city. The court ruling in favor of M.B.Z. would be a great help to Israel because the President would be forced to recognize Israel’s capital as Jerusalem in his foreign policy.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

“ This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for

the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici  submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.”

Preliminary Statement: The legal counsel of the American Athiest Society respectfully submits this brief as amicus curiae in order to urge the court to consider the impact of the case Hosanna-Tabor Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The American Atheist Society is a non-violent organization that supports free thinking outside the common religion worships. We do not accuse or damn those who believe in such things; we just simply support our own ideas much like they support theirs. We are no more wrong than anyone else. In this current case presented before the honorable supreme court.
Essentially the organization I’m representing holds no bias for they are neither supportive of the EEOC or religious organizations; therefore they hold a more respectable word in the court. Essentially what will be addressed in the following brief is the impact of ruling the court could have depending on how it bases its decision.
In this case the Atheist Society  feels that ministerial exception is not applicable here, for the teacher in question had a real issue that any publicly funded school would be bonded to honor. So therefore this should not be ruled any different. Now if the teacher was leading the congregation or teaching kids on matters of faith than it would be a different story.
If the court so wishes to decide in favor of ministerial exception than they are making a grave mistake that will resonate throughout the future. Essentially the court will be opening a door for open abuse and discrimination among religion. This will lead to tense social conflict and gross misconduct that will go un-answered because of an out dated exception. We live in the 21st century where diversity and acception is stressed above all else. If individuals must conform to meet a churches wishes; then said church must conform to meet social public wishes.
In conclusion the American Atheist society urges to court to carefully consider the doors they may open if they don’t chose wisely. For the good of social norms; and less conflict in the future the court must restrict the constant abuse the church has enjoyed using for far too long.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The Supreme Court rules in the favor of the United States and President Bush in this case on the grounds that the President has the authority to make decisions regarding foreign policy; however the President cannot choose to enforce only certain parts of a law because line-item vetoes aren’t Constitutional.

This case originated from the 2002 law that required US citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel as their birthplace on their birth certificate. However President Bush who thought the Constitution stated that the office of President had the final say on foreign policy did not enforce this part of the law. The US District Court and the Court of Appeals both rejected this case because it deals with non-judicial political issues, the power over foreign policy is given to the Executive Branch and the Supreme Court cannot decide issues that involve other branches powers.

The court is ruling in favor of Clinton and the government because the case deals with a political question that the Supreme Court cannot decide. The only line in the Constitution that states that the President has foreign policy powers is the line states “[The President] shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers.” Over time this clause as been expanded to give the President control over foreign policy and the ability to recognize other nations. The Presidents power to recognize foreign nations in this case extends to his ability to decide if a city is officially recognized as part of a country. Marbury v. Madison set the precedent that the actions of the President are the responsibility of the Executive Branch and cannot be ruled on by the courts. Baker v. Carr also set precedent relating to this topic because the court ruled that issues that involve powers that are given to one branch while in all likelihood be flagged as involving a political question and thus dismissed from the court. The President’s actions also are not up to judgment by the Supreme Court, which showed through Goldwater v. Carter that the court couldn’t be used to end presidential actions. These three cases together set a precedent that we as the court feel clearly shows that we cannot decide this case because it involves a political question that is not within the realm that the court cannot answer.

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Amicus Brief: Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2da

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court should rule in favor of the Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, NJ in this case. I am a lawyer representing the OPSP (Organization to Promote Safety in Prison) and I believe that the court should represent the interests of my client because my client represents a large number of similar organizations across the country. The number one issue that needs to be addressed in prisons is safety. We cannot allow prisoners to walk into our facilities carrying weapons or containing infectious diseases. The best way to protect all of the prisoners against these things is to allow a blanket policy for prisons to strip search all inmates without worrying about individualized suspicions. Individualized suspicions are often difficult for the prison and can be quite unpredictable which makes it a lot easier for something to happen like the smuggling of a weapon. In a single strip search, officials can find concealed weapons, contraband and infectious disease. The truth is that these searches are only in place to keep the prisoners safe and could actually save the lives of many of them. This is the most effective way to ensure safety in our prisons and if the court decides to rule in favor of Mr. Florence, there will most likely be a rise in crime, injury and disease in them.

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Amicus Brief

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

“ This amicus brief is filed with the consent of the parties. Counsel for

the Petitioners and Respondents have granted blanket consent for the
filing of amicus briefs in these cases, in accordance with this Court’s Rule
37.3(a). Pursuant to Rule 37.6, the amici  submitting this brief and their
counsel hereby represent that no party to these cases nor their counsel
authored this brief in whole or in part, and that no person other than amici
and their counsel paid for or made a monetary contribution toward the
preparation and submission of this brief.”

Preliminary Statement: The legal counsel of the Public Citizen respectfully submits this brief as amicus curiae in order to urge the court to consider the impact of the case M.B.Z. v. Clinton.

As already stated the purpose of this brief is to urge the courts to consider the impact of the case they are currently about to review. It is important to note that the organization of Public Citizen is for the government and democracy. In this case we share an interest in this case because we want to make sure that democracy is protected in all aspects of the law. Not only in dealing with corporations but also if it is in ruling in checks and balances. We are seeking to make clear the impact at hand if you decide this case is not a political question.
The main question here really is; does the court even have the ability to hear this case? Or is it a case questioning the sole conclusive power of the president? In this case it is obvious to Public Citizen that this is a question of politics and should not be heard by the courts. They take such a strong stance on this for they feel if the case is heard and decided on, then this will set a precedent for future cases in which drastic changes can be made. The fear here is; what if a business starts asking questions of politics and starts winning cases because their case can now be heard based on broad generalizations? Now we are living in an America that is even more succumbed to big business.
The main impact that must be consider here is; are you able to say that since the ruling in Marbury v. Madison(1803) that for nearly two- hundred years are government has been wrong? That simply is not an option, it is clear that the president does have conclusive powers that may not be questions by our judicial system. It is simply not feasible to retract this statement and open up so many years worth of dismissed cases.
In conclusion as the legal counsel for Public Citizen I urge you to consider the imminent impact your crucial decision holds. If you allow obvious  questions of politics to be heard; then you are opening a flood gate that will drown America as we know it. No decisions will be made by any branch for a group will always be there to forever challenge. So once again I urge you don’t take your decision lightly and consider the very balance of our country is in your hands.

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Everyone (Doesn’t) Get Her Day in Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I believe that the Supreme Court considering other court cases that may be filed as a result of a ruling is a legitimate source of reasoning because regular circuit courts are there to rule on a single case but Supreme Court cases are to answer bigger questions and to set president for future cases. LaHue being given immunity not only prevent thousands of cases being filed against police officers; it also gave officers assurance that they could not be sued for doing their job. If the police had to worry about being sued for every case that they were a part of our justice system may not be as willing to prosecute because of legal repercussions. The Supreme Court may not always get justice for an individual because its job is not to solve the case purely for that individual but to give president for future cases. This is why the Supreme Courts citing of an increase of new cases is a legitimate way for them to decide cases.

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Historical Context

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

Obviously the main conflict in this case is based over the wording and interpretation of the constitution, specifically, the separation of powers. Which refers to the careful balance and division between three branches of government in which all three keep a check on each other to ensure that not one entity is stronger than the others. But why did the framers structure the government in such a way? What was it about their experiences with the British monarchy that would lead them to make such groundbreaking decisions consider the time-frame?
It is an interesting question to consider but overall it is a genuinely easy one to explain. Addressing the first question on why did the framers of our Constitution structure our government in this way the answer is simple; they wanted an equal distribution of powers to protect the people. If they had the legislative branch checking the executive (vetoing powers, impeachment powers), the executive branch checking the legislative and judicial branch (veto powers, appointment powers), and the judicial checking the legislative and executive branch (constitutionality) than in no single case can the government become more powerful in one area. So overall they did this because of their fear of a centralized powerful government body; which leads us into our next question. How did the their experiences with the British monarchy affect this?
Well overall it is the whole reason the framers sought out to create a balance. The framers felt that the monarchs ability to impose taxes and laws without the consent of the colonists took away from their basic rights as humans and subjects of the crown. The framers felt violated so when they went about creating their government they focused on making sure that their government would consider and need the people to maintain its power; while still being a tool of the people.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

On behalf of police officers I am writing to urge the Court to help protect police officers that are doing their job from civil law suits. Officers of the law are often required to do things that others may feel violate their rights, such as performing searches or making arrests, however they should be allowed a certain amount of immunity from things they do while performing their jobs. For example just because someone ends up being innocent doesn’t mean that the police did anything wrong in arresting them. Even if the officers make some type of arresting error they should not be prosecuted unless there was malicious intent because everyone makes an error on the job at some point and it shouldn’t be a crime if all police protocol was followed. Also allowing these cases against police officers by convicted criminals or pardoned suspects would clog our already strained legal system. Our already slow system can take years to serve justice in many cases. It would be a shame if cases brought before the courts by those who wish to see officers of the law were allowed to prevent more important cases from coming before a judge or grand jury.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court rules in favor of Rehberg because while officers of the law that are acting as witnesses qualify to receive qualified immunity not absolute immunity. This case arose from Rehberg being charged with assault, burglary and harassment with false testimony from Paulk and with information received under fake subpoena produced by Paulk and Hodges. The case against Rehberg was dropped due to lack of evidence; afterwards Rehberg filed a suit for the false charges that had been brought against him. Hodges and Paulk’s defense was that as government officials they should receive absolute immunity. The district court sided with Rehberg that complaining witnesses did not receive absolute immunity but the court of appeals reversed this decision siding with Paulk and Hodges. Rehberg then asked the Supreme Court to hear the case to resolve the different circuits’ different views on immunity and the court agreed to hear the case.

The ruling of Malley v. Briggs clearly ruled that officers of the law acting as complaining witnesses are only granted qualified immunity not the absolute immunity Paulk claims. Kalina v. Fletcher ruling agrees, stating that officers of the law who willingly submit false information are not protected by absolute immunity. Finally Van de Kamp v. Goldstien ruled that just because some is a prosecutor they are not given absolute immunity solely on those grounds. Together the precedent from these three cases leads the Court to rule in favor of Rehberg and to only give Paulk and Hodges qualified immunity.

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The Free Exercise Clause

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

I agree with the “ministerial exception” because the requirements that a church may impose on religious leaders are stricter then in a non-religious career and thus religious firings viewed through the secular lens of government may be viewed as discrimination. I will create a fictional church of characters to show an example of this. Pastor Jones is well-liked by his congregation and the church elders have no problems with his ministry until they find out that Pastor Jones is homosexual. While for most careers this would be no reason to fire someone and to fire them for this reason would be discrimination the church is different.  The Bible considers homosexuality a sin, and while no sin is worse than another having an openly gay pastor in a church would cause problems. How is a pastor to teach others to turn away from sin and follow God if it is openly known that he won’t turn from his sin of homosexuality? The church would be able to fire Pastor Jones and have no reason to fear repercussions because of the ministerial exception. Another reason that churches should be able to “discriminate” that they do discriminate while hiring. Obviously a church will only want to hire people who share their religious views and all others would be turned away. While hiring in the business sector is a shameful practice in a religious setting it is necessary to allow churches to hire those who will best help their faith.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-2fa

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

From 1999 to 2005 Cheryl Perich was an elementary school teacher at Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School. Perich herself taught “secular” subjects the school itself generally offers Christ centered-education. That involved religious services, classes. and prayer/ devotion time led by teachers. Cheryle Perich teaching status was of high standing with the school and church congregation. In 2004 Perich took a medical leave of absence from her employment with the school when was diagnosed with narcolepsy. Perich was assured by medical professionals that after proper treat meant she could return to teaching. The principal of the school also reassured her that her job was safe after her disability leave. Towards the end of Perich’s leave the school board became concerned that her disability would interfere with her overall ability to take care of her students; these concerns were also voiced to the congregation. The congregation voted to offer Perich an agreement in which she could resign for partial payment of her health care fees. Perich rejected the offer and informed her employers of her plan to return back to work. On February 22, 2005, Perich returned to take back her teaching duties where she was informed that there was no longer a position available for her at the school. Perich retained a lawyer from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Claiming discrimination and a violation under the Americans with Disability Act. When her former school employer was informed of Perich’s complaint she officially terminated. At that point Perich filed the suit against Hosanna-Tabor for unlawful discrimination of her ability.

The question here is does ministerial exception allow the church to discriminate teachers based on disability? On the district court level the courts held that courts are able to select their religious leaders under the first amendment. Therefore the church was able to fire her in light of being able to decide who leads their congregation. The court of appeals decided that Perich’s overall involvement in secular duties, a.k.a., non religious teachings, exempted her from the ministerial exception. However the court ruled that other appellate courts use different standards when deciding what officials fall in this exception. Therefore the appeals court recommended that the Supreme Court must make a ruling to make a decision on the split between courts.

As a justice of the supreme court there are many things I must consider when deciding where I will chose to stand with this case. The most important being what earlier case laws have set prior precedents for a case such as this.

The first case law I would like to comment on would be Christian Legal Society, Hastings Coll. of Law v. Martinez (2008). In this case Hastings College made a school wide policy that required student interest groups to accept all organizations. The Christian Legal Society argued that this policy infringed on their first amendment right of free exercise of religion. The court ruled that because it applied to all groups it didn’t inhibit any one groups free exercise of religion.

In a second case law of Employment Division v. Smith(1990), several Native Americans had been terminated from their jobs for smoking an illegal drug in the state of Oregon during a religious ceremony. The court ruled that simply because you have a religion it does not allow you to disobey the law of the nation. The court stated that the state has the right to regulate any and all drug use.

    The last case law I would like to touch on is Madeline Weishuhn v St. Mary’s Elementary School. In which the courts upheld ministerial exception; but questioned if it was viable to fire employees without any reasoning. In this instance we saw the same question asked, but it was unable to be answered by anything less than the supreme court.

After looking at the above case laws in most cases the court votes in favor of religion and I see this for many reasons. That being that the division of religion and government is almost untouchable except in certain cases of gross misconduct. Meaning that in many cases the courts can not touch religion because of the first amendment and fear of infringing on the freedoms of the people. Therefore after looking at the above case laws, and knowing that the majority of the current supreme court bench is conservative; one may predict that the supreme court will uphold that anyone working for a religious institution is subject to the ministerial exception.

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Friend of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

 

I am expressing the views of religious schools across the country when I say that the ministerial exception should be upheld in the case of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC. If this case is resolved in the favor of the EEOC then all religious schools will have to fear discrimination cases in the future. The government has no place telling churches how their schools should be run. Opening them up to discrimination cases would require laws of what constitutes discrimination in the church thus allowing government to regulate religion which is a breach of First Amendment rights.  Thus the only way that this case can be resolved to ensure that churches and religious schools are protected is to rule in favor of Hosanna-Tabor.  While the criteria of what makes a good teacher is hard to judge it is even harder to judge what makes a person a good religious teacher. This is why religious schools should be protected from discrimination because the reasons that someone is hired or fired for religious reasons may not always fit into rational that would be commonly excepted by the public and would lead to a discrimination case in another career. I conclude that a Hosanna-Tabor ruling is the only rational response to this case that ensures or churches freedoms in the future.

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Write the Opinion

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-331

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

The court rules in the favor of Hosanna-Tabor because even if a teacher teaches a secular subject they have still been chosen to teach based on religious background and are expected to have religion in their class, thus putting them under the ministerial exception.

This case arose from the 2005 termination of Cheryl Perich’s teaching position at Hosanna-Tabor. Perich was on disability when she was removed from her position after being told she would still be able to teach when she returned.  Perich brought her case before a district court that ruled that her case fell under the “ministerial exception”, which allows churches immunity from discrimination related cases. The US Court of Appeals reversed this decision saying that because Perich taught a subject that wasn’t religious, math, she doesn’t fall under the ministerial exception.  The church then appealed that case to the Supreme Court and a writ of certiorari was issued.

The Court rules in favor of the Hosanna-Tabor church on the grounds that Perich’s suit falls under the ministerial exception. The First Amendment gives the right of freedom of religion and this has become accepted to mean the separation of church and state, which means the court, should not rule on religious issues.   Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Milivojevich ruled that a church employee fired by the highest level of the church could not sue because that would be a direct interference by the government into the church. Perich was fired by a majority vote of the congregation which is the ruling body of the church, meaning that Milivojevich’s precedent applies to the case. Briscoe v. LaHue also sets the precedent that the court can use the threat of many new cases overloading the court system as a legitimate factor in deciding a case. If this case’s ruling goes the other way there would be many new cases involving religious employees suing former employers.

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Opinion of the Court

Written by ap-government-fall-2011-b6

School: Central York High School
Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

In Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey, Albert Florence arrested and jailed because there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Florence was believed to not have paid a routine fine and he was jailed even after he provided proof that the fine was paid. At the jail, Florence was subjected to a strip and visual-body cavity search that is conducted on all inmates. He then had to shower with a correctional officer watching. Six days later, Florence was transferred to a local correctional facility where he was, again, strip searched and visual body-cavity searched simultaneously with four other inmates. These searches are part of a blanket policy for all inmates. Florence was released and all charges against him were dropped the next day.

Florence filed suit against the jail (managed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Burlington County) on grounds that the strip searches he was subjected to, even if it was a part of a blanket policy, was violating the right of being protected from “unreasonable searches and seizures” given to him by the Fourth Amendment. The District Court agreed with him so Burlington County appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals disagreed with the District Court, saying that the blanket policy for strip-searching inmates fairly balanced the interests of the individual and of the jail. Thus, Florence appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, like the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, upholds that the strip search policy does not violate Mr. Florence’s Fourth Amendment rights. Similarly, the decision was heavily based on a past ruling from Bell v. Wolfish in 1979. In that case, strip searches were deemed to be Constitutional as long as the intention is for “safeguarding institutional security.” Reasonable suspicion was not determined to not be required as well. The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals agrees that the blanket policy at the Burlington County prison was the best way to ensure the safety of the staff and inmates. Also, Hudson v. Palmer held that being in a correctional facility meant the loss of some personal rights in order to sustain institutional security.

In 2004’s Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District, it was held that a minor intrusion (requiring a person identify themselves) was Constitutional if there were suspicious circumstances. The same reasoning could be applied to Florence due to the outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Finally, in 2008 Powell v. Barrett, a case very similar to this one, held that the blanket policy for strip-searching was Constitutional as long as the need for a blanket policy was justified. With such a similar case in recent years, the decision for Florence v. Board of Freeholders of Burlington County, New Jersey was heavily based off of the recent precedence set as well.

The decision to rule in favor of the Board will give security interests priority over personal privacy, while ruling in favor of Florence will have the reverse effect. The rights of detainees and prison policies will be impacted as a result of this case.

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Harlan Institute Feedback: Well done.