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School: Central York High School

Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

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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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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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 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-2011-181

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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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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