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School: Central York High School

Class: AP Government Fall 2011
Grade: 12th

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

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

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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Discrimination & Religious Employees: 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

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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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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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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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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