Archive for the ‘Bill of Rights’ Category

Real World Graduation, Question 52: Your Rights

RealWorldGraduation_Question_52_Your_Rights   <– PDF

A certain man was a successful politician for many years. He gradually rose through the ranks from a city council member to state Representative to state Senator to federal Congressman to federal Senator.  In all those years, he was a consistent advocate for gun control, including various proposals to ban all guns and ammunition held by private persons.  He himself always lived in places with strict gun control, but he also was always in violation of the existing gun laws: he owned many guns that were banned, he failed to register guns he owned, and he bought and sold guns without the legal reporting requirements.  He was called upon to serve as an under-Secretary of a cabinet-level department by the new presidential administration.  As part of the vetting process, he was asked if he had ever violated any gun laws.  He lied about his guns, and the administration believed him, since he had a “perfect” voting record promoting and enacting gun control.  But once he was confirmed by the Senate, it came to light that he had in fact owned many guns, some of them illegally, and had committed numerous violations of the existing gun laws (some of which he had helped to pass at the state and federal level).  What will happen next?

a) He will be fired by the President.

b) He will resign in disgrace.

c) He will be investigated by the federal authorities.

d) He will be indicted by state and local authorities.

e) Either a) or b), followed by either c) or d).

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, government powers, gun control, habeas corpus, progressive, Real World Graduation, Second Amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 39

RealWorldGraduation_Question_39   <– PDF

Media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television are important sources of news and information to the voters. Because the success of a democratic republic requires voters to be well-informed, it is important for the media to report on issues in a truthful manner.  The First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”.   This means that the government is bound in principle, and the officers of the government are bound by oath, to recognize the pre-existing right of the media to be immune to governmental interference; that is, the media themselves are free to develop their own standards for accuracy in their reporting.  Because there is no formal system or standardization imposed by the government, what standard have the media imposed on themselves?  This question does not apply to the internet.

a) Media outlets are prohibited from reporting facts, even in news stories.

b) Media outlets are prohibited from expressing any opinions or biases by reporters, management, or editors. The only opinions that are allowed are those of readers in “Letters to the Editor” or by viewer emails in the case of radio and television.

c) When reporting “news”, the media reports only the facts. The media outlet may be biased in their opinions, but those opinions are reserved solely to portions of articles or broadcast segments clearly labeled as “Opinion” or “Editorial”.

d) Opinions of reporters and editors reflecting their personal biases are allowed within news stories, but are segregated in their own section, and clearly labeled as “opinion”.

e) Although the exact practice varies from state to state, and from market to market, nearly every media outlet has adopted either c) or d) as an informal standard.

(The answer is on p. 2 of the pdf.)

Tags: , ,
Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, First Amendment, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 29

RealWorldGraduation_Question_29   <– PDF

Article 2, Section 1 of the U. S. Constitution requires the President to take the following oath of office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

An integral part of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution is preserving the rights of the people. The rights of individuals specifically called out in the Constitution and its first ten amendments are:

1) Habeas corpus (right to challenge detainment)

2) Freedom of speech

3) Freedom of the press

4) Freedom of religion

5) Freedom to keep and bear arms

6) Freedom from bearing the expense of quartering soldiers

7) Freedom from arbitrary search and seizure (searches require warrants signed by a judge, with testimony under oath by the officials seeking the warrant)

8) Federal indictment only by grand jury

9) No double jeopardy (a person can only be tried once for the same crime)

10) Immunity from self-incrimination

11) Due process of law

12) Compensation for property allocated for public use

13) Speedy and public trial

14) Cross-examination of witnesses in criminal trials

15) Counsel for defense in criminal trials

16) Trial by jury

17) Facts found by a jury not reviewable by a court

18) Prohibition of excessive bail

19) Prohibition of excessive fines

20) Prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments.

Also, rights not specifically mentioned are reserved to the people (individuals) or to the states. Based on your understanding of American history, which three would you rate as the worst Presidents with regard to preserving the rights of the people?  The letter after their name indicates their part affiliation (F refers to Federalist, R indicates Republican, N indicates None, D indicates Democrat, D-R indicates Democrat-Republican, which later became the Democratic Party in the 1820’s).

a) Alexander Hamilton (F), Aaron Burr (F), and Benjamin Franklin (F)

b) Richard M. Nixon (R), Gerald R. Ford (R), and George Washington (N)

c) George H. W. Bush (41) (R), James E. Carter (D), and Thomas Jefferson (D-R)

d) Walter Mondale (D), Barry Goldwater (R), and Alf Landon (R)

e) Three among those listed in groups b) and c)

(The answer is on p. 2 of the PDF.)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Benjamin Franklin, Bill of Rights, critical thinking, fifth amendment, First Amendment, fourth amendment, government powers, habeas corpus, Real World Graduation, Second Amendment, sixth amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 21

RealWorldGraduation_Question_21   <– PDF

The Mayor and City Council of a certain city desired to raise the amount of tax revenue received by the city. They made a secret arrangement with a mall developer as follows:

  1. The city would designate a certain district of the city, consisting of 150 homes and a few small businesses as suitable for development. This district was selected because most of the homes are more than 30 years old, and it has excellent access to major freeways.
  2. With the area so designated, the city would send notices to each homeowner and business owner that they had 90 days to move out of their homes, and the land turned over to the developer.
  3. In order to save taxpayers money, the city would offer 85% of the current appraised values of the homes and businesses as compensation. On average, the homes in the affected district are appraised at $130,000.
  4. The total amount paid to the homeowners by the city as compensation would be repaid by the developer. He would be allowed to collect an additional 2% surcharge sales tax on everything sold by stores in the mall. That way, the city would be repaid the amount given to the original homeowners, and also collect all the usual sales taxes.
  5. The Mayor, City Council, and their respective staff members were to do all of the foregoing without any public hearings or notices until the formal designation letters were mailed to each affected resident.

The Constitution of the state in which this was to occur contains a “takings” clause, in which people are to be compensated for any seizure of property devoted to public use (i.e., the same as the U. S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment). If this plan were enacted, which of the activities contained in the secret plan would violate both Constitutions?

a) A government entity entering into a secret financial agreement with a private entity.

b) Seizing property from a group of private owners and giving it to another private owner for the benefit of the new private owner (as well as the city).

c) Arbitrary designation of a certain district for unusual treatment simply because of the age of the homes and their location.

d) Forcing each homeowner to take a $19,500 loss on their property, since they will be paid only $110,500 for homes that were appraised on average for $130,000.

e) All of the above.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, fifth amendment, government powers, living constitution, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »