Alright, let’s pretend like I’m not a full week behind now (that’s basically my approach ATM), and start things off by reflecting on how the election is tomorrow (from the posting of this entry). With a bitter election campaign coming to an end, wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice pallet cleanser in the form of some great student blogs? What luck, I’ve got some of those right here!
Before I move on to the blogs, though, just a reminder: if you are registered to vote, please do so. If you are not, look into whether your state allows same-day registration, and if not, register now so you are ready for the next election. If you don’t know where to vote, look it up. I don’t know about all of you, but Google is all over my phone and computer trying to tell me that they can tell me where to vote. If that’s not true for you as well, you can always check this out, as it will, in a NSFW way, tell you where your polling station is: http://tinyurl.com/2afpt9b. Now, on to the blogs.
Well, it was inevitable that we would not completely escape the election in the posts for this week. Josh, in his post, seeks to offer us a moment of calm and reason not to panic with the election impending. He explains that the separation of powers inherent in our system prevent any one person from doing too much or completely destroying the system. He acknowledges that whoever wins will have a lot of power, but that this power is not absolute and that the rest of the government stands there to try to check whomever the next president might be. This is a useful reminder so close to Election Day.
While not election themed, Tom, like Josh, also discusses the separation of powers. Tom discusses his blog’s main theme, the separation of powers, in terms of our course, as well as the government more generally. Tom reflects on how incredibly important the system of separation of powers, and all of the ways these powers are not quite so separated, are for understanding how our system functions. As he indicates, we have spent a large portion of our time thus far in class spelling out the contours of this system, and how the Court is involved in maintaining the balance of power among the various branches.
Grace’s post, while not about this election, does address presidential powers regarding something that has been a hot topic this election. Grace addresses immigration reform in her post this week. She offers a brief overview of how immigration policy, and powers over immigration, are largely absent or unaddressed in the Constitution. From here she addresses the various actions President Obama has taken to try to address immigration policy. She also talks about how Congress has acted to limit the President’s efforts, and how the Court has also gotten involved.
Given the discussion around gender issues, and individual rights, throughout the campaigns for this election, we have a trio of post touching on an important issue that was mostly ignored as part of the discussion on gender. Specifically, Taylor, Elise, and Selma O. all discuss transgender rights the case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., which the Court recently accepted for review. All three of these posts are fantastic and deserve to be read, as each offers a unique take on this case and the issue of transgender rights. I’ll do my best to summarize all three here.
Taylor’s post this week focuses on the Court’s upcoming case regarding Gavin Grimm, specifically, and laws trying to limit where transgender people may use the bathroom (and which one). As Taylor indicates, there is a lot residing on this case, and these issues are far more important than the much ago about nothing (according, once again, to the FBI) regarding Clinton’s emails. Elise also addresses the Court’s accepting Gavin Grimm’s case for review. Elise relates her connections to this case, and explains why this case is important. From here she relates the long fight for rights that many groups have had to endure and how each win brings us closer to fulfilling Jefferson’s promise in the Declaration of Independence, with her hoping that we are moving closer once again to fulfilling that promise. Selma O. also discusses the issue of transgender rights and access to bathrooms. She discusses Gavin Grimm’s case, as well as Title IX and the background to the case. Selma makes a powerful argument for why the Court needs to protect Gavin’s, and all transgender people’s rights, going so far as to remind everyone that transgender rights are human rights.
As gender has been a big issue in the current election cycle, so has race. One of the potential issues around race and the law that is likely to be an issue for the next president is affirmative action. Erin, in her post, discusses a recent bake sale held by the Young Conservatives on the University of Texas at Austin campus. The bake sale was an “affirmative action” bake sale where the group charged people of different races and genders different amounts for cookies. While the specific message they meant to convey is unclear, Erin’s post focuses on the clear response from the group: we’ll sue you [the school] if you take any action against us for our speech. Erin relates this action, and the response, to actual affirmative action policies and explains the damage that stunts like this can cause for actual, meaningful affirmative action policies.
Finally, Ben’s post discusses the 2011 case Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association. This case pertained to a California law banning the sale of violent video games to persons under the age of 18. The Court, as Ben explained, ultimately overturned the law as a violation of the freedom of speech. Ben discusses what the case means, and why he thinks the Court reached the right conclusion. This one is less clearly tied to specific election issues, but Scalia’s seat is still open on the Court, and he wrote the majority opinion in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, so not even videogames can offer us a complete escape from this election.
Stay strong, all, the end of the campaign (hopefully…) is near.