As I am now a full week behind on my round-ups, let’s just pretend for a moment that the person we all individually voted for has not yet won/lost the election for president/senator/representative/other, because that’s when these posts were submitted. That blissful moment before the stuff happened. This is good because, personally, I’m still trying to process the election. As a political scientist, as a law scholar, as a political theorist, as human rights scholar, as a voter, as a citizen, and as a parent, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what the election results mean. But, for now, we’ll jump in the wayback and (temporarily) pretend like it didn’t happen.
Amanda, in her post, addresses the separation of powers as it has played out in the Court over time. She discusses how Marshall, with Marbury v. Madison helped to solidify the Court as a coequal branch. However, as she explains, the Court’s role as a separate branch was not always met favorably, most notably seen in the Court’s conflicts with FDR over the New Deal.
Ben discusses the case Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (2007). The case involves a challenge from Massachusetts and 11 other states forcing the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as part of the EPA’s role in addressing climate change. Ben explains the case, and the Court’s finding. He also discusses how odd it is that just nine years ago the Court had to rule on, in part, whether carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that the EPA needs to regulate as a means of addressing global climate change.
While these first two posts do not address the pre-election times, the rest, unsurprisingly, do address some aspect of the then-almost-there election. In honor of the impending election [see, it hasn’t happened], Tom focuses in his post on his blog’s central theme—separation of powers and checks and balances that we have—in the context of their origin. Specifically, he discusses how our revolution eventually lead to the specifics of the system that we have. Tom links the system that we have to the specifics of the system that the colonists rejected in the revolution.
Elise’s post is about the electoral college. She discusses its origins, as well as some of the changes it has gone through since the Constitution was ratified. She discusses the less-than-democratic origins of this institution that is still hanging around in our constitution and in practice.
Selma O., in her post, takes on attempts at voter suppression in the face of the then-impending election. She focuses primarily on the Supreme Court’s reversal of a 9th Circuit ruling that blocked an Arizona law that prevented ballot collection. Selma explains what ballot collection is, as well as the impact on voting rights of this decision. She goes on to discuss voting rights more broadly and why voting should be encouraged rather than discouraged.
Taylor’s post this week discusses a ballot initiative [again, see, initiative, it hasn’t happened yet] in California to not only increase the taxes on cigarettes, but to also start taxing electronic cigarettes. Taylor discusses the initiative, all of the terrible things we know that are associated with smoking, as well as discusses e-cigs and potential problems with them. As she acknowledges, it is too early to say for certain, but there is reason to doubt that they are completely safe. Also, if you are a part of the UC community, or just think colleges and/or public spaces should be smoke free, you can do something about that here.