Together we will explore four central themes this semester. First, we will examine the foundations
of law and government—what makes up our democratic system, how are laws made, and what
relationships exist between citizens and government. Second, we will study the diverse and rich
civil rights movements of the U.S. to learn from the legal tactics different communities have used to change the law to better serve its citizens. Third, we will examine our criminal justice system with a critical lens. From the “War on Drugs” to the “War on Terror,” students will learn how to identify racial bias within themselves and the law, and ultimately analyze structural changes proposed for the American legal system.
Lastly, students will take what they’ve learned in the first three themes to develop an understanding of present day social justice movements to recognize how law and democracy impact every citizen’s (your) life. On a weekly basis, the class will address these concepts and questions through lectures, short films, group discussion (debates), and readings. Students will be challenged to become critical thinkers, develop strong legal arguments, and become familiar with legal writing. By the end of the course, students should be able to communicate what they’ve learned in their own words to others and promote an increased awareness of the law. In this way, we can help foster a more accessible justice system.
War on Drugs War on Terror
Racism Sexism Homophobia
Democracy Personal & Political Agency
Criminal Justice Juvenile Justice
Community Based Perspectives on Public Safety
Youth Led Community Based Research
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2/3/2016 10:08:28 pm
Money plays a huge role in law creation. Money allows corporations to have the utilities, like ads and fancy campaigns, to influence the people in voting for who will benefit them most. The role of money has a very negative effect on our democracy because it limits and even excludes what the people's desires are. For example, people fight for health, good jobs, and a good government. The people’s desires have been ignored for years since the involvement of corporations.It harms our democracy because we actually turn into an oligarchy , a government in which politicians don’t seem to care and help get what the people want because of money being spent. It’s evident that the U.S isn’t a democracy any more because we aren’t the ones influencing our political system. The aspect that the government is basically ruled by big corporations make the people have less access to create change in the political process because these wealthy corporations control our politicians. This relates to money having control on law creation because of lobbying. Lobbying allows people from companies to meet senators or other members. It runs our national government and harms us economically. We the people have the right to enact change by presenting and bills than can become laws. We have the rights to present a new and reversible amendment to prevent corporations from having the right to invest money on politics. In other words, presenting a law that will not allow corporations to have influence on getting lawmakers elected. Princeton researchers confirmed the disadvantage we have that the people have near-zero impact on public policy. It’s clear that the government isn’t as high in power because of corporations.
2/3/2016 10:30:21 pm
Money plays a huge role in law creation because corporations who have tons of money spend that money on telling the citizens who to vote for. Corporations can spend unlimited money in elections. This is harmful to our democracy because the corporations have too much power. Corporations also have too much influence and more than half of the citizens think that. Not only that but democracy is supposed to be ruled by the people not by corporations.
2/3/2016 11:44:40 pm
Power is usually funded by money from the people to the big corporations to spend and make it go against the people. It is harming our democracy because the people really just give power but they don’t get nothing in return. Money is usually spent by those big corporations and they take advantage of their wealth to manipulate the people through the media. People’s ideals are crushed down into rubble by the corporations who oppose them and make it so that they get what they want.
2/3/2016 11:58:16 pm
Money is a major key in the way that laws are created For example, with all the money that corporations have they are able to purchase different ways of advertisement making them look like the bigger person in the eye of the bottom 99%. This is harmful to our democracy because the more power that the corporations have the richer the 1% gets meaning that the lower 99% have less of a voice due to their lack of funding. The aspect that the country is ruled by the big corporations makes the citizens feel like they aren't apart of the decision making that happens in their country. An example is our right to vote. By voting, we are letting the government know what we want and what is going to work best for us. However, if big corporations are basically rigging the elections, they are stripping us of our right to vote making us appear voiceless. A benefit I like about our current political system is the fact that we have the right to a peaceful protest and to express ourselves freely. Protests have been seen more in the media now because citizens are tired of staying quiet about the injustice in their communities. This also relates to our freedom of speech because we are spreading our own beliefs and concerns to the public. However a disadvantage to our freedom of speech is that our words can be interpreted differently by different crowds. For example, if Donald Trump goes to the Southern states and preaches his homophobic or racist ideologies to the people in the south he would most likely be perceived as a strong leader who has the answers to making America "great" again. However, let's say that I preach the same ideologies that Trump said in the South in California (a completely different environment) I would come off as a racist and would probably be hated all throughout the state. All in all, our voice is a very powerful tool that can't be taken away or silenced by the top 1%.
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