ESSAY #1: “Injustice” –
Find a case (preferably one decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, or a state’s highest court) where the judge knowingly issued a legal ruling that produced an unjust result. (This is distinct from a situation in which an injustice results because the “jury got it wrong” – the focus on this assignment is when the judge knowingly applies a law that the judge likely realizes will produce an unjust result in the case at hand.) These are typically cases where the court’s/judge’s hands are tied by existing laws. Two common examples of this are: (1) when the underlying law that the court is applying, as worded, simply demands the unjust result, and the fault for the injustice then arguably lies with the legislation/legislature (who perhaps failed to consider the scenario at hand); or (2) when a court has to invariably recognize and preserve an inalienable right, even at the expense of administering a blatant injustice in the case at hand. Some examples of this latter category would include a criminal case in which the defendant might otherwise have been largely “proven” to have committed the crime, but escapes responsibility/conviction on a so-called technicality (e.g., based on a Constitutional right).
Identify the case, summarize its relevant facts, the legal questions at issue before the court, the relevant sources of law cited/used, and the court’s decision and reasoning (which should include the court’s explanation of why it decides for what it may realize to be an injustice in that particular instance).
ESSAY #2: “Tomorrow’s challenges” –
Find a topical/dynamic subject, perhaps of particular personal interest or from news headlines, on a technological or other frontier, where one might be led to ask questions about whether existing laws might adequately address these evolving technologies or conditions. Some examples might include: “self-driving” Google cars, new environmental changes/challenges, virtual-reality technological developments on the horizon, genetic planning, space exploration and its implications, and the use of civilian drones/cameras. These are just a few examples. Take any such subject, and ask critical questions about how, as a society, we might want to address previously unforeseen issues, and explore possible new legislation to address them. You do not need to do legal research on these topics (though you are certainly welcome to). The point of this exercise is not to accurately evaluate whether existing laws are sufficient to tackle these evolving circumstances, but rather it is to raise questions about the subject, and to use your imagination to think creatively, hypothetically, and critically about what new legal challenges/conflicts these developments could present.
Your discussion should be one page, single-spaced, and should include: (1) a brief discussion of the technology/frontier subject you have chosen; (2) anything you might know/speculate about how/whether existing laws might generally apply to the situation (no need to do research here); and, most importantly, (3) raise questions about whether existing laws might not adequately address areas of concern, and make any suggestions about factors that legislators should evaluate when considering new legislation.
You may also use/reference/cite articles as a source for ideas if you would like to.
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