Thursday, June 28, 2012

Constitutional Jeopardy

Anybody reading these blogs probably already knows that I get up around 8:45 AM, go to breakfast, and then go to class at 10 AM. I continue to use these opportunities to meet new people, and, on a similar note, I am amazed at the number of international students attending this High School program. Off of the top of my head, I can think of students I have met from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Russia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, and Japan. It's been fantastic meeting kids from all sorts of places around the world, as I've been able to ask them questions like what they think of America, how diverse their home countries are and other questions about cultures I've never had the chance to experience. To give an example, the kid from Brazil in my Constitutional Law class is appaled by how lengthy the process to pass bills takes, particularly the filibuster procedure.
Anyway, in my first class we had more theoretical discussion about the Constitution, like the previous days, before going into the Supreme Court cases. We discussed the fascinating sequence of events involving the Watergate scandal, and, more importantly, the ensuing case of United States v. Nixon. We also discussed the cases of Missouri v. Holland, Clinton v. New York and Gibbons v. Ogden.
I was very upset that I had to miss the video and discussion during lunch on economic inequality; I made the decision to study for my afternoon quiz instead. Thankfully, it ended up paying off; I did well on the quiz, and I feel my studying made a huge difference. After the quiz, we played Constitutional Jeopardy (Jeopardy with categories such as "Interpretation" and "Checks and Balances"), which I actually had a lot of success in. I'm not saying this to brag, but because this is a blog where I am supposed to tell of my experiences, I answered correctly 4 out of a possible 9 questions while competing against 4 other people who had an equal chance to answer those 9 questions.
The class playing Constitutional Jeopardy. I didn't notice until I uploaded the photo just now, but if you have good eyes, you
can see the #9 jersey of Italy's Mario Balotelli on the laptop screen in the bottom left corner of the photo. The kids obviously
were participating too, as you can't have success in this class without paying attention, but I thought this was sort of funny.
After class, we met for our usual cohort meeting, and discussed, among other things, some of our plans for the next few weeks. One of the Resident Assistants will be taking kids to a Phillies-Mets game next week, which I was really excited for, until I saw it was $80. If $80 was the only way to go, I would probably choose to go simply because it's very rarely that you get to see a baseball game out of town. On the other hand, I did my research (I ALWAYS do my research) and found that the Mets sell tickets to students for only $10. I would normally buy those the instant I saw them, however, I am in a bit of an awkward situation due to the fact that I am one of the few people at this High School program who are this money-conscious, and as a result, trying to convince someone to choose $10 seats doesn't hold the same advantages to others as they hold to me. Like I said, if I do have to spend $80, I am ok with that and am perfectly willing to do it, however, I don't think that is the case. I know that as soon as I read this, my parents will tell me to go, but before they get worried, I WILL go to a baseball game, no matter what happens. I am just debating whether to go with the RA group for $80, or to convince others to choose a cheaper alternative. We'll see. On this note, that is another thing I have been able to experience here. Coming from a school district where the majority of students come from low-income families, it has been a completely different experience living with kids who, for the most part, come from a bit more affluent backgrounds. Before anyone gets the idea that I am making a sweeping statement about every student at the program, let me make very clear that this only applies to the students I have met, all of whom are very good kids. I can't say that I enjoy one experience more than the other; it has just been different for me, coming from groups who think just like me and now, living with a group of kids who generally are not as financially concerned as most of the people I know back home. I can say, though, that while the setting has changed, I have not changed one bit; I have been introduced as "one of the thriftiest kids you'll ever meet," and while I do not mind this at all, it is a bit strange for me because, where I come from, there are plenty of kids just like me! It is all part of the experience though.
I WILL go here before I leave New York.
Also, I almost forgot to mention today's historic Supreme Court case! While I was thrilled about the decision, I'll admit that I had expected the individual mandate to be struck down. I was very surprised to learn that Chief Justice Roberts, who in his past has sided with conservatives much more often, ruled in favor of upholding the act. It is fantastic to see, though, that a Supreme Court justice is willing to put his/her political beliefs aside for what they believe to be the correct decision ACCORDING TO THE LAW. I put in this in capitals just because, as we have discussed in class, many judges often let their moral and political beliefs hold more power than the actual constitutionality of what it is they are deciding. While I applaud Chief Justice Roberts for voting with the Liberals on this case, I would expect every Liberal to do the same and vote with the Conservatives if it meant ruling by the supreme law of the Constitution.

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