Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lectures, Laws, and Leisure

My day today started off pretty early. I woke up at 6:00 AM in order quickly finished the remainder of my reading and notes. After I finished, I decided to once again skip breakfast and instead get a head start on next set of assignments.   

The morning class was led by Luke. Luke started off the class with yet another class discussion topic; "What are the differences between vagueness, ambiguity, abstractness, and absurdity?" After much debate, class eventually settled on the following definitions;  we defined vagueness as an unclear meaning, ambiguity as the presence of multiple clear meanings that vary with the given situation, abstractness as an idea without an definite meaning, and finally, absurdity as a concept that is too ridiculous to be considered feasible.  We then went onto use these definitions to categorize the clarity of various concepts that appear in the Constitution, such as due, reasonable, equal, and freedom.  

After our discussion, we went over last night's homework.  The case we covered mainly centered around issues concerning the separations of powers between the court system and the Executive Branch. The cases we went over were Clinton v. Jones, Exparte Milligan, and Youngstown & Tube Co v. Sawyer. The remainder of the class mainly focused on the reasoning behind legal issues concerning each of the cases. Soon, class was over and it was time for lunch.  

Like yesterday and the day before, I spent lunch with Aurea, Rowland, Morvarid, and Adrianne. Not too long after meeting up, however, Morvarid had left our group to attend a seminar on how to write a personal statement for a college application. Although I initially decided not to attend, I now regret that decision as now I feel as though I’ve missed out on a lot of useful information. This is why I’ve now decided to spend my daily lunch hour participating in productive on-campus activities, rather than just hanging out and eating. After making this decision, I was overcome with the need to do something productive. Our group quickly disbanded, and I was left to study in my dorm room until class resumed.

Jeffery was the one to lead today’s afternoon session. The lecture covered four main topics—how a bill became a law, how the separation of powers fundamentally works, and the structure of our court system. The last topic, which was in my opinion the most interesting, was the factors that interpreters use to decipher the meaning behind the Constitution. The main factors used include the text’s structure, the apparent intention of the framers, prior precedence, natural law, as well as any past or present social, political, or economical contexts.

We then went over some the most common interpretation methods of the Constitution. First we went over texturalism (also known as Strict Constructionism), which focuses solely on the written language of the Constitution and disregards and inferences. Next was originalism, wish is the usage of both the text and the framers’ original intent. Finally, there’s developmentalism (also known as Hypothetical Intent) which relies on the morals of the present day.

It was soon time for dismissal and time for our daily meeting with Mrs. L. This time, we mainly talked about our upcoming ILC events, as well as the importance of participating in both on- and off- campus activities.
For dinner, I had a light dinner of curry and rice. Not because I wasn’t feeling very hungry, but because I had plans to go out on an RA dinner with Adrianne to a local restaurant called Mel’s Diner. While waiting I met Christine, a rising senior who also happens to be from the Bay Area! The three of us decide to pass the time waiting by talking about school.

After about an half an hour of waiting for the RA to show up, we realized something—the group had left us behind! We tried running after the group, but to no avail. And so, we ended up walking to the diner ourselves and meeting with the rest of the group inside the restaurant.

I ended up going back to the dorms earlier than the others in order to study. However, when I returned home my room key wouldn’t allow me into my room, forcing me to study outside. Arguably, this was actually better—being locked out kept me away from any possible distractions!  

I think that today was a fairly good day, and that I’ve a lot of progress in class since the first day. The only thing I think I need to work on now are my extracurricular activities, I feel as though I need to branch out more and try new things. Starting tomorrow, I plan to do just that! 

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