Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Now That's Just Lawful

Despite not having class until 10:00 AM, I woke up fairly early this morning. I spent the majority of my early  talking about last night's homework with my roommate and fellow Constitutional Law student, Lizzy. About half and hour later, we walked to class together.

Once again, Jeffery was our teacher of the morning. Class mainly focused reviewing and discussing last night's homework, which included cases and legal documents such as Federalist 10 and 51 and Ex Parte McCardle. While adjusting to Jeffery's fast paced teaching style was somewhat difficult, I was eventually able to do so and after two hours of note taking, class was dismissed for the morning. 

Instead of spending lunch studying alone, I decided to spend it with Adrianne, Aurea, Morvarid, and Morvarid's friends Joyce, Demi, and Rowland. While enjoying lunch, the girls and I (Rowland's an honorary girl!), decided that there were a few things that we had to do before we had to go back home, which included shopping and Times Square and watching a Broadway show. By the end of lunch, we decided to go shopping this Saturday and we narrowed down the Broadway show choices to the Wars Horse or Wicked. 

For our second session of class, it was Luke teaching us instead of Jeffery. Luke started the class of with a simple question--"What is interpretation?" When Luke announced our discussion topic, I was really excited to hear what my classmates had to say. As I said before, one of the reasons I'm so interested in constitutional law is to expose myself to different opinions and ideas. Being able to hear everyone's opinion so early into the course was something that I had not expected, and helped me become engaged with the class' conversation. Personally, I define interpretation as the viewpoint of a given subject, as shaped by a person's morals, background, and knowledge. 

As expected, my classmates' answers varied drastically. While I think of  the concept of interpretation as something without a definite answers, the majority of my classmates see it as something that does have correct answer--with that answer being dependent on the intent of the subject's creator. For example, a reader may interpret a poem about a warm summer day as a metaphor for the importance of relaxing. However, the poem's author comes forward and says that this poem is really about the ignorance of today's youth. Since this wasn't the poet's original intent, the reader's interpretation is wrong. 

The conversation then lead onto whether the Constitution was originally intended to be subject to interpretation. I briefly shared my opinion about how the framers--those who wrote the Constitution--may have intentionally left the Constitution vague to allow it to still be usable as society and technology continued to evolve. Somewhat surprisingly, not all of my classmates agreed with me; some argued that the framers did have a specific interpretation while drafting the Constitution, one that they intended to remain unchanged. In hindsight, it's somewhat ridiculous to think that we were arguing over our interpretations of interpreting!  

After our discussion, we watched two films. The first of the two was called "Our Constitution: A Conversation with Supreme Court Justices." As the title suggests, the film was a mock-interview between a small group of high school students and two court justices, Stephen G. Breyer and the now retired Sandra Day O'Connor. The two judges answered the students questions, which included everything from why the Constitution was created to whether a not the judges' morals ever interfered with their ability to correctly decide whether a law is constitutional or not. 

The other film, entitled "The Supreme Court: One Nation Under Law." Unlike the other film, this once was a documentary. One of the topics discussed in the movie included the 1803 Marbury v. Madison case, which also happened to be one of case briefs in last night's reading assignments. After the second film was over, class was over for the day. 

After class, I went with Adrianne to her dorm room to study for a while, and then went back to the courtyard for our daily meeting with Mrs. L. Today's meeting was very similar to yesterdays, with the only real differences being our discussion over our any trips we would like to go on, as well as the issue concerning my text book, which I will hopefully be getting tomorrow. After our meeting ended, the girls and I ate dinner together once again, but this time we enjoyed Chinese food in the cafeteria. 

When I returned to my room, I decided to return to my studying and quickly got to work. However, about an hour in I realized something; I was doing the wrong assignment. Frustrated, I decided to take a study break before resuming my work. After finishing my next assignment, I realized something else; I was doing the wrong work again. Sounds awful, doesn't it? After realizing my second mistake, I decided to give up for the night and wake up early in the morning to finish everything. Overall, I think that today was pretty nice day; I hope that tomorrow won't be as stressful as this evening!

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