Thursday, June 28, 2012


The day began like any normal one: waking up and getting dressed, making my way to John Jay for breakfast with my friends, reviewing my notes before class, and then waiting for the incredibly slow elevator in Hamilton Hall to take me up to the 7th floor. But this day was also different: everyone in class was on their phones or laptop awaiting the Supreme Court decision on President Obama's health care bill, coined "Obamacare." About ten minutes after class began, Jasper announced the decision: the Supreme Court had decided to uphold the individual mandate with a vote of 5-4 but reveresed the medicaid clause. After the excitement about this died down, we discussed the Supreme Court cases we read in class. I'll include our talk about Obamacare from the afternoon session in this section as well.

  • Obamacare - There are two clauses to this health care bill: individual mandate and medicaid. The individual mandate clause requires everyone to have health insure or they have to pay the IRS. Obama wanted to expand medicaid based on age and amount of income. Justices have been misbehaving about this bill and making political claims about the Obama administration for months; most of the justices are on the conservative spectrum. Obamacare doesn't violate the anti-injunction act because it is not a tax.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden - The New York legislature passed a law giving a monopoly on steamship travel in New York to a group of investors. A man named Gibbons wanted to use the steamship and was given federal permission to do so, but then New York died him access. The constitution had a commerce clause that allowed the federal government to regulate commerce. The Supreme Court extended this law so that the federal government could have more power over the state when the laws conflicted. 
  • Missouri v. Holland - In 1916, the United States and Great Britain signed a Migratory Bird Act to preserve migratory birds that were considered important and could fight off harmful insects. Missouri wanted to prevent this act and said the treaty went against their 10th amendment rights because they didn't want to preserve the birds.
  • INS v. Chadha - The INS Act authorized the INS to suspend deportation of aliens that continually resided in the in United States for more than seven years. A man named Chadha traveled to Ohio as an exchange student but his student visa expired and the INS tried to deport him. Congress sought for a reverse of Chadha's case, and he won and is currently a citizen that resides in California. 
  • Heart Atlanta Motel Case - The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned racial discrimination in public places. Heart of Atlanta motel refused to rent rooms to black persons and the owner filed a suit claiming his 5th and 13th amendment rights were being violated. The United States fought back and countered this act. The district court ruled in favor of the United States. 
  • United States v. Nixon - Five days before President Nixon was re-elected, a group of men from Nixon's administration broke into the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel, and it was discovered they had bugged the headquarters before. President Nixon was accused of administering the break-in and was found to have several tapes that had recordings of his meetings in the White House. The special prosecutor asked Nixon to turn over the tapes, and he refused because he claimed presidential immunity. He later turned in edited versions but was forced to turn in the original copies, even though eighteen minutes had been erased from then. An impeachment began to take place but Nixon resigned two weeks later.
  • Clinton v. New York - The Line Item Veto Act assured the president to cancel certain provisions of appropriations bills, among other concepts. President Clinton used this yet canceled the Balanced Budget Act and the Taxpayer Relief Act. The Line Item Veto Act was then called unconstitutional.
Instead of eating lunch at John Jay, I went on an R.A. trip to Chipotle with nine other HSP students to talk to Columbia student/alum R.A.'s about their experiences at Columbia, the application process, and why Columbia was the best. Unfortunately, the trip was rather disorganized and turned out to be more for people who literally knew nothing about the college application process. One girl did not know that college students have requirements for their majors and/or minors, and another was confused about the Common Application. The only source of information I got from one of the R.A.'s is that she mainly chose Columbia for their core curriculum. She said she loved the Core because "freshman year is a very foreign experience and it really helps Columbia students to become well rounded and take classes in all different subjects and interact with their peers." We also did not even eat at Chipotle, we had to wait in a long time and then trek all the way back to the stairs at Butler Library and make ourselves comfortable. Not the greatest way to spend lunch, but at least I got some information.
My peach juice and bag containing a large burrito from Chipotle
After lunch, I went back to class and took the quiz. The quiz was a lot easier than I thought it was, and when Jeffrey went over the answers in class, I was pleased to learn I had gotten all of them except for one right, and even gotten one of the bonus questions right! I feel like I'm getting a good grip on political science. After going over the quiz and getting a small lecture about Obamacare, we played another round of Constitutional Jeopardy, which was based on the Supreme Court cases we'd read. My team lost, but not by that much. At first I was really disappointed that we lost, but I cheered up when we had our meeting with Ms. L. We pretty much talked about R.A. trips and our dinner tomorrow with Columbia students. Unfortunately, we can't meet any Columbia admissions officers, but I'm really happy to see Matt again and meet the other students.

After our meeting, I had dinner with our cohort, Rowland, and our new friend Brittany! We had great fun, and now I am spending time in Morvarid's suite. Aurea and Rowland are very into the NBA draft, which I am attempting to understand. Tomorrow is the Maroon 5 concert and I'm very excited and about to make posters!

I'd like to share these two images: my roommate speaks and writes Arabic. She wrote my sister and my name's on pieces of paper! She is fantastic.

My name in English and then Arabic
My sister's name in English and then Arabic

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