Thursday, July 5, 2012

You win some, you lose some

This morning was a challenge. Not only did I wake up very early to read the Supreme Court cases for class today, but I had to cram in studying for the quiz and working on the opening statement for the debate. I ended up taking notes for class, memorizing cases for the quiz, and only making a rough outline for the opening statement. Not the best way to start a morning, but I knew it was the best I could do in in the limited amount of time I had.

The morning lecture was interesting, as we moved on from freedom of speech to freedom/respect of religion. Majority of the cases dealt with the ban of teaching religion in public schools or banning religious rituals because they are a danger.

  • Establishment Clause - This clause is the separation of church and state. Because of state rights, the establishment clause does not deal with the federal government. The establishment clause follows three parts: 1) Strict separation, 2) Strict Neutrality, and 3) Accommodation
  • Abington School District v. Schempp - Mr. Schempp filed suit against the school district because they required children to hear and even read parts of the Bible at the beginning of the school day. Mr. Schempp's complaint was mainly in terms of his children having to do this because the family were Unitarian Universialists. The court sanctioned that organized Bible reading in United States public schools is unconstitutional.
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman - This case defined two concepts: 1) Lemon Test and 2) That for a law to be considered constitutional under the establishment clause, the law must have a legitimate secular purpose and not have the effect/advance/inhibition of religion.
  • Lemon Test - 1) Must have secular legislative purpose, 2) Must have principal effects which neither enhance nor inhibit religion, 3) Must not foster an excessive entanglement of government with religion
  • Wallace v. Jaffree - This case dealt with a dispute over Alabama statues that by stages allowed voluntary prayer, which was lead by school teachers. The court found nothing wrong with meditation in school but the religion aspects were unconstitutional.
  • Church v. City of Hialeh - Civil ordinances were passed to prevent animal sacrifices in connection with Santeria rituals. These rituals were held to be invalid by the Supreme Court.
After class, I had lunch and then went to Butler Library to type up my Opening Statement. After typing it up, I then hurried to Carman to print it out. Then I went back to class.

We first took the quiz, and based on the answers given it class, I got an A again. I'm proud of myself for studying well, but I know I need to stop cramming and space out my time better. Then we moved on to the debate. I felt I delivered my opening statement well, and I felt that Jack did a great job with the closing statement, but we definitely did not do well when we were supposed to answer questions. To sum it up, we lost the debate completely - 0-3. None of the judges voted for us. They felt that we focused too much on pointing out that no child pornography was committed instead of focusing on the commerce aspect of the case, which the other team really went off on. I was really disappointed, not just in my team but in myself. We have one more debate but I'm not very excited for it. I guess this is why I never joined the debate team at my school.

When class ended, I wasn't in the best mood but decided to suck it up because we were meeting the Director of the Program. She was really nice and was able to answer a couple of our questions about Columbia. She was sad because she is retiring from her work with the program after this summer, but wishes to return back to old habits - she's been working with this program for 24 years!

Columbia Cohort plus the Director of Columbia HSP!
After the meeting, we went to Low Library and picked up some brochures from the visiting center. I went to dinner later but after retired to my dorm and took a very long nap. I've been needing to catch up on sleep.

I'm excited for tomorrow because I'm going to see War Horse on Broadway! I've been lusting over this all week and cannot wait for tomorrow. 

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