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Critical Thinking Assignment

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Critical Thinking Assignment #2

Student should first read Chapter Four on Civil Liberties and the First Amendment and the course supplement on Chapter Four. Students may have to Google to get some of the anwers.

  1. When is prayer in public school constitutional and when is it not? Why do you think the Supreme Court has been so strict when it comes to public school prayer while allowing other forms of government endorsement of religion, such as city-sponsored nativity scenes and school vouchers? Can private schools use free public schools textbooks and transportation (buses)? What else can private schools use from the public schools and can’t they use?
  2. How much free speech do you think we should allow in the United States? Would you want to allow a white racist to give a speech on your campus? A member of the freemen’s militia? A neo-Nazi? An African American racist? A radical Muslim? An Anti-Gay activitist? Should individuals be allowed to picket dead soldiers’ funerals because they think the US is evil for having gay rights?
  3. Have you ever been called for jury duty? If you have not, what are your thoughts on serving on a jury in regards to the following questions? If you did serve, explain the process. How did you feel about this? Did you or would you (if you have not served) try to get out of jury duty? What if everyone tried to evade jury duty? Can college students get out of jury duty? Can mothers get out of jury duty? Can the elderly get out of jury duty? How much do jurors get paid in Texas courts-in federal court in Texas?
  4. List three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Do you think that these provisions are necessary to ensure our safety, or are they a threat to our civil liberties? What should Obama do about the detainees in Guantanamo? Terrorist arrestees under the Bush and Obama administrations were denied access to an attorney and other due process rights-do you agree or disagree with this policy and why? Terrorist arrestees under the Bush administration were taken to other countries for interrogation (countries that often use torture)—do you agree or disagree with this policy and why? FDR put over 120,000 Japanese-Americans (many of their families had been in the US for multiple generations), in detention prisons even though none were suspected of anything and none were ever put on trial. Do you agree with what he did? Why?
  5. Most of the democratic countries of the world have abolished capital punishment-why-what are the arguments against capital punishment? Why do you think the United States still uses execution-what are the arguments in favor of it? If other countries had our crime rate, do you think they would want capital punishment? What are the arguments for and against capital punishment for juveniles. Do we draw the line according to age or severity of crime?

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