Anjanie Krishnanan

1) According to MLK, the difference between just and unjust is that a just law is a man made code that harmonizes with the moral law. An unjust law is a human law that is out of balance with the moral law. Unjust laws are unethical and degrade the human’s character and soul. It is not rooted in an eternal and natural law. On the other hand, laws that are virtuous and elevate human character is just. MLK states “All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distort the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.”

2) The distinction between just and unjust laws is important and does affect how an individual lives their life and even society as a whole. An example King uses in his letter, is of Nazi Germany. Unjust laws were put into place and was deemed “legal”. Although they were legal laws, they were unethical and immoral. These laws degraded the human’s character and soul and affected not just the ones being discriminated against but the nation as a whole. Obeying unjust laws even if they are deemed legal is suppressing human personality. Dr. King stood up against injustice, linking true justice to its roots in a higher law. He would willingly sacrifice to accomplish a greater good to confront injustice not with bitterness and hatred but with a soul saturated in love.

3) An example of unjust laws in the U.S today is the 4 anti- LGBTQ bills that were introduced in January of 2020. The proposed bills are the HB 1365: Vulnerable Child Protection Act, HB 305: Preemption of Conditions of Employment, HCR 239: Equal Rights for Men and Women and HB 537: Home-Based Businesses. House Bill 1365 makes providing certain medical care or treatments to transgender children a second-degree felony. This is unjust because it is restricting somebody else from doing something that’s not causing harm to anybody else. House Bill 305 would repeal employment protections in place now that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition the other bills would legalize the so called gay conversion therapy in places that banned the practice. Using MLK’s definition, these are unjust laws because they are unethical and degrade the human’s character and soul. These bills gives the people discriminated against a false sense of inferiority because their rights are being threatened.

Anjanie Krishnanan

The Supreme Court ruled in the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case that the 1.5 female employees could sue Wal-Mart for employment and sex discrimination. The Court’s ruling was justified because they made commonality the central to their ruling. The class represented failed to meet Rule 23’s commonality requirement. This requirement stated that there be “questions of law or fact” common to the class. The class of females must not only share a common problem, but also a common solution to that problem. For instance, because all 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees were not all denied the same promotion, the same pay raise, or insulted, belittled, or obstructed by the same manager in the same store, their cases could not legitimately be litigated all at once. Scalia referred to commonality like glue. She states “Without some glue holding the alleged reasons for all those decisions together, it will be impossible to say that examination of all the class members’ claims for relief will produce a common answer to the crucial question.” However the revision of what constituted “commonality” raised more questions. It showed that a group of people who have historically been denied recognition as an oppressed, exploited class, were again being denied that recognition under major civil rights law.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) The court system is better suited to protect an individual than the elected branches of government because, courts are not swayed by public opinions or popular decisions. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) is an example of how Supreme Court Justices are not influenced by the public’s opinion. This case represented a challenge to the principle of “separate but equal” established by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The case was brought by students who were denied admittance to certain public schools based exclusively on race. The unanimous decision in Brown v. Board determined that the existence of racially segregated public schools violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court decided that schools segregated by race perpetrated harm by giving legal sanction to the idea that African Americans were inherently inferior. The ruling effectively overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and removed the legal supports for segregated schools nationwide. The Supreme Court took on the controversial case to protect the people even though it was not a popular decision in the country.

2) The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, it’s members appointed not by the people but by the president, and the justices are appointed to serve for life. The Supreme Court is the least democratic institution. They have the authority to interpret the Constitution and they are not held directly accountable for their actions. The Court has its own set of rules for choosing cases, and it follows a unique set of procedures for hearing them. The Court’s greatest power is Judicial Review which is the power to strike down laws passed by federal and state legislatures, on the grounds that they violate basic principles in the Constitution. For this reason, it is easy to see why the justices are often praised for thwarting the will of the American people. Its decisions not only affect the outcome of the individual case before the justices, but they also create lasting impacts on legal and constitutional interpretation for the future.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) The War on Terror is an ongoing military campaign following the 9/11 attacks to combat global terrorism. P. Williams describes the modern war on terror declares that war criminals do not deserve basic constitutional protections. Traditional wars are wars against terror, against specific bodies, specific land, specific resources. She states “a war against terrorism is a war of the mind, so broadly defined that the enemy becomes anybody who makes us afraid.” However in this new war, Americans would not object to torturing someone if it would provide information about terrorism. The new war allows the power to kill based on undisclosed information with no accountability. She discusses that this new war does not validate your rights if you are posed as a threat to the public. However Williams argue that suspects who have not yet been convicted as terrorists are presumed guilty before adjudication. In the name of self- protection we take life or liberty from anyone, particularly those whom we fear without a fair trial.

2) Roving wiretaps allows for the surveillance of a potential suspects through special technology. Wiretaps can cover multiple devices and gives access to secret records. The wiretaps violate the Bill of Rights because it could lead to privacy violations of anyone who comes into casual contact with a suspect. Wiretaps also violate the Fourth Amendment because they violate an individual’s right to be protected against probable cause and unreasonable searches.

3) A Sneak and Peek warrant allows authorities to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s permission or knowledge. This seems to violate rights because, the Fourth Amendment protects an individual against unreasonable searches and also requires the government to obtain a warrant and to inform the occupant whose property will be searched prior to being search.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) The Establishment Clause refers to the first two freedoms in the Constitution. This clause prohibits Congress from establishing a state sponsored religion. This means that it forbids Congress from passing any laws that may force an individual to practice a religion. To add on, the Establishment Clause also forbids the government from favoring one religion over others. For example, the government cannot promote Hindu beliefs over Islamic beliefs or belief in God over atheism. In relation to the Establishment Clause, we have the Lemon test which is used to determine whether the government or a law passed prohibits the freedom to express an individual’s religion or promoting a religion where it doesn’t belong. An example would be the issue of prayer in front of students in public schools.

2) Although it is controversial, flag burning is protected by the First Amendment because it is a form of symbolic speech. In the 1989, Supreme Court case, Texas v. Johnson also decided the law as applied to flag desecration to be unconstitutional. However the court’s decision was strongly criticized, and Congress responded by passing the Flag Protection Act, intended to overrule it. But, the act, was struck down as unconstitutional in 1990.

3) The 5th Amendment secures an individual’s right to remain silent, to not be held to answer authority, and to not be compelled to hand over evidence that may go against themselves. When a person says I’m taking the Fifth, that phrase refers to all of these things. A person can invoke their right to remain silent when being questioned by the government.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) In a Federal Government, refers to the government at the national level. In the U.S. federal system, all national matters are handled by the federal government, which is led by the president and members of Congress, all of whom are elected by voters across the country. In a Federation, authority is divided between the state and national government and is derived from the citizens of the country. For example, the U.S under the Constitution, Canada, and India. In a Confederation, authority is decentralized, and the central government’s ability to act depends on the consent of the subnational governments. Authority is concentrated in the states. For example, the United States under the Articles of Confederation. Under the Articles of Confederation, states were sovereign and powerful while the national government was subordinate and weak. The main drawback with this system of government is that it maximizes regional self-rule at the expense of effective national governance. Lastly, a unitary system makes subnational governments dependent on the national government, where significant authority is concentrated. Authority is concentrated in the central government. For example, the United Kingdom, Japan and Sweden.

2) I understand, the system of division of power by relating it to what government our country and other countries have today. For example, the United States today is a Federation. Power is divided between the state and central government and that authority is derived from the people when election comes around. The U.S under the Articles of Confederation is a first hand example of how a confederate government works. Power is derived from the state governments. I understand an unitary system by relating it to what the United Kingdom has today. Power is derived from the national government.

3) The federal government responded to COVID-19 by enacting several public laws to provide funding to help government agencies, states, localities, businesses, and individuals respond to the virus. To add on, the US Supreme Court has established that states have broad authority to “enact quarantine laws and health laws of every description.” According to the state constitution, the governor has the “supreme executive power of the state.” Some examples of some Acts that were passed are the, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, and Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. On October 1, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the proposed Heroes Act, which reserved $179 billion for state governments. Congress and the executive branch negotiated additional federal emergency funding measures and The Heroes Act was passed May 15, 2020. In addition, The CARES Act passed on March 27 2020, also authorized direct payments to the public in varying amounts, and provided supplemental unemployment payments for those who were out of work due to the lock downs, quarantines, and business closures. The federal government has issued broad guidance and provided financial resources at the beginning of the pandemic, leaving the states to create more specific regulations for citizens.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) James Madison defines a faction as a number of citizens who are united “by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” Factions are groups of people who gather to protect and promote their economic interests and political opinions. Factions remind me of political parties.

2) According to Federalist #10, the source of wealth (private property) is because of the unequal distribution of property. Property owners with greater potential own more property than men with less talent or skills. Since property owner’s rights must be protected by the government, the government has to regulate men with different interests and arising conflicts between those with property ad those who have nothing. Since they are not satisfied, James Madison believed that men will pursue other interests regarding the type of property they own.

3) Madison wanted to break down the dichotomy of the rich and poor to guarantee both liberty and security. Madison feared that since the poor are the majority, they might overthrow the wealthy minority. However, as we can see the rich alternatively exploit the poor.

4) The first object of the government was to protect the rights of property owners. No this does not surprise me, as there are big businesses today who employ lobbying companies to persuade governments to meet their interests. 

5) I am not surprised that Federalist #10 is not in favor with democracy because, James Madison soon ceased to believe in a one party system. He became Jefferson’s lieutenant who organized the Anti- Federalist Democratic- Republican Party. He would dislike a democratic form of government because, he believed democracy cannot protect personal rights and property rights effectively.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) According to the readings, the wealthy class wrote the Constitution. The slaves, the indented servants, men who could not qualify for voting, and women, disenfranchised and subjected to the discriminations of the common law, were not represented in the Constitutional Convention. Ordinary working people could not take off four months to go to Philadelphia and write a constitution. To add on, the men who made up about 10 percent of the population gathered in Philadelphia drafted a constitution that “instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor”. The U.S. Constitution was written by property owning white men who gave political power, exclusively to property owning white men. The document was meant to enshrine class oppression.

2) I believe that the social class structure has changed. For example the upper middle class is separating slowly away from the rest of society. The separation is not just economic but it includes, education, family structure, geography, and lifestyle. In addition, the average real household income from 1967- 2013 has increased from $108k to $185k. Concerning the lower class, low educational attainment and disabilities are two of the main reasons individuals can either struggle to find work or fall into the lower class.

3) The people who wrote the constitution were afraid of of democracy because, they believed it was ruled by the common people. The framers wanted to pursue their personal and class interests. The desire to build a strong nation and the desire to protect wealth motivated the framers. They were of the opinion that democracy was the worst of all political evils. According to Alexander Hamilton, “all communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and the wellborn, the other the mass of the people. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right.” They wanted to serve both their nation and their estates.

Anjanie Krishnanan

1) The statistic “90 percent of American families have little or no net assets” made a big impression on me because, I think that highlights the wealth inequality in the U.S. Not only is the wealth inequality widening but it is devastating to see the less unfortunate stay in the same position no matter how hard they work to try to better their lives. The rich get richer and many people don’t realize how rich the rich actually are.

2) Huge wealth inequalities have reduced people’s well being. It has exploited workers and continues to do so. Most of rich people’s incomes come from the work that other people do for them. I do believe this is unjust as a working class person, I sell my labor power in exchange for money. People all around me live off of their salaries and wages and most of the time it isn’t enough to even survive For example, salaries continue to not keep up with inflation, with the rising prices of goods and services and big businesses and corporations continue to to increase the profitability of their businesses by downsizing, speedups and contract labor.

Anjanie Krishnanan

According to M-C-M, capitalists maintain and increase their wealth because this cycle is endless. The two stages in M-C-M happens when first, money is converted into an item and secondly, the item is transformed into money. M-C-M represents modern capitalism and differs from C-M-C. Both C-M-C and M-C-M have the commodities and money phase however, the purpose of M-C-M is to accumulate wealth, while the purpose of C-M-C is to serve a useful purpose. M-C-M’s goal is to simply have more money by buying merchandise and selling at a higher price. According to Marx, the capitalist’s motivation behind this cycle is never ending wealth, which explains why the seller gets their money back and the money is therefore advanced rather than being spent. The end product in M-C-M is additional capital, the end product in C-M-C is getting spent once and for all and the result is a use- value.