Jasmin Amigon-Discussion post

  1. What did the Supreme Court decide in the Wal-Mart case? And more importantly, how did it justify its decision? (HINT: the key word here is “commonality” (and how it related to “class-action lawsuit”). Try to understand what this legal terms means, as it is key to the court’s decision).

In the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case, the Supreme Court ruled that a group of women could not be certified as a valid class of plaintiffs to sue against a class-action lawsuit against Walmart. The Court’s ruling justified its decision by making commonality a challenge for the plaintiff to win the case. In this case, the plaintiff (Dukes) failed to meet Rule 23’s commonality requirement which includes the class must be so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, there must be questions of law or fact common to the class, typicality, and adequacy of representation. The commonality is related to a “class-action lawsuit” because for a class action to proceed, litigants must first meet Rule 23’s requirements.

Jasmin Amigon- Discussion post

  1. According to MLK, how can we tell the difference between just and unjust laws? Understanding this questions is the most important part of this module, and I will ask it again during our second exam.

According to MLK, an unjust law is one that is out of step with the rest of society’s moral rules or practices. An unjust law is one that the majority imposes on the minority despite the fact that the majority is not required to respect it. In other terms, it is an unjust law that does not apply equally to everyone. A just law is one that respects human rights, adheres to the appropriate restrictions, and follows the rules.

  1. In your view, is this an important distinction (between just and unjust laws), do you think it makes a difference in the way someone (as an individual, or our society as a whole) lives their lives? Can it affect our politics?

Just and unjust laws, in my opinion, make a difference because they influence how people live their lives in professional settings, at home, legally, and so on. This is a significant distinction between right and wrong because it has political implications; it is the reason why it is illegal to enable young persons under the age of 18 to work for more than 8 hours every day, both men and women have the right to vote, and all individuals have the opportunity to go to school and receive an education.

3. Based on our discussion of Question 1, give an example each, of an unjust and just law, in the US today. Explain what makes it unjust or just (using MLK’s definition of those two types of laws).

One example of an unjust law is private probation abuses, As the legal system becomes more privatized, private probation corporations have emerged as one of the most egregious violators of constitutional rights. Counties are throwing off public probation officials designed to facilitate private firms to profit off of the public.

An example of a just law is in the 2nd amendment the right to bear arms. Therefore there are certain states where individuals are not allowed to own guns which are, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, South Carolina, and New York. 

Jasmin Amigon-Discussion post

  1. A way the court system is better suited in protecting individuals than are the elected branches is by the supreme court which is not elected by the people therefore they are uninfluenced in the opinion of the public. Which shows they are willing to solve controversial cases than elected branches of government. A member of congress would not be influenced by public opinion and popular decisions but would go about the case following the law and previous state rulings for the benefit of the individuals. For example, the Brown v. Board of Education case took on a controversial topic in order to protect the people. This shows that they are willing to protect the people even if it’s not a politically popular decision.

2.The supreme court is an anti-democratic part of our government because the ones who have political power or the owning class are the ones who make the final decision. The Supreme Court plays an important role in our constitutional system of government and it’s the highest court and last resort for those seeking justice. The member(s) of the Supreme Court are not nominated by people but by the power the president has and the justices nominated are there to serve for life.  However, this action of appointing judges to fill the federal courts proves how the Supreme Court is an anti-democracy. I think the public should be able to choose whom they think should be a judge in the Supreme Court.

Discussion post- Jasmin Amigon

  1. In the federal system, citizens vote for representatives; each citizen of individual districts has a lot of power over that district. In a Confederation system, all political power rests with the individual states and very little with the central/national government. Furthermore, citizens will have more power because this system relies on its local governments. Finally, In a unitary government, political power rests with one central/national government. Which allows citizens’ democratic decisions to have a greater impact.
  1. In the United States, the federal system of government divides powers and responsibilities between the national and state governments. The political authority of the state is divided into legislative, executive, and judicial powers. These are branches that divide powers and each has independent powers and responsibilities which make it possible to avoid having conflicts between each branch. The 3 branches prevent concentration of power and are there to keep checks and balances so no one branch becomes too powerful.

3.Federal governments play a big role in shaping the actions of state and local governments. Even though the states have a say in a large variety of laws and rules the federal government shapes how the nation is governed. The federal government can influence the states through the distribution of grants, incentives, and aid. The federal government has made legislation to stimulate the economy and further the progress of robust public health response. It has also put policies into effect through agency regulations and temporary rules to utilize the funding provided by Congress. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Local governments have also responded within the structure of power that is delegated to them by their state governments. The local governments focused their emergency powers on policies to protect their citizens and support their municipal economies.

discussion post- Jasmin Amigon

  1. The establishment clause limits official endorsement of religion, and it not only forbids the creation of a “Church of the United States” or “Church of Ohio” it also forbids the government from favoring one set of religious beliefs over others or favoring religion over non-religion. Therefore, It prevents the passage of any law that gives preference to or forces belief in any one religion. The lemon test was established to decide whether a law or other government action that might promote a particular religious practice should be allowed to stand. 
  1. The First Amendment protects the flag from being damaged and treated with disrespect. “Burning the flag was a form of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment and found the law, as applied to flag desecration, to be unconstitutional.” The Court Case “Texas v. Johnson” The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that symbolic speech no matter how offensive to some is protected under the First Amendment.
  1. The phrase “I’m taking the Fifth”  refers to a witness’s refusal to testify on the ground that the testimony might incriminate the witness in a crime. The 5th Amendment protects individuals from being forced to testify against themselves.

Discussion post- Jasmin Amigon

  1. The war against terrorism is a war against civilians because a terrorist can be anyone which created fear and distrust. It is unclear who the enemy can be and you can be fighting this war for a long time. The war against terrorism can be long-term because it’s a war of the mind and it’s troublesome to talk about facts rather than fear. It’s dangerous to be kept in the loop of fear because one never feels safe. This new war is similar to oppression in communities because receiving information about terrorism many Americans wouldn’t oppose torturing methods. The war on terror is different than traditional wars because unlike traditional wars in which is a war against specific bodies, land, and resources. War on terror is one against terror/fear.
  1. Roving wiretaps are useful because it allows the government to deal with technologically sophisticated terrorists. This provision of the Patriot Act specifically permits roving wiretaps against suspected terrorists. However, The Roving Wiretaps of the Patriot Act violates the bill of rights by violating the defendant’s constitutional rights.
  1. Sneak and Peek allow search warrants in which authorities search a building without immediately notifying the target. Additionally, it can not only be applied exclusively to acts of foreign and domestic terrorism but, any federal crime including misdemeanors. Although, the “Sneak and Peek” has been useful in catching criminals such as drug dealers without jeopardizing an investigation still some people think that this warrant allows searches for minor crimes.

Discussion 5.3-Jasmin Amigon

  1. I found it interesting is that no matter how hard you work throughout your lifetime you won’t become rich because as stated “If you aren’t rich, it is because you lacked the foresight to pick the right parents at birth”  The rich are usually wealthy because on inherited fortunes. Usually, the class your parents are in is most likely where you would stay. I believe there are people that have worked hard to at least move a bit upward. But, there is less upward social mobility today than a generation ago.
  2. Some implications of living in a society that has huge wealth inequalities could result in higher rates of health and social problems because it reduces social cohesion which can lead to more stress, fear, and insecurity for everyone. In addition, lower level of economic growth when human capital is neglected for high-end consumption.

Discussion 5.2- Jasmin Amigon

  1. As we learned thus far, the capitalist class consists of people who own wealth, as well as the means of production in American society. An important question in understanding how this class works is to ask: how does a capitalist remain wealthy? The answer to this question depends largely on understanding the diagram M-C-M’. So, let’s practice by explaining what happens in this diagram in our own words (but basing our ideas on Reading 5.1). Respond to the following question: Explain M-C-M’ to show how capitalists maintain and increase their wealth. (hint: your answer should weave a summary that includes what you reviewed in the self-assessment exercise question 1-7)

M-C-M stands for Money- Commodity- Money and is the general formula of capital. In M-C-M  the seller gets their money back again and the money is not spent, but rather increased. The owners of capital maintain and increase their wealth by putting their money back into circulation, buying to sell, and starting more money to acquire more. The surplus value doesn’t go to the worker but to the capitalist, they can sell the commodities produced for a greater amount than that paid to the worker in the form of wages. This makes it possible for capitalists to benefit from profit.

Discussion 4.2-Jasmin Amigon

  1. Owners are wealthy individuals who live on investments such as stocks, rents, and other property income. The wealth-owning class receives a large income that comes mostly from the labor of others. For example, owning a company can accumulate a considerable amount of wealth because employees are doing almost all the work. On the other hand, employees are working people who live on wages and salaries. The employees are paid substantially less than the value they produce. For example, garment employees are paid below minimum wage and work for long hours for big clothing companies. The distinction between owners and employees can be determined by the range of income within both classes. 
  1. Human Labor is a great good to society because it makes our daily lives possible. The more labor employed in production, the greater the value the item created in exchange with other items on a relative basis. Adam Smith’s theory of value is based on production rather than exchange. The more extensive human labor the more expensive a product is. Human labor is essential to making society function. 
  1. I found it really interesting how class is more than another identity. Class is conceptually symmetrical just like race or gender according to liberals. On the other hand, socialists see class as two things which are capitalists and workers. However, liberals deny that class concerns any particularly special kind of social power. It’s seen as an identity like any other, and any particular focus on it can only be the result of pleading or want to ignore other forms of oppression. 
  1. Close dependency is an intense dependency someone has because of their social class. The power capitalists’ have over class results in control over society’s productive assets such as the workers which force them to be dependent on them. For example, The U.S. depends heavily on China for providing low-cost goods and support its own exports. China and the US rely on each other’s supply chain for input into goods and services consumed within their borders.

Discussion 4.1- Jasmin Amigon

  1. Do you notice any similarities in the way social class is discussed in readings 4.1 and 4.2? Do you notice any differences in the way these two readings DIFFERENTIATE between social classes?

Income is a powerful determinant in where one lands on the social class. Age is also a factor in where one places themselves on the social class scale. I noticed that one’s urban, rural, or suburban residence aslo has a role in how social class functions in our society. For example, in the reading “Inequality and New York’s Subway” we were able to identify one’s medium household income depending on their residence on the subway map. 

  1. Pick the station closest to where you live. Using the concepts from Reading 4.1, what social class tends to live in your neighborhood? Are you surprised (or not) by the answer? Do you feel it is an accurate representation of the people living in your neighborhood?

The closest station to where I live is the N train Astoria Blvd. It appears on the chart to be a median household income of $56,154 which puts my neighborhood on the working and middle class. This information doesn’t surprise me because I have noticed The cost of living in Astoria is getting rather high due to the commercialization and new developments. I feel like the data is an accurate representation of the people living in my neighborhood. 

  1. Based on Reading 4.2, do you notice a general pattern about social classes in NYC?

I noticed that on the N train line ending uptown the incomes are relatively around 50 thousand but going towards downtown  Brooklyn the lowest median income is $26,719. The highest median income on the N line is on 5th av being $171,000 which isn’t surprising because it is in the city.