- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.