American Government 2 Discussions

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1:

In Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton argued that the judiciary was the least dangerous branch of government. Many people would argue that Hamilton was incorrect and that today’s courts wield an enormous amount of power. However, Hamilton believed the courts were the least dangerous branch because they had the power of neither the purse nor the sword. The courts’ power increased with John Marshall’s establishment of judicial review.

All presidents are concerned with the legacy they leave once out of office and major influence on this legacy is the Supreme Court justices they appoint. For this reason, politics plays an immense role the nomination process. Consider the nomination of Merrick Garland by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia (an icon of conservative ideology). However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared any appointment by the sitting president to be null and void. He said the next Supreme Court justice should be chosen by the next president — to be elected later that year. According to McConnell, “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction. It is a president’s constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and it is the Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on the president and withhold its consent.” Supreme Court picks have often been controversial but there was no precedence to ignore the nominee entirely. Scalia’s seat would later be filled by Neil Gorsuch (nominated by President Donald Trump).

Based on this information (and your own outside research), analyze the process by which U.S. judges are nominated and confirmed. Does this seem like a fair process? What extent does it have on the political lean of the Court, and therefore, on United States law (specifically civil rights and civil liberties)? Cite specific examples. Consider the concepts of judicial activism and judicial restraint in your response.

Your initial discussion postings (250-300 words) should demonstrate an understanding and analysis of the assigned readings and video. It may be helpful to reference the assigned material in your response demonstrating connections between your thoughts and the course resources. In addition, you will also need to post two substantial responses (about 150-200words) to at least two of your classmates’ posts.

2:

One of the most divisive and economically pressing questions in U.S. domestic policy over the last several decades has been healthcare. The United States spends twice as much in terms of Gross Domestic Product on healthcare as the next biggest spender in the advanced world, and yet our average lifespan is less than most of the countries on the list. The debate in the U.S. is over whether or not healthcare should be a part our larger commercial system, and hence accessed through private insurers giving the consumer more “choice,” or whether healthcare access should be guaranteed to all through either a hybrid public/private system (like Obamacare) or a more robust public system in which healthcare is guaranteed to all residents through a government-run healthcare program, with a potential downside of having less “choice” in such a system. Public polling suggests that there is no bigger public policy issue that Americans care about as much as healthcare at this point in our nation’s history. For the discussion, which of the various options listed above (or options that you have researched on your own) do you support as the way forward for the American healthcare system? Explain your answer, arguing for its superiority over the other options.

Your initial discussion postings (250-300 words)

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