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Mock Supreme Court_ Suggested Ca

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					Mock Supreme Court, Suggested Cases and the Constitutional Question you will be debating:
Choose the case you are most interested in exploring further, and sign up to debate either “yes” or “no” to the Constitutional
Question. Have several back-up choices if your first choice is already taken. Court dates will be assigned.

    1.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD GAY COUPLES BE GIVEN THE SAME LEGAL RIGHTS AS
         HETEROSEXUALS IN ADOPTING CHILDREN?
         CASE: Lofton v. Secretary of the Dept. of Children & Family Services***. Steven Lofton is a gay man who has been
         denied the right to adopt a child under Florida law which states: “Adoption by any `homosexual’ person is prohibited.
         Florida’s legal definition of homosexual is `any person known to engage in current, voluntary homosexual activity.’ Lofton is
         suing the Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services, the Florida agency that enforces the Florida law,
         claiming the Constitution protects the right of gay people to adopt children.
    2.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD PARENTAL CONSENT BE REQUIRED FOR UNDERAGE
         PREGNANT WOMEN TO HAVE ABORTIONS?
         CASE: Beekman v. Virginia** Sandra Beekman is a 16 year-old high school student who found out she accidentally got
         pregnant when the condom she and her boyfriend were using broke. Sandra wants to get an abortion, as she and her
         boyfriend are not prepared to raise a child, and both plan to go to college in 2 years. The State of Virginia requires that
         women under the age of 18 who are seeking an abortion get signed consent from their parents. Sandra’s parents are devout
         Catholics who believe abortion is morally wrong, and they won’t sign the consent form. Although her parents tried to raise
         her Catholic, Sandra does not believe in this religion, nor any religion. Sandra is suing the State of Virginia, claiming the
         Constitution protects her right, as a woman of child-bearing age, to have an abortion.
    3.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT CENSOR LYRICS OF SONGS THAT ARE VIOLENT
         OR EXPLETIVE, FOR EXAMPLE “GANGSTA” RAP?
         CASE: Eminem v. the Federal Communications Commission*. A law recently passed by Congress requires a mandatory
         parental advisory sticker on CDs that advocate suicide, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, rape or involuntary sexual
         penetration, murder, morbid violence, ethnic, racial intimidation, the use of illegal drugs or the excessive or illegal use of
         alcohol. Under the law, any artist that discusses these themes, and does not have a mandatory sticker, will be subject to fines
         and imprisonment. This law is to be enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Rap artist Eminem sues
         the FCC, claiming the Constitution protects his right to sell his product without misrepresentation by the government. These
         labels may not accurately represent what the music is trying to convey to its audience, and unfairly prejudice people from
         buying his albums.
    4.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD HOMOSEXUAL COUPLES BE ALLOWED TO MARRY?
         CASE: Hendersen v. Georgia**. Beth Hendersen and her partner, Dawn Fite, have been living together for 10 years and
         want to solidify their union in marriage. They plan to spend the rest of their lives together and want the legal recognition of
         their union for tax purposes, health insurance purposes, and hospital visiting purposes, should one of them get sick. Georgia
         law prohibits marriage by same sex couples. Beth sues the state, claiming this law is a violation of her Constitutionally
         protected rights.
    5.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD OPENLY GAYS AND LESBIANS BE ALLOWED INTO THE ARMED
         FORCES?
         CASE: Gay Veterans v. The U.S. Armed Forces***. Twelve lesbian and gay veterans filed suit in Federal Court in Boston
         seeking reinstatement in the Armed Forces. All 12 had been discharged under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on
         gays in the military. Each served during the current war on terror. The veterans all served honorably in the United States
         Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, C. Dixon Osburn. Together, they have served more than sixty-five years in the
         armed forces. Three have served in direct support of operations in the Middle East. Among them, they have earned more
         than five dozen awards, medals and Justin Peacock, a former Coast Guard boatswain's mate, was kicked out of the service
         after someone reported he was seen holding hands with another man. Former Army Sergeant First Class Stacy Vasquez
         served nearly ten years as an Army paralegal and was one of the top recruiters in the entire Army. Vasquez was discharged
         after being outed by a fellow service member’s wife. Air Force Captain Monica Hill, a physician, was discharged after
         requesting a leave of absence to care for her terminally ill partner of 14 years, who died on September 11, 2001. Today’s
         lawsuit asserts that “’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ punishes gay, lesbian and bisexual service members . . . for their sexual
         orientation and for their constitutionally protected conduct.
    6.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD HIV POSITIVE WORKERS HAVE TO TELL THEIR EMPLOYERS OF
         THEIR STATUS?
         CASE: Greenfield v. the Department of Health and Human Services*. Congress recently passed a law requiring all HIV
         positive workers to notify their employer that they are HIV positive. This law will be enforced by the U.S. Department of
         Health and Human Services. Tom Greenfield, an HIV positive employee of the New York City Department of Education,
         who works as a U.S. History teacher at the School for Legal Studies, immediately filed a lawsuit against the government,
         challenging the Constitutionality of this new law. He is arguing that it violates his rights.
    7.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD PARENTS BE ALLOWED TO EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN AT HOME?
         CASE: Swetnam v. the Texas Department of Education**. Texas education law allows parents to “home school” their
         children and avoid public schooling laws if they choose to take on the task of educating their child themselves. Parents do
         not have to provide State of Texas with any proof of their qualifications or any records to indicate the child is learning.
         Matthew Swetnam, a home schooled child who recently enrolled in Duke University, believes he got an inadequate education
         and is not prepared for college. His parents spent a great deal of time on Bible study—reading, writing, and in-depth
         philosophical analysis of Christianity--- but due to their lack of expertise, very little time on Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or
         Advanced Mathematics. Swetnam is suing the Texas Department of Education for allowing his parents to home school him
         and for not forcing them to send him to a regular public school.
    8.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD WE LEGALIZE THE SALE OF HUMAN ORGANS?
         CASE: McFibbin v. the United States**. The National Organ Transplantation Act prohibits the sale of human organs from
         either dead or living donors. Jim McFibbin, a low-income New Yorker who works for minimum wage at McDonalds and
         was trying to supplement his income, was arrested for trying to sell his kidney on E-BAY. McFibbin is suing the
         government, claiming the National Organ Transplantation Act violates his Constitutionally protected rights.
    9.   Constitutional Question: SHOULD SEX BETWEEN (SOME TYPES OF) BLOOD RELATIVES BE LEGAL?
         CASE: Alexander v. the State of New York** John Alexander met the “love of his life” during his senior year at Brooklyn
         College. After proposing to her, he brought her home to meet his parents. His father informed him that his fiancée, Jenny
         Brown, was his daughter by another woman, (Jenny had never met her natural father, both parents chose to keep it from their
         daughter as the mother was marrying someone else around the time she was born), and since they were brother and sister,
         they wouldn’t be allowed to marry due to the state’s incest laws against sibling marriage. Alexander decided to sue the State
         of New York for the right to marry his half-sister.
    10. Constitutional Question: SHOULD MARIJUANA BE MADE LEGAL FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES?
         CASE: Nemsgern v. the United States**. Carol Nemsgern has breast cancer. The only relief she finds from the pain is by
         smoking marijuana. She buys it illegally from a local drug dealer, and gets arrested for possession of marijuana. She decides
         to sue U.S. Government for violating her proclaimed right to use marijuana for medical purposes.
    11. Constitutional Question: SHOULD THERE BE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OPEN TO ONLY ONE RACE?
         CASE: Clawson v. Baltimore County School District**. Bob Clawson applies to have his white son, Peter, admitted to an
         “all black male” public charter school in Baltimore. The school is having good success rates at raising test scores in this
         economically disadvantaged neighborhood, and this economically disadvantaged white parent wants the chance to see if his
         son benefits from the same program. The school does not admit Peter, and the father sues the Baltimore County School
         District, claiming discrimination and a violation of his rights.
    12. Constitutional Question: SHOULD CONVICTED PEDOPHILES BE ELECTRONICALLY TAGGED?
         CASE: Armstrong v. Virginia*. The State of Virginia recently passed a law requiring all convicted pedophiles who are
         released from prison to be “electronically tagged”. Electronic tags will be surgically implanted in convicted pedophiles,
         which will be used after release at the end of their sentence to track their whereabouts using satellite technology. The tags
         will also monitor heart rate and blood pressure, giving indication of the possibility of a potential attack. Jeff Armstrong, a
         convicted pedophile who has just served his time and is about to be released from the Virginia State Penitentiary with an
         implanted tag, sues the state for violating his rights.
    13. Constitutional Question: DO CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS?
         CASE: Filbert v. One World Adoption Services**. Parents who put their children up for adoption, or who donate sperm
         and eggs, can choose to have the records sealed and confidential. Adoption agencies are legally bound to keep their files
         confidential. Janet Filbert has just discovered that she is adopted. She is 18 years old, she has suffered from a great deal of
         depression throughout her life, never quite feeling that she fit in or belonged in the environment in which she was raised, and
         she wants to find her natural parents, thinking this might help her sort through her personal problems and find some closure.
         She sues the adoption agency who has her records, claiming their confidentiality policy violates her right to know who her
         biological parents are.
    14. Constitutional Question: SHOULD MARRIAGE TO MORE THAN ONE PERSON BE LEGAL?
         CASE: Green v. Utah***. Tom Greene, a “Fundamentalist Mormon” living in Utah , is a practicing polygamist with 5
         wives and 25 children. He has been arrested and found guilty of practicing Polygamy, as it is against the law in Utah and in
         all states throughout America. He faces the possibility of 20 years in prison. Greene appealed his case to the Supreme Court,
         claiming polygamy is his right, and that the Supreme Court made the wrong decision over 100 years ago when it upheld anti-
         polygamy laws in Reynolds v. United States, 1878.
    15. Constitutional Question: SHOULD PROSTITUTION BE LEGALIZED?
         CASE: Parker v. City of New York**. “Bunny” Parker, a single mother of two girls, is arrested for prostitution in New York
         City. Bunny enjoys sex, has limited intellectual skills, and she wants this to be her legitimate profession. She believes it is a
         fulfilling way for her to make enough money to support her children and stay off of welfare. Bunny sues the City of New
         York, claiming its laws against prostitution violate her rights and are unconstitutional.
    16. Constitutional Question: SHOULD MEN FOUND GUILTY OF SEX CRIMES BE CHEMICALLY CASTRATED?
         CASE: Wheeler v. Texas*. The State of Texas has a new law requiring convicted rapists be “chemically castrated”.
         Chemical castration uses hormones to render a man impotent, effectively removing his sex glands. Paul Wheeler has been
         convicted by a jury of raping a woman he met at a bar, out in the parking lot of the bar. He has been sentenced to castration,
         and is suing the state of Texas, claiming this law violates his rights.


    17. Constitutional Question: SHOULD WE BAN THE KEEPING OF ANIMALS IN ZOOS?
         CASE: Singer and Friends v. The Bronx Zoo**. Peter Singer, a passionate animal rights activist, sues the Bronx Zoo on
         behalf of its animals, for locking up animals in unnatural habitats. He is arguing that animals should have the same rights as
         “human animals”, and should be protected by the Constitution.


*Cases are fictional, laws are fictional, based on ideas that some lawmakers are exploring
**Cases are fictional, laws are actual laws
***Cases are actual cases currently making their way through the legal system

				
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