POSC 422: American Constitutional Law I
TERM PAPER INSTRUCTIONS
STUDENTS ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING WIKIPEDIA AS A SOURCE!!!!!!
The term paper for POSC 422 is due on Monday, May 16, 2016 and will be worth 100 points. The term paper consists of researching a Supreme Court justice (past or present). The term paper should be typewritten, double-spaced, and approximately five (5) pages in length with appropriate appendices (i.e. footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography page with references/sources cited within the paper). The outline and questions below should be followed by students to assist in the organization of the paper. Students should attempt to answer all of the questions below. The term papers will be graded for substantive content as well as writing quality. Late papers will be penalized five (5) points per day. Plagiarism will result in a grade of “F” for the paper, a possible “F” for the course and possible disciplinary action that may include expulsion from the university.
Introduction: Students should provide an opening paragraph similar to the example below:
EX: “The purpose of this paper is to analyze the judicial career of Chief Justice William Hubbs Rehnquist. This paper will provide personal information about Chief Justice Rehnquist as well as information about his judicial background and experience. In addition, the voting behavior and judicial philosophy of Rehnquist will be detailed in an attempt to determine his influence within the American judicial system. Finally, a critical analysis of Rehnquist will be provided to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Chief Justice as a member of the federal judiciary.”
I. Personal and professional information: This section should provide information about the personal life and political/judicial background of the justice. What qualifies (or qualified) this person to be a Supreme Court justice (ex: legal education, prosecutorial experience, career as an attorney, service on state or federal courts, political experience/connections, law clerk for a Supreme Court justice)? How did this person get involved in studying the law? Was this justice influenced by a former justice, judicial scholar, or mentor? What was the relationship of this justice to the nominating president? Was the confirmation process in the Senate amicable or contentious?
II. Policy positions and influence: What types of opinions were written by this justice? What is (was) the judicial philosophy of this justice? Define this justice in terms of his/her ideology or voting behavior (liberal, moderate, conservative)? Has (or did) this justice practice judicial activism or restraint? Was he/she affiliated with a political party prior to service on the bench? If so, how? How has this person influenced constitutional law? What are (were) the most significant opinions written by this justice?
III. Critical Analysis
Why is this justice significant (or insignificant) in the history of the Supreme Court? Do you agree/disagree with this justices’s judicial philosophy? Why or Why not? What are (were) the greatest accomplishments and failures of this justice? How can this person improve as a justice (or how could this justice have improved)? How will (or has) history define(d) this justice?
* Organization/ Professionalism (pages numbered, grammar, spelling, sentence construction, absence of typographical errors)=30%
* Content (information supplied in response to the questions above)=50%
* Research (Sources Cited within the paper and at least FOUR scholarly/credible sources)=20%