Friday, October 17, 2008
Hello professors! Here's this week's installment of The Teaching Assistant. This week will cover a number of topics.
The presidential debate offered some interesting Constitutional Law news. First, John McCain stated that he would seek a line item veto. Deja vu, anyone? At any rate, this will provide a great way to make your discussion of Clinton v. New York much more lively. (I'll have more to say about this in a subsequent post.) Second, McCain also indicated that he was opposed to abortion laws including requirements to protect the health (excuse me, "health") of the mother, though this is arguably the least controversial part of the Roe legacy. Sarah Kliff at Newsweek has a great piece explaining exactly what the health of the mother means. Even more helpfully for teaching purposes, she describes how some states deal with the issue.
In War Powers news, today, a deal was reached that appears to signal the beginning of the end of the American involvement in Iraq. One question for students might be: Why is it that under the War powers Resolution, the President can seemingly withdraw the troops without seeking Congressional approval? Is this truly the case? Should it be? Interesting stuff!
As my wonderful co-blogger has pointed out, the fate of the Article III courts could change drastically with the selection of a new president. Tony Mauro of The Legal Times has a wonderful piece asking preeminent legal scholars their opinions on how an Obama or McCain win could impact the Court's stance on abortion, affirmative action, and church/state issues. Your students will definitely be interested in this piece in an election year.
Over at the ACLU blog, they mention something that, as they note, has gone unnoticed: A ballot initiative in the state of Arkansas proposes a ban on any and all adoptions (or foster care placements) by persons who are unmarried. If you are discussing equal protection or fundamental rights, this is interesting on so many levels. While allegedly neutral to all persons who are unwed, it appears clear that the law has an animus toward same-sex families. Moreover, since same-gender marriage is not permitted in Arkansas, there is an additional discrimination. Finally, while I am aware that there is no real fundamentmental right to adopt a child, this hypothetical could be a helpful teaching tool.
Finally, Eugene Volokh's Conspiracy reports that the California Court of Appeal decided that providing funding for women-only domestic violence programs violated the California Constitution. Your students may be interested to know that under the California constitution, gender merits higher scrutiny than under the federal constitution. This may be an interesting point of departure.
That's all for this Friday. See you next week!