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By Matthew Walsh, VI Form
A Fourth Amendment Opinion
An Eastborough College student, petitioner Mike Smith, was driving his car near campus when Officer Frank Jones recognized Smith’s car as one that he had stopped a few weeks prior. After following Smith for three blocks, Officer Jones observed Smith swerve past the median line—a traffic violation. He promptly pulled Smith over. While the car’s passenger, John Brown, was discernibly intoxicated, Smith exhibited no signs of drunkenness. However, when asked to walk in a straight line, Smith failed, and he refused to take a Breathalyzer test. In response, Officer Jones returned to his squad car, procured a “sniffer” device, and, without Smith’s consent, tested Smith’s blood alcohol content (BAC) using the device. The device showed that Smith’s BAC exceeded 0.08%, the legal limit for driving.
Officer Jones then arrested Smith for drunk driving, handcuffed him, and searched him. He found a pack of rolling papers, which Officer Jones interpreted as drug paraphernalia for marijuana cigarettes. Thus, Jones secured Smith in a police cruiser and subsequently searched his car. Upon finding a small, locked container, Jones broke the lock and discovered heroin. The State of X has charged Smith with drunk driving and possession with intent to distribute heroin, but Smith has moved to suppress all evidence obtained during the traffic stop, arguing that the searches and seizures that occurred violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. (more…)
By Matthew Gates, V Form
The Reach for Perfection in the Jacksonian Era
Although Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of The United States, only held office from 1829 to 1837, he made a profound impact on American history. During “The Jacksonian Era,” (1816-1841) the economy boomed, technology advanced, American borders expanded, but most importantly, the common man gained a sense of importance, and American optimism and patriotism were “unbounded” and “infectious” (Remini 108). It was a time of “passionate commitment to democracy” (Remini 122).
In response to the boom in the economy and the growth of industry and materialism in America during the Jacksonian Era, the theme of Culture and Society is evident throughout the Transcendental Movement. This movement, which originated in Massachusetts, emphasized the divinity of man and his connections to God and stressed the beauty in nature in a society preoccupied with materialism. Transcendentalists such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson encouraged Americans to live more modestly and enjoy the simplicity of nature. Emerson referred to the growing obsession of the American people to gain wealth as “‘the demon of reform,’” thereby proving that the emergence of the Transcendental Movement was necessary to respond to the expansion of American industrialism and materialism (Remini 73). Even today, there are still Transcendentalists who believe in the importance of living humbly and recognizing the beauty in nature in daily life. (more…)
By Joey Lyons, VI Form
The Second Amendment Debate
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
In the 1960s, the assassinations of renowned public figures, such as Martin Luther King and President John F. Kennedy, sparked an intense, national debate over gun control. The debate between gun control supporters and gun rights advocates continued into the twenty-first century and continues in the present day. Gun control supporters argue that unrestricted gun rights cause avoidable atrocities and that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual the right to bear arms. Gun rights advocates believe the right to bear arms is not only necessary for self-defense, hunting, and security against tyranny, but is also protected by the Second Amendment.
By Joey Lyons, VI Form
The Founding Fathers’ Intent and the Formation of the Constitution
Throughout the country’s history, Americans have romanticized the nation-building work of the Founding Fathers. Since egalitarianism, liberty and democracy are central to the American mythos, Americans have often associated those ideals with the country’s founders. In making this association, Americans neglect the private interactions between the founders and, instead, focus on their public rhetoric. In public documents, most of the Founding Fathers expressed a desire to establish an inclusive democracy with majority rule. However, the founders, all of whom were in the economic elite, communicated different beliefs amongst themselves. Privately, the Founding Fathers wrote about their concerns over the possibility of oppressive majority rule by common people. As wealthy landowners, events, like the Rhode Island Currency Crisis and Shay’s Rebellion (both in 1786), (more…)