Monday, May 7, 2012

2nd Amendment Wrap-Up

First of all, do not forget -- your final papers are due printed at the start of tomorrow's class. If you do not bring a printed version of your paper with you to class, it will be late.

Today we will finish our examination of 2nd Amendment Law. You will work in teams of twos to prepare an argument based on the law and precedent, as well as any other arguments we have discussed in class.

Part 1: Anticipatory Set
Complete the following in a Word document:
  1. With your partner, decide whether or not you believe the U.S. must alter the national standard for gun control. Write an opinion based on the information we discussed in class. Refer specifically to any relevant materials. This should be approximately 1-2 sentences.
  2. Make a list of additional information you would need to know to improve your understanding of the issue. Ex.: Do you know the SCOTUS' past rulings on the matter? Do you know what conditions are in each state? Do you want to examine the issue on a local, state, or national level, or all three?
  3. Use the sources below to locate two court cases relevant to our current examination of the law. They must be cases we have not looked at as a class. Record the case titles under #3. Ideally, these should be cases that support your point of view. If they do not, you may need to alter your position.
Part 2: Briefing a Case (4 points each section, 20 points total)
To brief a case, you need to consider and answer the following questions:
  1. Case: what is the name of the case? Where can the full case record be found? In what year was the case decided?
  2. Facts: provide a summary of the incident that brought the case before the court.  Include a description of the crime and the circumstances causing the earlier court’s decision to be appealed.  **Describe what previous courts ruled on the case (if possible) and explain the ruling(s).
  3. Issue: What are the central legal issues the court must decide to arrive at a decision?
  4. Holding: What did the court decide? What is the outcome?
  5. Reasoning: Why does the court decide the way it does? What is its logic and analysis of the facts?
You also need to read and provide a summary of the majority and dissenting opinions (judges explain the ruling and why they agree or disagree with it) under the “reasoning” section.

Questions to ask when reading a case:  (taken from
Note: You do not need to answer these questions in the order written to complete the assignment. They must all be items you consider during when reading the case.

  1. What facts and circumstances brought these parties to court? 
  2. Are there buzzwords in the facts that suggest an issue? 
  3. Is the court deciding a question of fact - i.e. the parties are in dispute over what happened - or is it a question of law - i.e. the court is unsure which rule to apply to these facts? 
  4. What are the non-issues? 
  5. What are the elements that prove the rule? 
  6. What are the exceptions to the rule? 
  7. From what authority does it come? Common law, statute, new rule? 
  8. What's the underlying public policy behind the rule? 
  9. Are there social considerations? 
  10. Which facts help prove which elements of the rule? 
  11. Why are certain facts relevant? 
  12. How do these facts satisfy this rule?
  13. What types of facts are applied to the rule? 
  14. How do these facts further the public policy underlying this rule? 
  15. What's the counter-argument for another solution? 
  16. What's the holding of the case? 
  17. Has the holding modified the existing rule of law? 
  18. What is the procedural effect of the holding? Is the case overturned, upheld or remanded for retrial? 
  19. Does the holding further the underlying policy of the rule? 
  20. Do you agree with the outcome of the case?

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