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February 20, 2010

Reconnecting on Feb 24 with the help of lots of notable current events

I have heard great reports about the class this past week from our two kind guest lecturers.  When we (finally!) get the chance to reconnect this coming Wednesday, I would be happy and eager to provide any kind of direct follow-up to what you covered this past week (and students are encouraged to use the this post for any follow-up comments or requests based on the guest presentation).

In addition to any needed follow-up, I plan for this week's class to involve mostly reconnection after we've been away from each other quite a while thanks to snow days and other complications.  Specifically, here are my main agenda items for this week's class on Feb 24:

1.  Confirm due dates and expectations for mid-term assignment and final white-paper

2.  Wrap up focused discussion on the death penalty with emphasis on appreciating the importance (and interplay) of the distinct concepts of discretion, disparity, discrimination and sentencing severity. 

For this part of the class discussion, consider how you (or others) would answer this question: Would you prefer a modern justice system in which the 500 worst murderers each year all got executed or one in which only 50 of these 500 worst murderers were executed, but that some (hard to identify) discriminatory factors will probably play a role in selecting which exact 10% of the worst 500 murderers get executed?

3.  Discuss which (of so many) interesting current-events developments we might want make a special focal point for focused discussion in the weeks before Spring Break. 

For this part of the class discussion, consider these posts of note from around the blogosphere:

As always, students are welcomed and encouraged to get a running start on a discussion of these (and other) topics via the comments to this post.

February 20, 2010 in Class activities, Current Affairs, Interesting new cases, Recent news and developments, SCOTUS cases of note | Permalink

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