April 28, 2008
Question 1 of exam
Word Limit: 1500 words
You are an aide to a newly elected Ohio state senator, Senator I.M. Sensibal. Senator Sensibal has just heard from some irrate constituents about the Ohio Supreme Court's recent ruling in Hyle v. Porter, 117 Ohio St.3d 165, 2008-Ohio-542 (Ohio S. Ct. Feb. 20, 2008) (available here). Senator Sensibal tells you that these constituents are part of a new public policy group calling itself Parents Energized to Remove Violators of Sexuality so Our Universe is Terrific (PERVS OUT). Senator Sensibal hands you a piece of the group’s printed literature that describes Hyle v. Porter as "a horrific travesty of a judicial decision in which a bunch of activist Ohio Supreme Court justices flagrantly lied about the intent and goals of the Ohio legislature’s efforts to keep Ohio children safe from repeat pervs like Gerry Porter."
Senator Sensibal tells you that the PERVS OUT group is asking every member of the Ohio state legislature to explain what he or she thinks about the Hyle v. Porter decision and how he or she plans to respond to the decision. Senator Sensibal explains that she told the PERVS OUT group that she would be studying the opinion together with her staff and would respond to their inquiry shortly. Senator Sensibal, in turn, tells you that she wants you to write a memo that (A) describes briefly the Hyle v. Porter ruling (which Senator Sensibal has not had a chance to read) and sets out the strong possible justification or legal explanation for the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling. Then, after this brief review of Hyle v. Porter and its possible merits, the Senator wants your memo to (B) suggest and assess how the Ohio legislature in general and how Senator Sensibal in particular ought to respond to Hyle v. Porter. (Most of your memo, Senator Sensibal emphasizes, should be devoted to part B because she wants you to briefly describe both the pros and cons of whatever suggestions you make for responding to Hyle v. Porter.)
Senator Sensibal explains to you that she is a new state senator who, after making lots of money in college during the first dot.com boom, ran for office based on a campaign focused on the need for the state to promote and display fiscal and tax responsibility. She also explains that, because she is single and does not have a family, she has not given much thought to sex offenders in general or to the issues raised in Hyle v. Porter. She further explains that the most vocal leaders of the new PERVS OUT group come from her state senate district, and thus she believes that her views on and reactions to Hyle v. Porter could readily become a focal point of the group’s attention. Finally, Senator Sensibal also explains to you that she is very interested in "doing the right thing" for the citizens of Ohio, but that she is also interested in preserving her political power and energies to focus on the fiscal and tax issues that drew her to the state capitol.
Basic instructions for take-home final question
The first question of the final exam (Question 1) will be available via a new post scheduled to appear at 4:30pm, Monday, April 28. Here are the basic instructions for the exam:
- This is combined take-home/in-class examination. You will find the first question of exam (the take-home portion) on the blog and available at my office as soon as you complete your Constitutional Law final exam. The first question (Question 1) has a strict word limit, and you must come to the in-class portion of the exam (which starts 10am on Thursday, May 1) with your answer to Question 1. You will then have two hours to complete the in-class portion of the exam.
- Question 1 has a strict word limitation. The word restriction is a limit, not a goal. A great answer is possible in fewer words. Aided by your computer’s word count feature, you should record the number of words for Question 1 in your answer.
- You are not required or expected to use sources or materials other than those distributed in class. Though you are not precluded from conducting outside research, your time is better spent reviewing and making use of materials from class.
- Do not put your name on the exam. Place your exam number on the front page (and, ideally, on every page) of your answers.
- Do not contact me (or another student) for assistance with a question. Deal with ambiguities or uncertainties in a question by referring to them in your answer.
April 23, 2008
The format for the final
Here is the first instruction from the cover page of the final:
This is combined take-home/in-class examination. You will find the first question of exam (the take-home portion) on the blog and available from my secretary as soon as you complete your Constitutional Law final exam. This first question (Question 1) has a strict word limit, and you must come to the in-class portion of the exam (which starts 10am on Thursday, May 1) with your answer to Question 1. You will then have two hours to complete the in-class portion of the exam.
April 18, 2008
What is Justice Stevens saying about how the legislative process impacts constitutional interpretation?
I am interested in student reaction to this telling sentence in Justice Stevens' opinion in the Baze, the lethal injection case decided earlier this week:
The thoughtful opinions written by THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by JUSTICE GINSBURG have persuaded me that current decisions by state legislatures, by the Congress of the United States, and by this Court to retain the death penalty as a part of our law are the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process that weighs the costs and risks of administering that penalty against its identifiable benefits, and rest in part on a faulty assumption about the retributive force of the death penalty.
April 17, 2008
Some interesting sites about exeuction videos
John Ruiz-Bueno sent along these notable links as a follow-up to our discussion of videotaping executions:
- First, here is a petition to many different higher-ups to get executions videotaped and public (with consent)
- Second, here is a NY Times article about the destruction of the only execution tape
April 8, 2008
If you've totally loved (or totally hated) any part of this course...
you should give serious thought to signing up the Legislation Clinic next year. I can/will tell any interested students all about the clinic's greatness, and on Wednesday (4/9) there is this opportunity to get more "official" information:
In connection with the upcoming scheduling process for next year, the Legislation Clinic is hosting an information session Wednesday April 9 at 12:10 p.m. in room 344. The Legislation Clinic is one of only two Moritz clinics available to 2Ls, so come and hear current and former students talk about their experiences in this clinic. Sandwiches and drinks provided.
April 6, 2008
Post of note to finish up Porter and move ahead on Hayes
I have these two new posts on my Sentencing Law and Policy blog that provide some different information and perspectives on some of the issues that have arisen in our discussions of Hyle v. Porter and US v. Hayes:
- Georgia legislature passes revised sex offender residency restrictions
- The Second Amendment and speculating about post-Heller politics
Though I doubt we will directly discuss either of these posts during our classes this coming week, I hope students will feel free to use the comments to react to these posts and/or to any other aspect of our class discussions in recent weeks.