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pos 301 discussion questions 1

Discussion Questions


  1. Patterson, T. E. (2013). The American democracy(11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill. ISBN-13: 9780073526409
  2. McClory, T. (2010). Understanding the Arizona Constitution (2nd ed.). Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. ISBN-13: 9780816529445

DQ Responses:

Each week, you must post your response to the discussion question by day 3 (Wednesday). Each DQ response is worth a maximum of 10 points. Grading will be conducted as follows:

  • 6 points for answering the question asked (be sure your answer is directly related to the question, and not a discussion of another topic, and be sure that you cover all aspects of the question).
  • 2 points for using substantive sources and citing those sources.
  • 2 points for overall clarity, organization, grammar, and use of spell check.

Topic 1 DQ 1

Read Chapters 1 and 2 in The American Democracy.

In 1787, the Constitution was drafted with a Preamble to explicitly state that the origins of power in this new democracy resided not with a king, but with the people. “We the People” has generally evolved over the years to include more than it did in the late 18th Century. In your opinion, are there still groups who are disenfranchised and are not considered as an equal source of power in our democracy?

Topic 2 DQ 1

Read Chapters 11, 12 and 14 in The American Democracy.

In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was passed by Congress. Would this be an example of checks and balances between the legislative and judicial branches? Should the U.S. Supreme Court, a nonelected body, have the power to make such decisions?

Topic 3 DQ 1

Read Chapter 3 in The American Democracy.

Federalism results from the interaction between the different layers of government. Many issues are discussed not in terms of right and wrong, but who is responsible for addressing the issue. Immigration has long been a federal issue. However, in 2010, the state of Arizona passed a controversial bill (Senate Bill 1070) that essentially gave power to the state to implement immigration law. Several sections of this bill were deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. This situation is a prime example of the conflict federalism can create. Please provide your opinion on immigration within the context of federalism.

Topic 4 DQ 1

Read page 46 and Chapter 12 in The American Democracy.

Should we keep the electoral college or go to straight popular vote? Why?

Topic 5 DQ 1

Read Chapters 4 and 5 in The American Democracy.

How would you describe the purpose of the Bill of Rights at the time the U.S. Constitution was drafted and today?

Topic 6 DQ 1

Read Chapters 1, 2, and 4 in Understanding the Arizona Constitution.

At the time of the drafting of the Arizona Constitution, the Progressive Party and Movement was very influential in American politics. As such, the framers of the Arizona Constitution added specific powers to the people, such as the recall of judges. What are the pros and cons of such democratic principles being embedded in a state constitution?

Topic 7 DQ 1

Read Chapters 3, 5, and 6 in Understanding the Arizona Constitution.

Federal judges do not have a mandatory retirement age, yet Arizona and 32 other states require all state judges to vacate their positions upon turning age 70. Should Arizona’s judges be forced to retire at age 70? Might this be considered age discrimination or is it a necessary protection for the people?

Topic 8 DQ 1

Read Chapter 7 in Understanding the Arizona Constitution.

Arizona citizens retain several very progressive rights, namely the right to initiative, referendum, recall of elected officials, recall of judges, election of corporation commissioners and election of a state mine inspector. Please select three of these democratic rights and make an argument as to why giving power directly to the people in this manner is a benefit for all of society.


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