Jun 25, 2019 in Analysis

Sociology Example

Abortion, Birth Control, Race Top Supreme Court’s Agenda

This is an article found in the Washington Times newspaper. It was written by Mark Sherman on the 3rd of October, 2015. 

Summary

There are a number of issues that the Supreme Court of the United States deals with every day. Over the next nine month, however, the Supreme Court will be faced with issues that are among the most divisive issues in society today. These issues include birth control, abortion, and race. The problems will be dealt with by the court amid the campaigns of elections for the presidential seat. 

In these campaigns, some of the candidates are talking deliberately about the judges of the Supreme Court. This talking is accompanied by the prospects of the presidential candidates to replace some of the judges in few subsequent years. The judges of the Supreme Court will return to the bench on Monday to begin their new terms. It will also be their initial public appearance as a team. This is since June when various high-profile rulings were made displaying passionate and stingy disagreements. These rulings also pointed towards some of the feelings been hurt of nine judges. 

According to Justice Alito, nine judges have had a tendency to be angry with each other since June. This makes three-month break that they took worthwhile as it probably helped in cooling their tempers and doing away with any grudges. Back in June, there was a stiff 5-4 ruling made by judges of the Supreme Court extending the right to marriage for gay and lesbian couples all over the nation. During this term, there is no particular case that would match the significance of the right to marriage case before the court. 

The lineup of the court already consists of or will probably consist of the cases that deal with the regulation of abortion clinics in the state of Texas. This case has the potential of leaving Texas without any providers of abortion services. Secondly, there is another battle challenging health care overhaul by the President, Barrack Obama. It involves the religious entitlements of colleges, charities, and hospitals that are faith-associated together with the issue of providing women covered by the above groups’ health policies with birth control at no cost. In addition to the cases mentioned, there is an issue dealing with the University of Texas over racial considerations among others in admissions into colleges. Lastly, among the possible lineup, there is a legal battle that seeks for stripping labor unions representing government employees of their entitlement to collect fees from workers who are non-union but benefit from its collective bargaining actions. Moreover, there is a likelihood that the actions by President Obama on immigration and state limitations on the right to vote will find their way through the lower courts into the Supreme Court. 

According to commentators, the case lineup indicates more wins for conservatives compared to few subsequent months. This is contrasted against the liberals whose side was successful in the previous term in cases that included gay marriage and discrimination of health care and housing. This is because the commentators consider this term as one of sequels resulting from the knowledge of the positions of justice from previous similar cases such as affirmative action and unions. 

Way before the term started, both Republican and Democratic candidates for the presidency described already the types of judges they would appoint. These views were partially affiliated and more serious. For instance, Democrats expressed their choice of the one who would overturn those decisions that greatly liberalized the capability of wealthy people to fund political campaigns. These views also related to the issue of the US courts’ retirements. Therefore, the majority of the judges were old enough for retirement. For instance, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest one  being 82 years old while other three are in their late seventies. These are Justices Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Stephen Breyer.

 

Critique

I agree with the view of Mark Sherman in the article that the Supreme Court’s lineup would be dominated by race, abortion, and birth control. This is due to the fact that all the above issues have formed a critical subject of debates of over the last few months and weeks. This would, therefore, make them rank at the top of agenda of the Supreme Court. This is even bolstered by the fact that all these issues are of great significance to virtually every American. Due to this, there is a high likelihood that there will be much public focus on it and the following Supreme Court’s proceedings as people await the rulings. There is even an increased probability that virtually the entire nation would be following Supreme Court’s proceedings on these cases as a result of the June scandalous 5-4 decision upon the right to marriages to gay and lesbian couples. This was an issue that affected society as a whole just as the issues of race, abortion, and birth control do. 

All the above issues, namely race, abortion, and birth control, have been controversial problems in the past months and even years. The Supreme Court’s dealing with these cases would offer the US public a basis upon which they would gain an understanding of the position that the law has taken on these issues. 

Move to Overturn UK Assisted Suicide Law Fails

This article is found in The Guardian newspaper. It was written by Owen Bowcott, the legal affairs correspondent of The Guardian, on the 16th of July in 2015. 

Summary

There was an effort to overturn the laws of the United Kingdom regarding the subject of assisted suicide together with voluntary euthanasia. This attempt was made through an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The attempt, however, failed to obtain an approval which it had been seeking for in the court. 

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has finally delivered its ruling concerning the application that had been filed by Jane Nicklinson. The applicant, Mrs. Nicklinson, had made the applications based on the condition of her husband and another person. Her husband, Tony, had suffered a set of symptoms known as the locked-in syndrome. The other person was called Paul Lamb. Lamb was paralyzed after he had been in a car crash. The Court made it clear to the parties that the applications that had been made by Nicklinson were inadmissible. 

The argument by the applicants, through their lawyers, presented their reasons in terms of those individuals that had the wish to put an end to their lives but did not have the capability to do so. They ought to be allowed to seek for the assistance of other people in executing their wish. This should be done without putting a doctor or nurse in a position where they will be considered as criminals. The application by Mrs. Nicklinson was being sought so as to avoid any penalization or being charged with criminal offenses. According the United Kingdom’s law, under Section 2 (1) of the Suicide Act of 1961, there is a clear prohibition of assisted suicide. In addition to this, voluntary euthanasia is perceived as a murder itself. 

The petition was heard by the European Court of Human Rights’ panel that was composed of seven judges. The decision arrived at by this panel was a unanimous one dismissing the claim by Mrs. Nicklinson. The dismissal was based on the grounds that it was not the court’s power to implement or decide such a sensitive matter. The court stated that it was rather the role of the National Parliament to deliberate on such an issue. It went on to state that the enactment of Section 2 (1) of the 1961 Suicide Act by Parliament had already assessed the risks and possible occurrence of abusing assisted suicide in the event that the prohibition was relaxed. To even bolster the position by the Parliament, the Suicide Act has been reviewed by it quite a few times. The court asserted that such an application bore the impact of forcing them to play an institutional function that was not assigned to them by domestic constitutional order. 

In particular reference to the case of Lamb, the court stated that his lawyers had not exploited every domestic remedy available for them before resorting to court. This was since their argument that there ought to be a judicial process for the authorization of voluntary euthanasia in particular occasions had not yet been presented to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The decision was consistent with the recent European Court of Human Rights’ judgments bearing the “margin of appreciation”. This margin is the latitude permitted for contracting states to decide more marginal matters in accordance with their specific legal national conventions. 

In this case, the stance of the court has been criticized by many people. They accused the court of backing away from dealing with head-on cases in the United Kingdom that are classified as high-profile. This, they add, is at a time when there are threats by the Conservatives to pull out the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The UK parliament is, at present, considering making changes to the law. A draft law which offers terminally ill patients an entitlement to die may be adopted by a member of parliament. This bill would permit doctors to write and give prescriptions of a lethal dose to terminally ill patients. These patients must have only six or less months to live. This must also be done at the request of terminally ill patient. The particular prescription would be subjected to the authorization of two doctors and the judge of the high court.

Critique

I disagree with the author’s theme that the assisted suicide and euthanasia laws of the United Kingdom were valid enough as they already were. The applicant, Mrs. Nicklinson, stood a great chance in beating and overturning laws of the United Kingdom regarding voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide. I do not agree with the author’s pointing out in line with the decision of the court that it is the role of the National Parliament to deliberate on such an issue. This is simply due to the element of the separation of powers. Every government is divided into three subsets. These are the executive, legislature, and the judiciary. Each of these organs has their specific roles and, as provided by most constitutions (e.g. in the United Kingdom), cannot interfere with the roles of the other institutions. It is in this light that the court should have stood its ground and delivered a ruling that was fair and based on its own interpretation of the law. Instead, the court decided that it was the role of parliament to review such a matter. This is a poorly founded sentiment because it is the role of the court to interpret and apply the laws to real situations. In the event that it should find some law is not fair, it is the court’s responsibility to ensure the review of that law. 

Officials Say Homophobia Motivated Murder in Russia

This article is found in the New York Times. It was written by Ellen Barry on the 12th of May in 2015. 

Summary

In the city of Volgograd, in southern regions of Russia, there was the commission upon the murder of a 23-year-old man. The murder of this man was inspired by the homophobia, the attitudes of hatred or dislike towards people who are sexually attracted to members of their gender. The cause of the murder being an issue of homophobia was confirmed by investigators. This acknowledgement appeared rather unusual since it occurred at a time when there was an increase in the conservative and antigay opinions from the officials of the Russian Federation. 

The body of the man was found in a state of nakedness in the yard of an apartment building. The man’s skull had been crashed using a stone. There was also the appearance that the body had been sodomized. From the local investigator’s view, this was implemented by the use of beer bottles. 

Three men, alleged to have taken part in the commission of the crime, have been arrested. Among them three there was victim’s former classmate. Another man among the arrested persons also said that he only stood watching as other people beat the victim to death. According to federal investigators, the man (the victim) had been heard by an assembly of men who were engaging in their beer drinking saying that he was a homosexual. This was during the commemoration of the allied victory over the Nazi Germany in 1945.That is the time when the crime began. The man was brutally beaten, and he died immediately. 

According to the reports by media, NTV, a television channel in Russia, recounted that the victim’s face was badly destroyed, and the police were at first incapable of identifying him. Due to rare barbarity of the crime, it instantly made news in the country of Russia. The country’s administration received so much criticism with claims that its politicians had ardently encouraged homophobia in the preceding months. The politicians had been promoting such homophobia as demonstration of their general rejecting liberal influences considered as resultants from the West. 

It the early period of the year, the legislators in Russia had made an approval of a bill that outlawed homosexual propaganda by a strong 388 vote number for it and only one against. There were, in fact, set fines in this bill. The bill provided fines of up to $16,000 for violating its provisions. Some of the human rights advocates who fought against the bill were meted out with assault and eggs while police officers simply watched. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, had, furthermore, expressed that Russia may restrain or limit the adopting of children by the people from Western countries that had legally approved of the same-sex marriages. 

The murder of the 23-year-old man was being treated as a homicide. This could attract a sentence of up to 15 years upon the criminal’s guilty conviction. The murder will, however, be investigated as a case that was triggered by a trivial row. The main reason of the murder as homophobic will then disappear from every document. We know it according to the words of a leading activist of gay rights, Nikolai Alekseyev. He added that activists would rally and push for hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation to be included as an aggravating situation in committing violent crimes. Alekseyev is convinced that the consequences of the laws that are homophobic, as pursued by Russia, are demonstrated through such crimes. In the event that such rules are not changed, it is bound to a rise in the number of crimes every year. 

Critique

I agree with the general sentiments put forward by the article. The author, in her main theme, asserts and echoes several authorities that it is ill-founded for any person to commit acts of crime such as those of aggression towards other people simply because of their sexual orientation. This is because the latter is considered to be a personal choice or effect. As such, it should not be bound by the oppression of the society or other inhumane acts or policies that are aimed at harming homosexual community members and interfering with their freedom. Just like every other person, a homosexual is entitled to all the freedoms that are provided for by the legal regime and nature itself.

The homosexuals are the humans in every aspect and bear every essential quality that makes human beings the way they are. Due to this, sexual minorities should be accorded similar treatment as any other people and given respect and love they deserve. Oppressing and killing them will not help anyway since it would still prove quite difficult to identify them unless coming out. Furthermore, brutish laws and actions against homosexuals only portray the society as an imbalanced structure that chooses to see what they want. In the process, they pick other people on the way and turn them into monsters that the laws instituted encourage them to do.

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