Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Voices on Government- The Federal Court System

David Souter was named a Supreme Court justice by President George H. W. Bush in 1990.  From his experience as New Hampshire attorney general and a State court judge, Souter knew that judges' decisions are more than abstract exercises.  Here are his thoughtful comments on the point:

"Whether we are on trial court or an appellate court, at the end of our task some human being is going to be affected.....If indeed we are going to be trial judges, whose rulings will affect lives of other people and who are going to change their lives by what we do, we had better use very power of our minds and our hearts and our beings to get those rulings right."

Evaluating the Quotation:  Think of an issue that reflects the "human" effects of court decisions that Justice Souter refers to.  In what ways did a court decision affect the daily lives of Americans?

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34 comments:

  1. A Supreme Court case that has affected the daily lives of americans was the Brown vs. Board of Education Topeka in 1954. This case involved schools in the states of Missouri and Texas were to be integrated. During this time, this affected the daily lives of many Americans because it limited the amount of schools colored people were allowed to go to. Education, work, and social acceptance was very difficult during this time for many of those who were colored. Although this case was taken to the Supreme Court, it slowly became a movement of social justice in the 1950's and 1960's. It was only until after 3/4th's of the century until this case was passed.

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    1. Alexis gave a great example of a case that affected a large group of people in a big way. The lives of the colored Americans and their education was challenged and unfairly so. This court decision lead to groups of people wanting change and social justice. The judges in the supreme court have the chance to make decisions that will largely affect huge groups of people and Souter makes a point that they should make the right decision and think about how it will affect everyone involved.

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  2. Court decisions affect humans in everyday life. A good example of this is the supreme court decision not to outlaw gay marriage throughout the country. This affected humans both on the pro side and the con side. The pro's were affected since they could now marry each other in some states while having the state legally recognize their union. The people against gay marriage were also affected because to them this decision was outrageous and they will protest against it most likely. So overall both sides were affected in completely different ways but they were still affected and that is what it means by the quote, "rulings will affect the lives of other people and who are going to change the lives by what we do"(David Souter).

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  3. One issue that reflects the human effects of court decisions is when one leaves behind there family. A family might be greatly affected by the loss of presence of their family member. One might be responsible for paying the bills and now they're leaving their family with a problem they might not be able to handle. Another way these decisions affect the daily lives of Americans is that we can keep the ones who are a threat to society away and keep everyone safe from harm. In conclusion Justices greatly affect the lives of Americans by the decisions that they make.

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  4. Souter is stating that any task of the court effects humans and there lives. I believe he's right. When someone is on trial and maybe prosecuted it can effect there lives. There in jail cant see there family and charged for a crime. the people around them are effected as well. they cant see who's convicted, they to sit through trial or is the one who is the victim.

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  5. I think in general what ever the court decides depending on which case they are trying to resolve one person gets more affected than the other. Some judges might tell a person for example they have to go to jail for a certain period of time or they have to pay back some amount of money to the other person. People will tend to get really offended by the judges decisions as well. Overall, I do agree with the fact that people's lives get affected for whatever the courts decision is.

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  6. A courts decisions are very important. For example, if somebody is sewing another person, somebody will be affected no matter what the decision is. However, it is the judges decision and it is his choice to do the right or wrong thing. A judges decision can affect many people. For example, if a man is committed for murder, it is going to affect his family and the person that he killeds family. Also, it may affect people who heard about the murder because they may feel sympathetic.

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  7. An issue that reflects the "human" effect is a young teenager going to trial for murder where everyone knows that they are guilty and can be proven. Then you as the judge find out the teen murdered his father in order to save his siblings from his abuse. The judge will feel sympathy for that teen even though he murdered his own father but now the judge will give him less time and more options in his sentence.This effects daily Americans lives because they feel that a murderer was let off easy just for being a teen and having a sad story.

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  8. An issue that reflects the "human" effects of court decisions that Justice Souter refers to is life and death for someone who is convicted of a crime. It is in the supreme courts hands to correctly sentence the defendant of the crime they committed. If they are accused of a crime that's punishable by death, the supreme court has responsibility to rightfully accuse the defendant, because for them it could be their lives.
    The court decision of Brown Vs. Board of Education greatly affected all Americans across the nation. It allowed colored children, who at the time were very discriminated against, to be joined with white children in school. This overall allowed all children to get an equal education no matter what color their skin is.

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  9. I think that all decisions made have consequences for the greater good or bad. Judges are a form of the law that makes decision that punishes the people who break the rules. I think that it must be hard for a judge to make big decisions that at the end of the day affect people. For example a court has to present a case of murder, according to all the evidence presented; judge makes decision upon the offender s liberty. If the offender is ruled to be guilty his liberty will be taken from him affecting the people who care for that person. If the offender is found not guilty the person who was damaged will also be affected by this decision. Judges play a huge rule in society and court system many peoples lives will change because of that one person’s decision. A judge and jury have the power to take away individual’s right to life liberty and many other human rights.

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  10. One of the issues that reflects the "human" effects of court decisions is the Obama care. That is one of the many things that affects everyone, especially people without health insurance. If the congress doesn't agree with the president, then people are not going to have health insurance and that can lead to the increase of death rate. Is the congress thinking about the consequences of not passing this law or are they just thinking about the millions of dollars this will cost? I think it's time to start thinking about the good things Obama care will bring. For example, people are going to be healthy and more families are going to be able to have insurance. There has to be a balance between what the congress and the president want. That will reduce the tension that has been happening between them and also it will lead to a solution.

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  11. An issue that reflects the "human" is someone being sued.The ways on how it can affect an American is for example a women being beaten by her husband they will have to go through trial and will have to testify on how they feel.

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  12. I think Justice Souter means to say that since judges make final decisions on a case, it can have a big affect on the people being tried in the court case. It is important for judges to investigate every detail as much as possible because , if he is wrong, he could send an innocent person to jail. He says that a judge needs to do his "rulings right" because one mistake can lead to someone being wrongly convicted or being let go even though they are guilty.

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  13. I think that all court decisions have its consequences because they all lead to something good or bad. The judge has the power to put someone in jail if and only if that person has done something that had breaking the law. But also the judge might make a mistake in which he or she doesn't have enough evidence to plead them innocent and that person ends up in jail even though if they weren't involved in the situation and end up in jail. Sometimes people think that's not right and make a big deal about it and I agree that sometimes the court/judge aren't being fair. In some cases that I have heard is that a men was in prison for four years but after those for years they found the man that had committed the crime but its not fair for that men to be in jail for four years and himself and family knowing that he was innocent. The court system plays a huge role in our society and there decisions affect the people in our lives.

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  14. In the case of Treyvon Martin where a white man killed a black boy in Florida for looking suspicious, The judge said that Zimmerman the man who killed Treyvon was not guilty of charged due to lack of proof tha he had killed the seventeen year old boy.The courts decision had affected the daily lives of Americas because people felt that the shooting had to with the race of the victim and the family felt like there was some type of racism going on and that the suspect had killed the teenager just because he looked black and was walking at night.I think that Americans are so overwhelmed with all of the racism going on that when something like this happens people get really affected and they think that that should be over by now.

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  15. "Human" effects of court decisions that Justice Souter refers to people that are convicted of a crime.The Supreme Court has the decision upon what seems to be the correct decision, but sometimes can make a wrong decision causing a dramatic and quick change an accuse person.

    Court decision effects the daily lives of American's in so may ways. For example Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). In Connecticut, Griswold was offering contraption to only marry couples. however Connecticut had a law against any form of contraception, so she was arrested and fined. The ruling of this case was the law of nullified and further brought to Supreme Court case that eventually led to the use of contraception for everybody. This affects the American people because now they can all engage in sexual interactive without worries of becoming pregnant.

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  16. An issue that reflects the "human" effects of court decisions that Justice Sourter refers to those who rape young women to get more time because the judge has a young daughter around the same age as the victim and charges the guy with more time because she would not want him out on the streets so he can go and rape more young girls. Since she feels an emotional connects she puts him in jail for more time

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  17. I think that a court decision affects a daily life of an American by the way that they depend on a judge's decision in court. The role of a judge is critical because he or she has to make a decision based on what evidence he or she gets, it might not be right to have someone else that had nothing to do with the problem to have them solve it. A judge can either make the right or wrong decision based on how the evidence is presented, for example, a women committed two assaults but the evidence is not good enough or their is not enough evidence even though she did committed the assaults, the judge can not make her pay for what she did or send her to jail. In this case the judge can either send her to jail or let her free based on the evidence because she was not in the scene. I think that the role of a judge is extremely critical because it can change the live of an American in a few hours. I also think that court is sometimes not fair because they have the total power on deciding what happens next either for good or bad in the view of the judge.

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  18. One issue that reflects the human effects of court decisions is for example immigration.The supreme court has been working with the president to try and figure out something that might help both immigrants and the country,depending on the situation a person is.

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    1. I agree with Annel, its true that supreme court has been working on immigration and that this has been affecting people of many ethnicity over the years. I also think that many people who are innocent have been unfairly trialed and deported because they are immigrants. Its true that we have now the dreamers act but still there's immigrants who are still getting deported. I would say that the supreme court has to put pressure on this case so this problem can balanced out and in some way fair to both immigrants and the country.

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  19. One issue that occurs that effects Americans are cases of Domestic Violence. Most times a suspect of Domestic Violence in served an amount of time, but is then still let go in certain cases. This call by the judge to let the suspect go effect Americans because the suspect sometimes seek revenge and doing so, the suspect ignores the innocent people surrounding him/her. This puts their lives in danger when the suspect could still be behind bars.

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  20. Courts interpret the constitution and any laws they are dealing with or and may be deciding on. They may decide weather those laws violate anything that is a constitution. Courts makes and protects laws for American citizens. For instance if the supreme court says that same sex marriage is not allowed, then same sex couples will feel offended and it will affect their lives.

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  21. In a Supreme Court a judge has the role to make impacting decisions that can indeed affect the life of a person. David Souter believes one must make the right decisions based on the "power of our minds and our hearts and our beings" thus this will make justice. Emotions makes us "human" and we often use emotions and apply them to make critical decisions, however in a Supreme Court the judge must balance his/her emotions along with a set of rules they must form an opinion after analyzing the facts and applying the law.

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  22. Court cases effect lives every day, For example do you remember every day in elementary school, and some of middle school, You would have tp say the pledge of allegiance to the flag? The court changed that because if you are going to school in America doesn't mean you have to pledge your allegiance to it's flag. OR the word, "under God", seem to take a child's freedom when having to say what they don't believe in. For example, a Buddhist child is pledging allegiance under god, that doesn't make any sense what so ever. This happened in the West Virginia State Board of Edu. vs. Barnette, so today we don't have to recite the pledge of alliance in the classroom or at all.

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  23. The rulings of judges absolutely have affects on human lives. when a person is at the mercy of a court judicial, their life, their family's lives, the victim's life and even the members of the community are affected. one person committing a crime affects many people. if the crime was intentional or not, that person still had a family, or friends or people that knew them, as does the victim, so its up to the judge to say what happens. does the defendant get off easy and the victims family suffers, or does the defendant get a maximum sentence and have their family and friends suffer. meanwhile all the people in the community have to live with the decision.

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  24. " At the end of our task some human being is going to be affected..." , Justice Souter explains. Many decisions done during a trial may not always be the ones people expect to hear. Whether you're the victim or not, decisions will affect one side or the other. We might never agree the court is fair and in cases it hasn't, it's been nothing but corrupt. There's been many cases where a person has been guilty of crime but has not been charged and set free. Many family's have had a loss because one of their family members was murdered and the person guilty of committing the murder wasn't sentenced because there wasn't "sufficient" evidence to prove guilty. For years we had African Americans violently murdered and even after having people testify against the people responsible for them we had white supremacist running the court and not giving African Americans the same rights we all need. So untils this day, one person WILL be affected regardless.

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  25. As a supreme court judge it is very important to make the right decision in a court case because like Souter mentions "[our] rulings will affect lives of other people and who are going to change their lives by what we do". So because of this, he believes that judges should use their mind power and their hearts when it comes down to making the decision and really hear everyone out to make the right conclusion. For example the other day I was watching a court case in Spanish on a television show named "Caso Cerrado"and the case was about a woman who wanted to sue her mother for $200,000 and the legal guardianship of her little brother. The mother strongly disagreed with letting her have her child because her daughter had murdered one of her boyfriend when she was younger and was sent to jail for it. When the judge asked her if it was true she answered by saying yes but the reason behind it was because this man had came into her room by apparent permission of the mother and was attempting to rape her, and because of her fear and the man constantly molesting her all the time, in her own defense she grabbed a pocket knife and stabbed him in the neck. This is when the judge realized that the woman should not have been sent to jail because she was only doing it for the sake of her safety and self-defense. This judge showed compassion and understanding for her and the reason behind what she had done. The decision was made and was granted the guardianship of her brother and the $200,000. This is what I believe Souter is talking about when he mentions the judges should use the power of the mind and heart.

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  26. I don't see this statement as presenting any new information, since a court system was first established in 1789 humans lives have been effected. A group of people come together are presented with as much information as possible and then it is up to them to make decision that yes will effect someones life. This system has been in place for a long time and yes sometimes it is corrupt and broken but its what we use and it usually does work out. I do agree the judge needs to kept in mind his her power over effecting a life and how any decisions he or she makes can have a ripple effect.

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  27. One case that affected many peoples lives was the case for gay marriage to become legal in many states. The supreme court went back and forth on this topic for a long time before finally reaching a verdict that allowed same sex couples to be legally married. This decision by the supreme court affects millions of people who can now marry their partner. If the supreme court had chosen to go against gay marriage then those millions of people would still be protesting and waiting for the time when they could legally get married.

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  28. I think one of the biggest issues that the "human" effects of court decisions that Justice Souter refers to is Obama Care in the United States. This is a big issue in America because many Americans are relying on Obama Care to take into effect. If the government, congress and the supreme court do not pass the law so Obama care can take effect, many low class and middle class Americans will be living without health insurance. But sense there are so many low and middle class Americans, Obama care is going to cost America a lot of many. Sense Obama care will cost so much, congress will probably never realize how many Americans are being affected without health insurance. I think its time for the president and congress to come to an agreement over Obama care. But if they don't, many Americans blood will be on their hands.

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  29. "..very power of our minds and our hearts and our beings to get those rulings right." I agree because most judges have the "very power of mind" but they don't have the same power of heart. Many times people break the law because they don't have a choice and I believe they should be forgiven not put in jail because they broke the law. For example, someone who is really poor and steals some food from a store should be forgiven then someone stealing food from the same store just to steal it when they have money to pay for it. I also agree with the fact that because they have the power to change peoples lives we should choose only the ones that fit the requirements the best.

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  30. A "human" issue that I think Justice Souter could be referring to is Obama care. Obama care is suppose to be a beneficial program to those who can't afford good quality health care. Many families are relying on Obama care for their kids and sick family member. After Obama care was passed, the after affect was of the government shutting down. This affected many of Americans.The lives of many were in the hands of the court. When the government opened back up, it wasn't for the people it was because we owed a lot of money to other countries and didn't want to ruin our reputation. It show that when most make decision in the court, they make decision that would be beneficial to them, not others. Many America are dependent on programs like Obama care, although it cost a lot of money, million of people can benifit for it.

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  31. A supreme court decision affect our lives in many different ways. When we get a ticket , they decide. To put some one in prison, they decide. What ever issue it is at the end they have the decision, and what ever it is we have to face it. One big example of a court's decisions affecting people is on immigration issues. Many people have to go to court, and court decides if they stay or leave this country. This affects families. Families are often separated. Many kids have been separated from their parents.

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  32. Court decisions do affect every ones lives in many ways. One big example of how court decisions affects people will be immigration issues. Many immigrants often go to court, and court decides if the person stays on this country or not. This at the ends up affecting people, because many families are separated. Many kids are separated from their parents, and sometimes it takes years for them to see their parents again. Court decisions can also be positive, and lead to positive effects.

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