Current Event March 12, 2015
The trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has begun despite multiple attempts by his defense team to get the trial moved out of Boston. A pool of nearly 1,400 Bostonians has been whittled down to a group of 21 jurors and alternates but the question still remains - is it possible for Tsarnaev to get his sixth amendment constitutional right to a fair jury trial of his peers in a city so negatively impacted by his actions? Listen to learn more about the process of jury selection and the issue of bias.
Current Event March 11, 2015
Mass shootings in gun free zones like schools have some Western lawmakers considering legislation that would eliminate these zones. Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota are weighing proposals that would allow guns in schools, in the hopes of avoiding future mass shootings. The Second Amendment of the Constitution is being cited by lawmakers who support the proposal. Listen to learn how the proposals differ by state and how educators and lawmakers are responding to this proposal.
Current Event June 15, 2014
School sponsored prayer was outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963. The case that led to this decision began in November 1956 when a 16-year-old schoolboy protested his public school’s mandatory prayer and Bible reading period by reading silently from the Koran and refusing to stand for the Lord’s Prayer. This simple act of resistance led to a huge change in the way public schools interact with religion. In the early 1960s, 40% of school districts in the U.S. had mandatory Bible reading and prayer; it is now unconstitutional for any public school to sponsor prayer. However, there continue to be challenges regarding prayer and religion in public schools. In 2012, a Rhode Island teen complained about a prayer banner at her high school. Listen to learn how the community and courts responded to her challenge.
Current Event June 8, 2014
What role should religion have in public life and in government? These are the questions America’s founding fathers faced when drafting the constitution. And it’s a question that is still examined today. This First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion while preventing the establishment of religion. These competing ideas have created a constitutional conflict when individuals want to exercise their religion in places funded by the government, like public schools. Listen to learn how this line was tested when a 6-year-old student wanted his mother to read his favorite book, the Bible, to his class.
Current Event May 1, 2014
Does law enforcement have the right to search cellphones? The Supreme Court is hearing a case about whether it is lawful to search a person’s cell phone log during arrest. The case goes to the heart of the fourth amendment. Listen to learn more about cellphone searches.
Current Event February 20, 2014
A potentially landmark lawsuit goes to trial Monday in California. At issue: whether job protections for public school teachers undermine a student’s constitutional right to an adequate education. The students and parents who filed the lawsuit see it as a potential model for challenging teacher protection laws in other states. Unions and state officials say the lawsuit demonizes teachers and has no merit.
Current Event September 19, 2013
Starbucks Coffee has a new policy. While the coffee shop used to allow guns, it’s now saying that they’re no longer welcome. Starbucks is not explicitly banning these weapons, but instead just asking customers to leave them at home. This new policy has been met with mixed reactions. Click here to listen to this story about how the gun debate is mixing with coffee.