Gender issues have been a mainstay of conversation in our society. This began in the early 1900s with the Women’s Suffrage movement, starting the “waves” of Feminism. Now we’ve reached the third wave of Feminism. They focus on the issues of sexual assault, sexual liberation, reproductive rights, and the gender pay gap. Critics of the wave feel it is possible the feminist movement has gone overboard in the quest for equality. Some will even argue they have already reached it. While on the other side Men’s issues rarely receive mainstream attention. Some in the Feminist movement will even view them as actually a women’s issue. This has caused a sense of disenfranchisement within men, leading to them forming their own organizations to solve their issues.
In a blow to third parties’ ballot access, the Libertarian and Green Parties of Maryland were both de-recognized by the Maryland Board of Elections. Both parties failed to reach the party recognition threshold in the 2018 general election.
By Jack Parkos | United States
The Supreme Court has been a heated topic in the news lately, with Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement. Now, President Trump has the job of appointing someone for this position. Hopefully, his crucial pick will defend the Constitution and its principle of liberty.
The Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to deem laws unconstitutional. However, from time to time, justices make very serious mistakes and side against the Constitution. To understand how important President Trump’s decision is, we need to look at times when the Supreme Court got it wrong. While they have overturned some, others are still law.
1. Roe V. Wade
The very nature of abortion opposes liberty. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the 14th amendment protects the right to an abortion. Ironically, the amendment promising equal protection under the law declared that certain human lives are not equal. Furthermore, this ruling interfered with the Tenth Amendment, which guarantees states’ rights.
Clearly, the Constitution does not declare abortion a right. But with one ruling, the Supreme Court declared it so. In doing so, they interfered with the interests of states and of the Constitution itself. The document, in fact, was supposed to prevent the federal government from doing such a thing. Despite this, seven justices sworn in to protect the Constitution failed to do so. As a result, millions of innocent babies have passed away.
2. Maryland V. King
This important ruling occurred just five years ago. The Supreme Court ruled that police can take a DNA swab of someone arrested for a serious crime with no warrant. All of this may now legally occur before a jury rules that someone is guilty in court. This is clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s privacy guarantee.
The court claimed this would only be necessary for violent crime. This includes murder, rape, assault, theft, and more. The key part, however, is the “more”. Government could easily declare any criminal to be violent to use this ruling and get the swab. Right now, the government says owning a marijuana plant is a crime. Is it unreasonable to think they would soon demand taking DNA of someone who hasn’t even been proven guilty of owning such a plant?
3. Helvering v. Davis
In 1937, the Supreme Court ruled by a vote of 7-2 that the Social Security Act of 1935 did not violate the 10th Amendment. Thus, they allowed for a tax on employers to occur. But ,that was only the beginning. The Supreme Court also declared that Congress may spend money on “the general welfare”.
By doing so, they also allow Congress to interpret the general welfare clause of the Constitution. However, Congress has no constitutional right to do so. Ironically, the branch that does have such power simply ceded it to another. Allowing Congress to interpret one clause of the Constitution opens the door for them to do the same with others. This is not only a threat to our Constitution but more importantly, to our liberties.
4. Buck V. Bell
When we think of eugenics, we often think of the Nazis’ cruel policies. But did you know that there is a Supreme Court ruling that models eugenics, and that it still stands today? This is the 1927 case of Buck V. Bell. The ruling of this case, by a vote of 8-1, decided that the state could forcefully sterilize 18-year-old Carrie Buck. The court used Buck and her mother’s mental health issues as justification.
The Supreme Court rejected the idea that forced sterilization violated Bell’s 8th and 14th Amendment rights. Instead, they ruled that it was in the State’s best interest to have Bell (as well as her mother and daughter) forcefully sterilized as they were “feeble-minded”. Justice Oliver Holmes even stated that “Three generations of imbeciles are enough”. At the Nuremberg trials after World War II, Nazi eugenics doctors actually cited Holmes as evidence to their own defense. Clearly, such a practice is cruel and barbaric.
5. Dred Scott V. Sandford
The ruling of this case is often considered the worst ruling in US history, and for good reason. In it, the Supreme Court declared that African Americans, free or slave, were not American citizens and lacked constitutional rights. Many historians agree this was the worst ruling in American history. While the 14th Amendment and Civil Rights Act of 1866 gave African Americans full citizenship, it is still a shameful moment in history.
6. Korematsu v. United States
Following the attack of Peal Harbor, FDR’s Executive Order 9066 called for thousands of Japanese American citizens to be thrown in internment camps without due process. Of course, the act is in every way unconstitutional. But, with a 6-3 vote, the court declared that the “Need to protect against espionage, outweighed the rights of Americans of Japanese descent.”
This ruling allowed the state to take thousands of innocent people from their homes. FDR’s actions were blatantly tyrannical. It resembles something a dictator might do, not the leader of the free world. However, the court allowed it because of the strongest emotion known to man, fear.
In the internment camps, the state did not find a single Japanese American spy. While the court eventually overturned this ruling, it remains a constant reminder on the importance of wartime liberties.
The Future of the Supreme Court
Trump’s upcoming decision is very important. His pick will interpret the Constitution and the rights we hold. Perhaps he or she may dangerously violate the Constitution, or perhaps he or she will help overturn the stains in the court’s history. For America to thrive, he must nominate a justice who will preserve the Constitution, and protect our Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
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By Kaihua Zhou | United States
Recently, the Supreme Court determined that Jack Phillips, a baker, had a right to refuse to produce a wedding cake for a gay couple. This decision is based on sound reasoning.
By recognizing Phillips’ freedom of self-expression, the Court honors the right to express themselves. This principle extends to unpopular and even offensive speech. Consider the case of a woman who made highly racist comments to James Ahn, an Asian American, while driving. Such speech is despicable. It is immoral, but not illegal. However, there are situations where moral choices are illegal. Is an individual’s choice to follow their religious beliefs immoral? Most would assert that this choice is praiseworthy. Yet, Sikh service members were forbidden to wear beards and turbans in 1981 despite these gestures being sincere expressions of their faith. Thankfully, two Sikh service members regained this right in 2016. As Americans, we treasure diversity and inclusion. By protecting the Sikhs, we ensure universal protection for all minorities.
This principle extends even farther. In wartime, states have an obligation to protect their citizens. Occasionally, states choose to enact drafts to fulfill this duty. Honoring the principle of self-expression, the United States has exempted consciousness objectors on the basis of “religious training and/or belief.” War presents a clear threat. Yet we honor self-expression even in such dangerous circumstances.
This brings us to Phillips’ case:
David Mullins, one partner in the gay couple, has argued that Phillips denied him “basic access to public life.” This is a compelling argument. Can the state coerce an individual to grant access to public life? Surely, LGBT individuals have a right to particapate in public life. This principle extends to all. Reviewing the Ahn example, Ahn deserved to have his dignity respected. However, he was not. Even if one considers Phillips a bigot, the state respects a bigot’s rights to self-expression, under certain conditions.
Does baking a cake count as self-expression? It certainly is a creative act with an implied message. Phillips considers it to be one:
“I don’t create cakes for Halloween, I wouldn’t create a cake that would be anti-American or disparaging against anybody for any reason, even cakes that would disparage people who identify as LGBT. Cakes have a message and this is one I can’t create”
By creating cakes, Phillips participates in public life. The same can be said of the Sikh service members and conscious objectors. By compelling him ( or any other group) to refrain from self-expression would be limiting his access to public life. Compelling him ( or any other group) to engage in a expression would similarly limit his access. Freedom is for all, not just for those who hold popular opinions. This is true in Phillips’ court case and it is true for all.
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I no longer feel for those I kill. In a sense, the world has done me a great favor. My cross to bear, from man to man, woman to woman, child to child, is exhausting. One could call it disheartening, though I reckon many would figure I don’t have much of one to lose. Yet, an escape from this curse has never been closer…
Perhaps an escape is not the correct way to phrase it. Rather, I have been given medicine. Yes, finally, an alleviation to my long-numbed pain. But at the same time, I now hold a helpful tool. In fact, my existence has never been more simple.
Why, then, is there still something missing? A melody unsung, soaking, dissolving in a sea of cacophony. A note of confidence, forever lost in confusion’s dark haze.
Unbeknownst to me, a thin, severe-looking woman with sharp features and stark gray hair, perhaps sixty or so, meanders in front of my path. I let out a flustered sigh, and notice my error an instant too late. The woman, making contact with my icy breeze, crumples to the cold marble floor with a resounding thud. Dead.
Upon a closer glance, I identify her, not needing so much as a gaze at her business card, which protruded slightly from her charcoal suit.
Susan F Downer, Attorney at Law.
I then shift away from information visible to her clients. Age 52, mother of three. Heavily in debt, bit of a drinker.
Much like all the rest lately, an avid PubliCoreNews follower.
After gathering information from the brain, I always peer into the soul, searching for some link between the two. A lawyer, an optimistic voice in my head reasons. Perhaps she has yet to fall victim to Bleakness.
But as I examine the depths of cognizant thought, I realize both the brain and soul are as blank as their temporary resting place. As the last of her life fades away without an ounce of protest, Susan Downer’s conscience softly slips into silence. It was all over in less than a second.
This time with more care, my forever frozen lips emit a bored sigh, much unlike the last.
The Enlightened souls, those yet to succumb to Bleakness, put up a fight. However tiring and heart-wrenching it may be, there is a great degree of satisfaction, of excitement, to grappling pugnacious, resisting souls. It reassures that they had lived their lives well, and that all, if even for a moment, had truly found themselves.
In the many thousands I visit each day, I struggle to remember the last soul to oppose me.
Shuffling away from the attorney, I begin to fully take in my surroundings. I’m in a vast hallway, with grandiose stone pillars running up the walls, magnificently arched ceilings with perfectly spaced globes of light hanging from them. A courtroom. Sliding across the floor, I reach a large wooden door, the intricately carved handle longing to be pushed open, to be useful. It reminded me of the thoughts I gleaned from Susan’s consciousness; simple and limited. I give in, delivering a gentle push on the handle as the door creaks open.
I step outside and a cold, sharp wind pierces deep inside of me.
Perhaps this is what it feels like for everyone else when I come.
A saturating mist is falling from a dark, heavy sky, but it has little effect on the vicious crowds below. To one side, an army of colors battles a horde of those dressed in jet black.
Despite a clear hatred of each other, the units appear to share two things. In each of their eyes rests a burning fury. In each of their hands lies a small black screen, PubliCoreNews clearly visible on them all, blasting messages of dehumanization. PubliCoreNews shouted, and the crowds chanted, louder, fiercer, angrier.
I don’t know who threw the first ball of slush, leftover from the previous week’s storm. I don’t know who retaliated with the first stone.
But I do know the first victim.
A rock, perhaps the size of a softball, launched from the hand of a weak black-clad man. I later learned he had been aiming several feet behind the young girl’s head.
I silently float to her side, resting near her anguished mother.
Danielle McCarthy, age 6, first grade.
The mother’s screams are drowned by the louder, more pertinent rage of events. Little Danielle’s mind, however, is not empty, like Susan’s. It merely whimpers why, forever stuck on a question without an answer.
I rest a hand on the mother’s weeping head, and she falls beside her daughter. An act of kindness. Melissa McCarthy, widowed, 38, would never have to live alone in this empty world. But as I look into her soul, and find PubliCoreNews has changed how she thought, told her how she thought. I find only Bleakness, and wonder for how long she has already been alone.
Around me, PubliCoreNews blares. Rocks land, some hitting their marks. Screams of pain are muffled by barks of ferocity.
All stand oblivious to the little girl and her mother.
How could they care, with their screens pulsing every thought into their brains? There simply was no room for humanity, for morality. PubliCoreNews saw through to that.
There will be no winner to this battle, but a loser, humanity, stays fueled by the media’s iron grip as the world sinks further into Bleakness.
* * * * *
The year is 2018. The setting, a courtroom deciding upon an important verdict. Though the events and names of this story are not real, the concepts are all too much so. Bleakness infects the minds and souls of many, when opposing thought is extirpated for the sake of conformity. Despite a degree of hyperbole within this narrative, the dangers of limited media perspective in society are nonetheless present.
However, hope is not lost, as 71 Republic is reinventing journalism. With a free speech platform and a variety of perspectives on key issues, we at 71 Republic emphasize independent thought and quality journalism. Rather than mandating how to think, we hope to explain why we think. To help support 71 Republic’s mission of overcoming Bleakness, please fuel our Patreon. The time to act is now. Can we count on you?
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