You may connect various policy issues and/or court cases in discussing your main topic. You will not be graded based on your political views, only the quality of the argument or overview you present in your paper. Quality arguments can be formed to support either side of almost any issue, policy, or court ruling within reason. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Approved Policy Issues (Choose one of the policy issues from the approved list below.)
Social Policy – Should the state government provide resources to unemployed, under-employed, and/or financially struggling Texans? What are some issues and proposed solutions related to this topic? This topic can also be about healthcare, public health, COVID-19, etc.
Environmental Policy – How does the state government play a role in regulating environmental issues, such as pollution control and conservation measures? What are some issues and proposed solutions related to this topic?
“Wildcard” – Select a policy issue in which you are interested. What are some issues and proposed solutions related to this topic?
Approved Court Cases (Choose one of the court cases from the approved list below.)
SMITH v. ALLWRIGHT (1944)- A resolution of the Democratic Party of Texas, a group that the Texas Supreme Court had deemed a “voluntary association,” allowed only whites to participate in Democratic primary elections. S.S. Allwright was a county election official; he denied Lonnie E. Smith, a black man, the right to vote in the 1940 Texas Democratic primary. Did denying blacks the right to vote in primary elections violate the Fifteenth Amendment?
HERNANDEZ v. TEXAS (1954)- Is it a denial of the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause to try a defendant of a particular race or ethnicity before a jury where all persons of his race or ancestry have, because of that race or ethnicity, been excluded by the state?
SAN ANTONIO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT. v. RODRIGUEZ (1973)- Did Texas’ public education finance system violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by failing to distribute funding equally among its school districts?
TEXAS v. JOHNSON (1989)- Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?
LAWRENCE AND GARNER v. TEXAS (2003)- Do the criminal convictions of John Lawrence and Tyron Garner under the Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law, which criminalizes sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples, violate the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of laws?
LEAGUE OF LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS v. PERRY (2006)- In 2003, the Texas State Legislature passed a redistricting plan that replaced the one created by a federal judge following the 2000 census. Critics of the plan charged that it was unconstitutional and violated section 2 the Voting Rights Act because it diluted racial minority voting strength and was designed to maximize partisan advantage. Did the Texas legislature violate the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act when it used 2000 census data to redistrict in 2003 for partisan advantage, resulting in districts that (by 2003 numbers) did not conform to the one person, one vote standard?