Students react to Ginsburg talk

first_imgJunior Janet Stengle walked down the aisle in Purcell Pavilion to a microphone in the middle of the floor. More than 7,000 people watched as she looked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the eye and asked a question.“Does a Supreme Court justice have a role as a public figure, and if so, how would you define that role?”Ginsburg smiled and started talking, describing the responsibility she feels she and the other Supreme Court justices have to stay engage with the public and help others understand what’s going on at a given point in time.“I felt like I was legitimately having a conversation with her,” Stengle said. “When we stood up, she made sure she was looking right at us and speaking to us directly, and that was a really cool experience.”Students and members of the South Bend community lined up outside Purcell Pavilion on Monday afternoon to hear Ginsburg speak at the interview-style event sponsored by the Office of the President, Notre Dame Law School and Notre Dame Student Government. Entrance was free but limited to those who reserved tickets beforehand.Many came simply for the political engagement.“I just love politics, and I want to learn more about it,” freshman Colin Brankin said. “I’m very interested to hear a Supreme Court justice talk — especially one that’s as notable and as possibly controversial as she is.”Others came for more personal reasons.“Ruth Bader Ginsburg is my hero,” senior Abigayle Rhode-Pausina said. “She is everything I want to be when I grow up.”Ginsburg garnered a large turnout from the student body, which is noteworthy in itself, senior Sheryl Cherian said.“She’s an inspiring human that makes policy accessible, and I feel like that has everything to do with all the youth coming out,” she said.Stengle said she hopes to go to law school some day. She and the other students selected to ask questions at the event got to meet Ginsburg at a reception afterwards.“I liked her point when she explained that the court doesn’t make change, people make change,” Stengle said. “I liked how she cleared that up — how they don’t have a set agenda, that they just do what comes at them.”Students said they were surprised, at points, by Ginsburg — like when she whipped out a pocket-sized version of the Constitution or joked about her “notorious” nickname.“She was sassier than I was expecting,” senior Leah Jacob said.“And my favorite part was 100 percent when she said there would be enough women on the Supreme Court when there were nine,” senior Holly Backstrom added.Though junior Will Lederer found Ginsburg’s personal history interesting, he said he would have liked to hear a little more about how she formulates and delivers opinions in Supreme Court cases. “I’m a conservative, a pretty staunch conservative,” he said. “And I think it’s pretty important to hear the other sides of arguments.”Senior Paul Rudnicki said he thinks the chance to see any Supreme Court justice speak is one worth taking.“The Supreme Court is a major force shaping some of the most important issues — like immigration, energy policy, voting laws,” he said. “And Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a prominent member for many years.”This is the second consecutive year a Supreme Court justice visited campus — Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in 2015.Rhode-Pausina said she enjoyed having the event in Purcell Pavillion; she wasn’t able to get tickets to the Sotomayor event last fall.Inviting big names like Ginsburg and Sotomayor to campus reflects well on the University, Lederer said. “For her to accept our invitation here is very impressive. I mean, she had to go pretty far out of her way. She had to make time to come here,” he said. “That’s very impressive for Notre Dame as a community.”Perhaps a new tradition is forming.“I’d love to see [Justice] Clarence Thomas next year or [Chief Justice] John Roberts in future years, if we’re going to continue this trend,” Lederer said.Tags: fr. jenkins, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Courtlast_img read more

Revised Florida Stand-Your-Ground law is unconstitutional

first_imgPhoto Courtesy of Google On Monday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that Florida legislators reached beyond their authority by amending the state’s Stand-Your Ground-Law earlier this. The change in the law would give prosecutors authority to disprove a defendant’s self-defense claim in attacking someone during a pre-trial hearing. According to Judge Hirach only the Florida Supreme Court has the authority to effect changes to the law. The law “cannot be legislatively modified” the judge wrote in his ruling.Since its inception under the administration of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2005, the law which gives residents in the state the right to defend themselves by deadly force, usually by the gun, if they believe they are being attacked in or out their home has been controversial.The controversy peaked in 2013 when community watchman George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of North Miami teenager Trayvon Martin. Martin was on his way from a convenience store and walking to his father’s home in a Sanford, Florida, residential community when he was accosted by Zimmerman who assumed he was a criminal. Zimmerman’s defense claimed he shot Martin in self-defense because he felt his life was threatened by the teenager.Most state prosecutors opposed the law seeing it as a means for those accused of murder and other gun-related charges to be acquitted by claiming they were defending their lives by the act of violence.It is believed by the opponents of the law that the ruling by Judge Hirsch’s could be the beginning of other courts in Florida ruling likewise resulting in an appeal for the revised law to be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.Since the Travyon Martin shooting, and Zimmerman’s acquittal several attempts have been made by Florida Democratic legislators to repeal or change the law, arguing that it gives people with guns the right to shoot a victim indiscriminately, with a chance to be acquitted. However, Governor Rick Scott has remained adamant in not repealing the law.The Florida Supreme Court previously ruled that defendants in shooting cases who seek immunity from criminal prosecution under the law must offer solid proof they were acting in self-defense.Despite strong opposition from prosecutors and gun-control advocates, the Florida Legislature amended the original law to place the burden on state prosecutors to prove through convincing evidence that a defendant was not acting in self-defense. If prosecutors succeed in disproving the self-defense claim at the pre-trail hearing they would need to do this again at the actual trial.last_img read more