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Write a 5-7 page paper (typed, double-spaced, with a bibliography of cited sourc

Write a 5-7 page paper (typed, double-spaced, with a bibliography of cited sources)
on one of the following areas of American politics and government:
A) a Supreme Court case of your choosing, in which you provide:
1) a brief summary of the particular case in question, as well as the Constitutional question involved (What constitutional
issue needed to be cleared up by the court?)
2) a brief background of the Court’s previous rulings in this issue area
3) how you think the case should be/should have been decided, based on Constitutional precedent and/or interpretation
(not simply your gut feeling!)
NOTE: You cannot choose Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education as your topic. Both cases have been
covered excessively in previous class papers and are also thoroughly discussed in class.
B) a recent or pending bill or legislative action of your choosing (national or California state level), in which you:
1) provide a brief background and history of the legislation in question, explaining its purposes, as well as the political
issues it addresses
2) identify the major players or groups involved (supporters and opponents, including policymakers, interest groups, etc.),
and well as the basic parts of their public arguments and any private benefits which they may get if the legislation is
passed or rejected (i.e. an oil company will not publicly push for legislation because it helps increase their profits)
3) identify and explain the reasons for the eventual outcome (will it or did it pass and why?)
NOTE: The bill does not have to be recent or pending but newer bills are easier to find information on.
C) a particular interest group, PAC (political action committee), political party, or political organization active in current
politics, in which you discuss:
1) the organization, its goals, its primary issue area(s), its resources, and its leadership
2) its membership and/or target audience or constituency
3) the history of its involvement in the political arena, your assessment of its influence in the political arena, as well as its
potential for involvement and influence in the future
You must cite AT LEAST 4 different sources in your paper. AT LEAST 2 of these sources should be from “academic”
type sources. These sources include a number of online resources, books, and academic journals.
What is an Academic Source?
An academic source represents a scholarly writing that is reviewed by peers (academics have their work reviewed by
other academics). Most of these will be found in a reference directory online.
Magazines and newspaper articles are NOT academic sources. Academic journals and research studies ARE academic
sources. The instructor will also accept official websites (for organizations such as political parties or interest groups),
and government run and university run websites (ending in .gov or .edu) as academic sources.
Check with the instructor if you are unsure about the acceptability of your sources. Unacceptable sources include
encyclopedias (both written and online, such as Wikipedia) and websites not approved by the instructor (i.e. Ron’s Politics
Site). If you have any questions about whether a website is a legitimate source, simply e-mail it to the instructor. Official
and academic websites are the most reliable and don’t need to be confirmed by the instructor. Try to use sources outside
of popular magazines (i.e. Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report) and newspapers. These sources are often good
for background information but don’t provide as much substance as books, academic journals, or online research
To begin your search for information, log in to Access Rio and click on the link for the Library portal
There are several academic search engines listed along with library resources. If you need to find a topic, these are the
best links to start with (they are found in the section titled Library Online Databases):
I. Introduction
– Explain to the reader what you will be talking about in the paper. Make clear what your topic is.
– Should be about a paragraph long
II. Thesis statement
– Should go at the end of the introduction (one or two sentences long)
– It explains what you will be arguing in your paper (it is not an opinion statement but simply what you will be
discussing in the paper). Here are some examples:
1. The Green Party has been a major force in both changing citizens’ perceptions of environmental issues and
forcing the two major parties to focus on the environment.
2. Proposition 215 not only legalized medical marijuana in California but also created conflict between the
federal and California state government, as medical marijuana is legal in California and illegal under federal
3. Roe v. Wade has produced major controversy in American politics, as there is conflict between pro-life and
pro-choice forces and debate over whether the Supreme Court went too far in making its decision.
III. Body
– In as many paragraphs as you need, answer the questions that have been provided for each topic
– At the end of the body, you can provide your own personal opinion
IV. Conclusion
– Summarize your paper for the reader again
** Let your evidence make your argument. Evidence is far more persuasive than opinion

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