Malcolm Gladwell has written, "Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds."  Practice here and now.



After watching Mitch McConnell transform the judiciary over the past four years, liberals are demanding a bold response.  And Democrats are listening.


Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand told POLITICO they would not rule out expanding the Supreme Court if elected president, showcasing a new level of interest in the Democratic field on an issue that has until recently remained on the fringes of the debate.


The surprising openness from White House hopefuls along with other prominent Senate Democrats to making sweeping changes – from adding seats to the high court to imposing term limits on judges and more – comes as the party is eager to chip away at the GOP’s growing advantage in the courts…


Excerpted from 2020 Dems warm to expanding Supreme Court, Burgess Everett and Mariann Levine, POLITICO, March 18, 2019


After reading the scenario, respond to A, B, and C below:


  1. Describe an institutional reform, as described in the scenario, that certain Democratic candidates for president are considering.

  2. In the context of the scenario, explain how the response in part A is affected by the concept of the separation of powers.

  3. In the context of the scenario, explain another institutional reform that could address similar issues.


Use the information graphic to answer the questions.


  1. Identify the fastest shrinking state over the last ten years.

  2. Describe a similarity or difference between growing and shrinking states, as illustrated in the information graphic, and draw a conclusion about that similarity or difference.

  3. Explain how population changes as shown in the information graphic impacts public policy making.



“There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders. Citizens can exercise that right in a variety of ways: They can run for office themselves, vote, urge others to vote for a particular candidate, volunteer to work on a campaign, and contribute to a candidate’s campaign. This case is about the last of those options. The right to participate in democracy through political contributions is protected by the First Amendment, but that right is not absolute. Our cases have held that Congress may regulate campaign contributions to protect against corruption or the appearance of corruption…At the same time, we have made clear that Congress may not regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others…


Many people might find those latter objectives attractive: They would be delighted to see fewer television commercials touting a candidate’s accomplishments or disparaging an opponent’s character. Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades—despite the profound offense such spectacles cause—it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition…Indeed, as we have emphasized, the First Amendment “has its fullest and most urgent application precisely to the conduct of campaigns for political office.”


The statute at issue in this case imposes two types of limits on campaign contributions. The first, called base limits, restricts how much money a donor may contribute to a particular candidate or committee…The second, called aggregate limits, restricts how much money a donor may contribute in total to all candidates or committees…This case does not involve any challenge to the base limits, which we have previously upheld as serving the permissible objective of combatting corruption. The Government contends that the aggregate limits also serve that objective, by preventing circumvention of the base limits. We conclude, however, that the aggregate limits do little, if anything, to address that concern, while seriously restricting participation in the democratic process. The aggregate limits are therefore invalid under the First Amendment.”


Excerpted from Chief Justice John Roberts’ Court Opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC (2014)


Based on the information above, respond to the following questions.


  1. Identify a common constitutional principle used to make a ruling in both Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and McCutcheon v. FEC (2014).

  2. Explain how the facts of Citizens United v. FEC (2010) and the facts of McCutcheon v. FEC (2014) led to a similar holding in both cases.

  3. Describe an action that the Congress could take to respond to the McCutcheon v. FEC (2014) ruling if it disagreed with the decision



Develop an argument that explains how national policy-making is enhanced by the sharing of power between and among three branches and the state governments.


In your essay, you must:

  • Articulate a defensible claim or thesis that responds to the prompt and establishes a line of reasoning.

  • Support your claim with at least TWO pieces of accurate and relevant information.  At least ONE piece of evidence must be from one of the following foundational documents – U.S. Constitution, Federalist 70, Federalist 78

  • Use a second piece of evidence from another foundational document from the list or from your study of the electoral process

  • Use reasoning to explain why your evidence supports your claim/thesis

  • Respond to an opposing or alternative perspective using refutation, concession, or rebuttal.

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"Always it is by bridges that we live."

                                          Philip Larkin

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