Basic Questions to Address

  • What does each institution do?
  • What are the key laws, court decisions, executive actions, etc. that shape current policy on your issue?
  • What are the likely directions things will go with your issue in the future?  What role will the institutions play in making that happen?
  • What is the role of federalism in regards to your issue?  How do differences in state and federal powers and views play out in terms of your issue?

Your PPT Presentation

  • You have 5-6 minutes to (time limit will be strictly enforced):
  • Define the particular points of contention regarding your issue (1-1.5 minutes)
  • Break down the ways that each institution (the three branches + the Bureaucracy) has shaped current policy on your issue, be specific about  the respective use of powers by each institution in regards to your issue (3-3.5 minutes)
  • Outline the likely ways that each institution could reshape current policy, again focusing on the specific use of their respective powers (1-1.5 minutes)

Speaking of PPT

  • Contrast between text and background
  • Text Size
  • Animate your images (they rarely make good backgrounds)
  • Keep it short and to the point, don’t include a lot of unnecessary text, and for heaven’s sake, don’t just copy a bunch of crap off of the internet and force us to read it, that is really annoying, and can cause hypertension in the audience, and lead to a really bad grade, because, after all, there are few things more annoying than posse comitatus people who habeas corpus put a bunch of stuff stare decisis on a slide that they ignorantia juris non excusat don’t understand so just get up here and wow us… :)

Possible Topics

  • Abortion
  • Affirmative Action
  • Environmental Regulation
  • Business Regulation
  • Gun Control
  • Health Care Regulation
  • Medicare & Social Security
  • Rights of the Accused/Suspected Terrorists
  • Energy Policy (both current & potential)

Some helpful hints:

  • Don't just google, use ebscohost and the other resources available through the TOHS library
  • Focus your presentation, and rehearse it so you make the most of your limited time
  • When looking at the bureaucracy, look at the specific departments and agencies most closely connected to your issue
  • When looking at the Executive Branch, look closely at specific policies from the previous three administrations, executive orders and actions, and specific legislation that the President has tried to push through Congress
  • When looking at Congress, look both at recent legislation as well as committee hearings and work
  • When looking at the Courts, examine the most relevant decisions (key precedents) realted to your issue