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Evaluate how the concept of federalism interacts with various current constitutional debates.

Reflect: This assignment will require you to use your critical thinking skills to evaluate how the concept of federalism interacts with various current constitutional debates. This assignment is also the first step in the process towards completing your final research paper. The topic that you select for this assignment, either religious freedom, free speech, or privacy rights, should be the topic for your final paper as well. That way, the first main discussion point for the final research paper will be completed when you complete this assignment. Therefore, think your topic selection over carefully, choose something you are interested in, and save yourself some extra work by continuing to research the same topic for your final paper.

Select one topic from the following list of three constitutional issues:

  • Religious Freedom
  • Free Speech
  • Privacy Rights

For this assignment, you need to discuss one positive and one negative impact of federalism on the issue you selected. Once you have discussed those impacts, you are expected to evaluate which impact is the most significant on your issue and discuss the reasons behind that evaluation.

For example, if your topic were to be about regulation of commerce, federalism impacts regulation of commerce in a positive way by setting nationwide safety and building standards for highways, railroads, and airfields. Federalism could impact regulation of commerce in a negative way by forcing states to adhere to nationwide speed limits and safety laws that may not take into consideration local conditions and needs.

If you were going to look at equal protection under the law, one could argue that federalism has positively impacted equal protection of the law. The Fourteenth Amendment was critical in reducing racial discrimination because of landmark rulings like Brown v. Board of Education. On the other hand, federalism initially enabled states to treat their citizens differently based on the color of their skin. Supreme Court rulings such as Plessy v. Ferguson allowed the states to segregate blacks and whites as long as the states provided “separate, but equal facilities.”

For this paper, utilize the Constitution, established case law, and scholarly sources to discuss both sides of the argument and then provide a logical argument why one impact is more significant.

Write: Your paper should be organized into the following sections and should:

  • Introduce the selected issue and the direction of the paper (1/2 page)
  • Discuss one positive impact of federalism on the selected issue. (1/2 page to 1 page)
  • Discuss one negative impact of federalism on the selected issue. (1/2 page to 1 page)
  • Evaluate which impact is the most significant and discuss why. (1 page)
  • Conclude and summarize the main findings of the paper. (1/2 page)

The paper must be three to four pages in length (not including title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. You must utilize at least three scholarly sources, one of which may be your course text. Cite your sources within the text of your paper and on the reference page. For information regarding APA, including samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center


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