The Trial of John Peter Zenger As the syllabus indicates, you will have three essays due in this…

The Trial of John Peter Zenger

As the syllabus indicates, you will have three essays due in this course.  The due dates are Oct. 4, Nov. 8, and Dec. 6.  Each one should run 10 to 12 pages in length.

You have a variety of options to choose from as you think about how you wish to write these essays.  The work should be entirely yours and the ideas should be gleaned from the materials we have studied in class or, if we have not yet arrived at the case(s) you wish to tackle, will study before the end of the term.  Plan on being as expansive and detailed as possible.

Your options are as follows:

1.  Prepare a case analysis of one or two cases. This means that you should not merely offer a summary of the facts and outcome of the case, but you should be prepared to focus on a justice’s argument.  Here your task is to determine whether the conclusion the justice reaches is matched by logical and analytical framework he or she has produced. In other words, does the outcome make sense in terms of what the justice has presented or are personal preferences involved?

2.  Write an opinion yourself on one of the cases as if you were writing the majority opinion for the Court.  How would you want the case to come out?  What meaningful resources would you use to support your argument, such as precedent, historical events, historical documents, and other materials?

3.  Prepare an opinion as if you were a particular justice. Write from the perspective, for example, of Hugo Black (literalist) or Felix Frankfurter (legislative deference), William Brennan or William O. Douglas (living constitution), or Antonin Scalia/Clarence Thomas (originalist) or even beyond the Constitution (visionary as in Douglas again). You might want to compare this opinion to one that is crafted from a completely different perspective.

The work must be your own, it must reflect your care and duty to the material and the work of the Court, and it must be written in your best manner. For those of you who have not reviewed the manuscript style sheet on Blackboard, now is the time to do so, well in advance of the due date. You will find a model essay on Blackboard under Content.  Let me know whether you have any questions.


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The Trial of John Peter Zenger

The of John Peter Zenger was a landmark case in the fight for media freedom. John Peter Zenger was a German immigrant who printed a publication called The New York Weekly Journal. John was part of a political faction that lost power when William Cosby became the governor of New York. Most of the stories he published talked of the government misdoings. They discredited the government for...

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