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A Legacy Diminished: President Obama and the Courts

Abstract

A central concern for any U.S. presidential administration is its relationship with the federal judiciary. For an administration, this relationship is potentially legacy making or breaking in two ways. First, what is the imprint that the administration leaves on the judiciary? Will a president have the opportunities and institutional capacity to change the political balance of the federal judiciary? Second, how will the judicial branch respond when the administration’s policy plans are, as many inevitably will be, challenged in the court system? Will the administration’s policy preferences be preserved and its agenda advanced, or will court decisions stymie important initiatives and restrict that agenda? This paper examines these questions with regard to the Obama administration’s record. The Obama era saw new levels of diversity in terms of judicial nominees and the courts did sometimes uphold key aspects of the Obama administration’s program to the chagrin of conservative opponents. Yet, with the benefit of two years hindsight, the evidence suggests that the Obama administration’s legacy with regard to both the central questions addressed in the paper was a diminished one. The administration’s capacity to reorient the federal bench was thwarted by the legislative branch, notably obstruction in Senate, with the consequences of that frustration highlighted by the rapid actions taken by the Trump administration and Senate Republicans in 2017-18. Furthermore, on balance, the decisions made by the federal judiciary on matters of significant concern to the Obama White House weakened rather than strengthened the administration’s legacy.

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Politics and Constitutional Law: A Distinction without a Difference?

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between Politics and Law in U.S. Supreme Court decision-making. It argues that three major developments in recent decades have combined to undermine the Court’s status as a legal and judicial institution, and instead define it as political actor, motivated by ideology and the personal policy predilections of the Court’s Justices. The first of these elements is the increasingly political and partisan nature of the Supreme Court appointment process, as witnessed by the recent Gorsuch and Kavanaugh nominations. The behaviour of the President and Senators in these controversial appointments conclusively demonstrates that the country’s leading politicians view the Court as primarily a political body rather than a legal one. The second element of the assault on the Court’s status as a judicial institution is the rise in influence of the behaviouralist school of Supreme Court analysis. Beginning with the work of academics such as Glendon Schubert, the behaviouralists employed new methods and theories in an attempt to debunk the Legal Model of Supreme Court decision-making and to replace it with what is known today as the Attitudinal Model. It forcibly argues that Supreme Court Justices are political in intent and decision, with legal language and arguments being no more than judicial camouflage to disguise their true nature. This applies equally to both conservative and liberal justices. The article identifies the third element of the assault on the status of the Court as a legal institution as coming from Originalist scholars, activists and judges who accuse liberal Justices of having abandoned traditional interpretive methods in favour of redefining the language of the Constitution to suit their progressive political agenda. Originalists acknowledge that their own interpretive methods may lead to results deemed unacceptable to contemporary Americans, but argue that it the duty of the political branches of government, not the courts, to modernise policy and practice. This article concludes that while Originalism has genuine appeal as a theory of interpretation, it is nevertheless both impractical and undesirable. Moreover, rather than returning the Court to the Legal Model, the Originalist campaign has only served to persuade many that the Attitudinal Model is an accurate one. However, the article also argues that the break with Originalism by the Warren Court over segregation has developed into a wholesale change in the Court’s role in American government, one that ill-becomes the unelected judiciary in a representative democracy. It is argued here that the best way to restore the legal and judicial identity of the Court would be a return to the emphasis on ‘judicial role’, once championed by great jurists such as Learned Hand, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis and John Harlan II. Judicial modesty and restraint would distinguish the Court from the political branches of American government. The Court should decide less and only where the case for a decision of unconstitutionality is very clear and very compelling.

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A Template For Enhancing The Impact of The National Academy of Sciences’ Reporting on Forensic Science

Abstract

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), established in 1863, is the United States’ leading science and technology think-tank, with an active commitment to advising government. Over the last 150 years, the NAS has, both independently and in conjunction with the federal government, investigated and reported on various issues of importance, ranging from space exploration and biosecurity, to STEM education and immigration. Due to growing concerns about particular disciplines (and specifically their application in legal proceedings), one issue the NAS has reported on between 1992 and 2009 is forensic science. Specifically, the NAS has published six reports commenting on the status of forensic science evidence in the USA, namely DNA Technology in Forensic Science (1992), The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence (1996), The Polygraph and Lie Detection (2003), Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence (2004), Ballistic Imaging (2008), and Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009). The response of stakeholders (including from political, legal, and academic spheres) to these reports has varied, ranging from shifts in practice and full acknowledgement, to considerable struggles to effectuate systemic reform. Using the different experiences of two reports – Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence (2004) and Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009) – as a vehicle, this article suggests how the NAS can strengthen the impact of its forensic science reporting, and how stakeholders can better harness the expertise of the NAS.

Open access
Beyond the Politics of Inclusion: The Policy Environment and the Fate of Children with Disability in the Ghanaian Educational System

Abstract

The 1992 constitution of Ghana and other national legislative instruments guarantee and promote free compulsory universal basic education for all Ghanaian children irrespective of their background. This has been the practice for many years. Even though these policies have chalked some successes, especially regarding school attendance and gender parity, there still remains some level of uncertainty as to whether all Ghanaian children, especially those with disabilities, benefit from these policies. Using secondary information available, the paper provides an overview of the existing legislative instruments that seek to promote the adoption of inclusive education policy in Ghana. Evidence from the literature reveals that there are restrictions within the current policy provisions which make inclusive education not possible for children living with disabilities. The paper concludes and recommends that there should be some modifications or new developments of inclusive education to enable the system to accommodate the diverse educational needs of children with disabilities.

Open access
Challenges and Prospects of Private Broadcast Media Ownership in Nigeria: A Study of Stations in Port Harcourt

Abstract

Ownership of the media was vested with the government, especially in the areas of issuance of licenses and renewal of such licenses, among others, through the National Broadcasting Commission empowered to carry out such salient responsibility. The empowerment of NBC through the enabling Decree in 1992 saw the emergence of private broadcast stations in Nigeria. But years after the deregulation of the broadcast media in Nigeria, the private broadcast stations and ownership are still bedeviled with some challenges, which If not well addressed, will leave them at cross roads; but if addressed properly, the sky would be too small to be their limit. To realize these, the study examined the challenges and prospects of private broadcast media using Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Rhythm 93.7fm as case studies. The survey method was used to expose the challenges faced by these stations and their prospects. In course of the study, the following findings, interalia, were discovered: that the private broadcast outfits are faced with challenges arising from poor facilities, government regulation and legislations, expensive equipment, welfare and debts. However, the study discovered that progress could be made if enabling environment would be created for them to strive.

Open access
Development of Creation of Executive Function-EF Model for Preschool Children through the Participation Process of the School under Suan Dusit University’s Network

Abstract

The objectives of this research were to create the trial and develop the creation of Executive Function-EF Model. The research consisted of 3 procedures, which were 1) The formation of sample, which was teachers and parents from the school under Suan Dusit University’s Network; 2) The trial of sample, which was children between 3-5 years old from 6 schools under Suan Dusit University’s Network; and 3) The development of key informants, which were the Executive Function-EF Model specialists in terms of measurement and evaluation and early childhood education, including the representatives of teacher, administrator, and parents from the school under Suan Dusit University’s Network. The content analysis was used in the qualitative data analysis. The average, standard deviation, and dependent t-test were used in the quantitative data analysis. The research results found that 1. The creation of Executive Function-EF Model consisted of 4 components, which were principle, objective, learning process, and evaluation; 2. The trial result of the creation of Executive Function-EF Model was that the development of creation of Executive Function-EF Model of preschool children in the overall image and each aspect after using the model was higher than before using the model with the statistically significance level of .001 and 3. The result of the development of creation of Executive Function-EF Model was that the creation of Executive Function-EF Model that was developed was suitable to be used and had the possibility to be put into practice in a high level.

Open access
Factors in the Design of Good Toys for Kids Aged 0-3 Years

Abstract

The importance of ages 0-3 years of child life is considered the cornerstone of all dimensions of health for the rest of the child’s life, which is the period in which children grow rapidly and there are many changes in every aspect of development. The purpose of this study is to learn the factors that are relevant to the design of toys for kids aged 0-3 years from development, behavior of children, and the characteristics of children’s toys that are suitable for the ages, including safety. The researcher studied the guidelines for the design of kid’s toys that were appropriate to the age range. This research is a combination that uses both quantitative and qualitative methods. The results of the study after trying playing toy sets from the study of toy design factors in kids aged 0-3 from 230 samples by observing behavior from a total of 80 children, then synthesizing the data for use in the design process, and evaluating by the parents of 150 children, found that it was at a good level, with average value (x̄= 4.17, SD = 0.39). When comparing with playing toy samples from the Toy Industry Association of Thailand, it was found that there was a moderate level of satisfaction with the mean of 3.42 (x̄= 3.41, SD = 0.61), and statistically significant at 0.05 level in all aspects. In conclusion, toys for kids in the age range of 0-3 years resulting from the study of 3 factors in toy design: development and behavior, playing methods, and safety are important links between each other. Development and behavior of children are consistent with the play methods because they affect the physical development of children by age, and safety in the design of toys is able to prevent the danger that could occur to kids.

Open access
Immigrant Students: The Attitudes and Perceptions of Teaching Staff

Abstract

Objective. In this article we discuss the attitudes of teachers towards immigrant students in the classroom and investigate the students' experiences and that of their family; the other important factor in their education. Method. The methodology used was qualitative interviews, carried out in a comprehensive school catering for the different stages of compulsory education in Sicily (Italy). In-depth interviews were performed on 15 teachers who tutored immigrant students, with the aim of revealing their thoughts, emotions, perceptions and attitudes with regard to this social and educational experience. Results. Although there were disparate elements within the context of the school, the results were consistent with other studies that address this global, contemporary problem. We found a pronounced receptivity on the half of the staff, good responses between equals, but also a degree of impotence and institutional neglect in the face of the problem. It was consistently perceived that families of immigrant students were rarely involved in school life. The influence of socio-economic, ethnic and religious factors that often affect relations between the immigrant student's family and the school, also emerged. Conclusions. The phenomenon of immigrant children's school integration is plagued with difficulties, which are repeated and maintained in different areas and periods of time. Within the school, the teachers take on the main task of offering these children a favourable environment for integration. However, the other major aspect of our study, the family relationship, was less encouraging. The teachers felt a lack of cooperation from the families of immigrant children.

Open access
The Impact of Transparency in the Fight Against Corruption

Abstract

Transparency and corruption are topics with high interest not only for researchers but especially for politicians, citizens and decision takers. Transparency is seen as an important instrument in the fight against corruption. Transparency and corruption phenomena are considered to be the most difficult to assess due to the subjectivity that characterizes them. For this reason, in this study we will show some results based on citizens perception. The method used to collect information regarding citizens perception is questionnaire and than the data are analyzed through a logistic model. Interesting results came out this research such as people who have been in contact with public institutions during the last months have 5,477 times more opportunities to give bribes compared to those who have not been in contact. Transparency is considered a good tool to fight corruption because based on the model result people who know the meaning of the right to information have 86.3% less chance to give bribes than people who do not know the meaning of the right of information. Whereas people who know the Albanian law on the right to information have 48% less chance of bribing than people who do not know this law. Based on these results it is necessary to raise citizen awareness on the use of the right to information as instrument to fight corruption.

Open access
Input Factors Determining Audit Quality in Albania

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights on the way in which the impact of input factors is perceived, as it had been defined by IASSB in 2014 according to the quality of auditing in Albania. In particular, the paper focuses on the point of view of the party involved in the audit market, a statutory auditor, who has the appropriate information and technical knowledge for the proper assessment of the audit quality. The paper examines the way in which the quality of the audit is influenced by Input factors, through an in-depth analysis of these factors, and their influence mode. This research is based on an interpretive research approach using quantitative research methods. The instrument used for this survey is the Questionnaire, it addresses legal auditors that are used as a sample. The study shows that the respondents’ group perceives a positive impact of the input factors on the quality of audit, especially those consisting of Value/Ethics/Attitudes, aspects related to the personal characteristics of legal auditors. In general, the findings of the paper can be considered important for the stakeholders for audit engagements and for academic researchers wishing to develop a deeper understanding of this contribution.

Open access