TEXAS GOVERNMENT

Lesson 4 Writing Assignment

Select ONE of the following topics to answer for the Lesson Writing Assignment. The writing assignment should be a minimum of 500 words. You should find most of the information you need to complete the assignment in the chapter, but you are allowed to use outside sources as well (such as news articles or government websites).  DO NOT simply copy the information word for word from your sources.  If you use information directly from the textbook or another source, it should be cited in the text and the properly formatted citation should be provided at the end of the assignment.  All assignments will be analyzed with Safe Assign to identify possible plagiarism.

1.  Read Chapter 9, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Elected or Appointed Judges?” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • How well does the racial and gender composition of the judiciary reflect the demographics of the state’s population?
  • Should judges be elected or appointed?  What are the arguments for electing judges?  What are the arguments for appointing judges?
  • Should the selection system vary according to the type of judge?  Why or why not?
  • How should judges be selected in Texas?  Is there a way to make the process less political?
  • In the case of elected judges, should judges recuse themselves or abstain from cases that affect their largest campaign contributors?
  • How informed do you think the public is about judicial elections and judicial candidates?
  • If you were voting for a judge, would you take the time to learn about the candidates and their qualifications or would you vote based on party affiliation?

2.  Read Chapter 12, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Abortion Policy in Texas,” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • How does Texas compare to other states with regards to providing services for poor citizens?
  • What is the age and race/ethnicity breakdown of the uninsured in Texas?
  • What programs are used to provide coverage to the uninsured? How are those programs funded?
  • What steps has Texas taken to influence abortion rates in the state?
  • Does Texas’ sonogram law violate free speech for the physician?  For the patient?
  • Should the state pass laws mandating what information physicians share with their patients?

3.  Read Chapter 13, including “You Decide: Voices of Texas: Cite and Release: Necessary Cost-Savings or Soft on Crime?” and write an essay answering the following questions:

  • Are all defendants treated equally in the Texas criminal justice system?  Why or why not?
  • Why do you think certain groups are overrepresented or underrepresented in the prison system?
  • At times the integrity of the criminal justice system has been called into question.  What are some of the events that have led to this situation?
  • What is cite and release and why was it implemented?
  • Do you believe that more counties should adopt cite and release?  Why or why not?
  • Discuss at least two changes that you believe would increase fairness in the criminal justice system.

Online assistance for writing assignments is available through the Writing Lab in Blackboard.  Select Enroll from the dropdown box by the EnglishTutor link.

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