You are on page 1of 4

“YOU ARE NOW A LEGISLATOR”

POLITICS, PUBLIC POLICY AND LAW
COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY
FALL 2017

Professor Thomas K. Norment, Jr.
CONTACT INFORMATION
Office Phone: (757) 259-3835
Office e-mail: tknorment@kaufcan.com

GRADING
This course will be a “letter graded” course. Every student starts the semester with an “A”.
Grades will be apportioned as follows:
1) Attendance, classroom participation, and “Lessons Learned” submission (20%).

2) Senate and House Advocacy Papers and Debate and Executive Branch Position Paper and
Debate (40%).

3) Semester Research Paper (40%)

Note: THE TIMELINES ARE “ABSOLUTE”
ADVOCACY PAPER AND DEBATE
(Team Performance)
Forty percent (40%) of the semester’s grade will be based on a “team” presentation and debate
of the Senate and House positions (the details of which will be discussed and are set out in Class 1 of
the Syllabus) based upon the following, “statement of issue”:
A. STATEMENT OF ISSUE: In 1999, the Virginia General Assembly by statute authorized the
issuance of motor vehicle license plates on behalf of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
However, the law specifically forbade emblems such as flags from being displayed on the
license plates. The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued and the U.S. District Court in Danville,
Virginia removed the prohibition allowing the attached license plate displaying the confederate
flag.
On June 17, 2015 the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that specialized license plates are
a form of “government speech”; and that Texas could refuse to issue Sons of Confederate
Veterans license plates featuring a Confederate flag because it was “…seen as an emblem of
racism and oppression…” to some citizens.

1
In July 2015, Virginia’s Governor through Executive Order “revoked special license plates
featuring the Confederate battle flag issued to 1600 drivers, without General Assembly
approval.
In August 2015, the College of William and Mary removed a plaque with the Confederate flag
from the Wren building where it had been displayed since 1914, because “ The Confederate
flag has been turned irreparably into a symbol of racial hatred and made many members of one
community feel unwanted, even excluded.”
Also, the College Mace, which was given to the College in 1923, has a ring on nine emblems,
one of which has a Confederate battle flag on it. The College Mace will now be “refashioned”
to remove the Confederate flag and seal.

B. ISSUES:

1) Should the Governor have revoked the Confederate flag license plate through
“Executive Order”; and ignored the sense of the General Assembly which enacted the
law in the first place?
2) Is the College “sanitizing” both American and the College’s history?
3) Did the innocuous plaque and ring on the Mace really offend our community and make
them feel unwelcomed, or was it just a cause de jure?
4) Is the removal of the plaque and ring on the Mace being deferential to a very small
minority to the exclusion of the majority?
5) Is the College being too “PC” (politically correct)?
6) Should Virginia close Virginia Military Institute, which is steeped in Civil War tradition
with a statute of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson; a monument to the Battle of New
Market; a chapel named after Robert E. Lee and his horse Traveler stuffed in a
museum?
7) Have the recent events in Charlottesville changed any of these issues?

C. APPROACH: The House will prepare an Advocacy Paper “yes” on issues 1,3 and 6; “no” on
issues 2, 4 and 5. The Senate will prepare an Advocacy Paper advocating “no” on issues 1, 3
and 6; and “yes” on issues 2, 4 and 5. The Executive Branch will prepare a Final Position Paper
after considering the House and Senate’s Advocacy Papers.
The House and Senate will orally advocate their respective positions. The Executive Branch
will orally defend its final positions.
The advocacy papers should be 10-15 pages excluding citations.
SEMESTER RESEARCH PAPER
(Individual Performance)
Forty percent (40%) of the semester’s grade will be based on a scholarly research paper.
1) A list of suggested topics is attached. However, you may select your own topic.

2
2) The focus of the research paper should take into consideration and address the
interaction of the legislature, judicial and executive branches, as well as any impact of
public opinion. I suggest you review page 1 of the course syllabus.

3) Advocate a “pro” or “con” position; and enthusiastically support it.

4) Format for, and Tips on Writing this Research Paper:

A. The standard length of this seminar paper is 10-15 pages of text, exclusive of footnotes.

B. You should place the footnotes at the bottom of the page, as long as the above standard is
met.

C. Please make an effort to list your citations correctly.

D. Your paper should consist of: (1) a cover sheet (2) a table of contents (3) the research
paper itself.

E. Be certain to use headings and subheadings to organize the paper. This will make your
paper much more readable.

F. There is no standard format for the research paper itself. The format of the paper is left to
you.

G. The writing style for the research paper should be in part expositive and not entirely
argumentative. You certainly should present the arguments in favor of your proposal (and
do so strongly) but, you should also point out the other side of the issue (and, of course;
why you disagree with the pother side).

H. Use primary, not secondary, sources, in your research wherever possible.

I. Edit and proofread your paper before submitting it.
Due Date for Research Papers
The due date for all research papers is on Friday, December 15, 2017.
THIS TIMELINE IS ABSOLUTE
On or before Friday, December 15, 2017, you should hand deliver your research paper to the
Government office.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Office Phone: (757) 259-3835
Office Email: tknorment@kaufcan.com

3
POSSIBLE TOPICS FOR RESEARCH PAPERS
A state’s legislative right to ban:
1. “Home Schoolers” playing on public school athletic teams (Tebow Bill)

2. Assisted Suicide

3. Smoking ban in restaurants and bars

4. “Right to bear arms” in municipalities of high crime such as New York City

5. Importation of out-of-state garbage

6. Same gender marriages/Defense of Marriage Act

7. “Do not resuscitate” order

8. Decriminalization of marijuana

9. Euthanasia

10. Surrogate parenting

11. Artificial insemination

12. No bond for detained illegal immigrants

13. “Stand Your Ground” laws

14. Virginia Ethics Reform

15. Voter ID required

16. The alt-right v. antifa Confederacy debate

4