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Constitutional rights discussed on campus


By Ross L. Pike
News Editor

Grand Rapids Community College Political Science professors Heather Forrest, Yan Bai, and Gordon Vurusic were all members of a panel assembled to discuss Constitutional rights and interpretation.

Mainly discussed during the evening’s discussion was the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause as well as the issue of one’s right to privacy.

One of the first topics discussed was who exactly is covered under the laws and protections of the United States through constitutional interpretation. The entire panel came to a consensus that the courts have no choice but for to allow all persons to be protected under the laws as the Constitution states ‘no person shall be denied.’

Forrest cited that an American’s right to privacy was ‘manufactured’ in 1965 by the Supreme Court and has been ‘constantly eroded’ over time by the ‘un-elected, un-accountable justices’ on the high court.

Vurusic stated that rights have been ‘circumvented by government agencies,’ and that the right to privacy is limited to the government ‘meddling’ in your life, not your postings on Facebook.

The panel went into great detail in discussing the 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas in its pivotal role in establishing one’s right to privacy and how it may even provide an argument for same-sex marriage.

On the 2012 election, Vurusic says that this election will settle on what Americans believe is the ‘proper role of government.’ Forrest expressed her excitement about the election, but also her disappointment with the low turnout of young voters.

Professor Keith St. Clair mediated the event and expressed his disappointment of not being a member of the panel to voice his opinion on constitutional interpretation, said, “There has been an erosion of personal liberties since 9/11. I thought the Obama administration would offer differences, but it has proved to be a continuity of the Bush administration’s policies.” St. Clair continued, “While rights have been broadened through the cases the panel talked about, they are also being restrained.” St. Clair then went on to quote the British politician William E. Goldstone citing, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

Forrest described the event as, “exposing students to differential beliefs from well-educated individuals. I said things I don’t necessarily believe tonight because I believe students can learn better when they are upset. Tonight also exposed to these students that it is possible to have relaxed banter among people who don’t agree with each other, something you don’t always get in a classroom.”


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