Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for April 2019 Issues

Mar 20, 2019 | Ideas For Teachers


Issue 1: National Emergency
White House: “Presidential Proclamation Declaring National Emergency”
Sen. Lamar Alexander Statement on Trump’s Emergency Declaration
Sen. Thom Tillis OpEd: “I Would Vote Against Trump’s National Emergency” “The Powers of Congress”
USA Today AGs OpEd: “Trump’s Emergency Declaration Constitutional”

Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture
Supreme Court Decision on Timbs v. Indiana
Institute for Justice: “Policing for Profit – The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture”
Department of Justice Statistics on Equitable Sharing Program Proceeds
Forbes: “Indiana Claims It Can Forfeit Cars For Speeding, Minor Drug Crimes”
Heritage Foundation: “7 Things You Should Know About Civil Asset Forfeiture”
National Conference of State Legislatures: “Evolving Civil Forfeiture Laws”


Issue 1: National Emergency

  1. Review President Trump’s national emergency declaration (link above). Do you agree with his decision to declare an emergency? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think the Constitution’s framers created a system of checks and balances and separation of powers for the government? Is the system working as the framers intended? Why or why not?
  3. What are the powers demonstrated by the legislative branch and the executive branch in this situation?
  4. Which branch of the government do you think has the most power? Why?
  5. Read the statement from Sen. Lamar Alexander on Trump’s emergency declaration (link above). Do you agree with him that Trump’s declaration sets “a dangerous precedent?” Why or why not?

Issue 2: Civil Asset Forfeiture

  1. Should law enforcement agencies be allowed to take money and property from people who haven’t been charged or convicted of a crime? Why or why not?
  2.  In your opinion, does the practice of civil asset forfeiture violate citizens’ constitutional rights? Why or why not?
  3. Read the Supreme Court’s decision on the Timbs v. Indiana case (link above). Do you agree with the court’s conclusion? Why or why not?
  4.  What is your position on civil asset forfeiture laws? Are they in need of reform? Why or why not?
  5. What protections does the Constitution provide for people who are charged with a crime? Should these same protections be guaranteed to people whose property is taken via civil asset forfeiture? Why or why not?