Three Federal Judges will provide an overview of the government's framework. This introduction will include discussion about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, branches of the government and separation of powers. What is the difference between state and federal courts? Explore their varying levels and roles, judicial independence, stare decisis or precedent, and rule of law.
Civics Education: So, You Think You Know Your Government?
Course Details + Registration
Cost – $50 for the full 8-week program.
Please note that you may not use financial aid as payment for this program.
Schedule – Classes meet Wednesdays, March 27 – May 15 from 6 - 7:15 p.m.
Location – Gallagher Room, Newtown Campus
Registration – Registration is open. Limited seats available.
Classes + Topics
Introduction to Civics Education
Voting Rights and Election Law
An overview of the electoral college, gerrymandering and elections processes in Pennsylvania. This session will cover the following topics:
- How votes are tallied and safeguarded;
- How to register to vote;
- How to vote by mail;
- How to submit a provisional ballot;
- Voters’ rights at the polling place;
- How safe is your vote; and
- Procedures to count votes.
Criminal Law - Fourth Amendment
When can the government bring a case against a defendant? Learn about the Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful arrest, search and seizure through a comprehensive look at key cases and principles in both the Federal and State criminal courts. Hear from a judge, a former federal prosecutor, and a criminal defense attorney who practices in both the federal and state courts explain what is probable cause, when is a search warrant required and when is it not? Learn how criminal cases are filed against an individual and the rights afforded defendants when charged.
Immigration is a federal issue, and it has consistently been a hot-button issue in this country. What is immigration law? Learn the history of immigration, examine case studies, discover the paths to citizenship and some of the obstacles to citizenship.
Employment and Discrimination Litigation
This overview of employment discrimination cases includes the administrative procedures that precede the filing of the federal or state lawsuits. Learn about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the workings of the EEOC. Cases to be discussed include intentional discrimination, disparate treatment, and discrimination and harassment based on gender, race, disability and pregnancy.
First Amendment, Civility and Civil Discourse
How do we exercise our most important rights under the First Amendment to the US Constitution? This session addresses freedom of speech and the press, the right to peacefully assemble and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the exceptions to these rights. In addition, how can you engage in civil discourse with others about the state of our country and the practice of using respectful dialogue to enhance the understanding of an issue.
Civil Rights, Due Process and Equal Protection of Law
Ratified in 1868, the 14th Amendment prohibits a state of "depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." These laws have an expansive reach into many facets of individual lives, such as school segregation, race and gender discrimination, same sex marriage, voting rights, and more.
How Do Judges Decide? Listen to Judges from the federal and state courts explain the process of decision-making. Is it easy to follow sentencing guidelines in a criminal sentencing? Do guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences remove a judge's discretion? In a custody dispute, how does a judge combine the law with the "human factor" to decide? This final class will also review the themes and topics discussed throughout the course.