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If you were the attorney for the Church, how would you argue your case?

I need help writing a legal memo

The Church of the One True God vs. Orington

The Church of the One True God opposes vaccinations for infants and children, claiming that such vaccinations are part of a conspiracy aimed at world domination. They claim that putting such material in one’s body violates the Bible’s proclamation to do no harm to one’s own body. Loyal listeners of the talk show radio host Jonesy Alexis – a well-known conspiracy theorist – created the Church 12 years ago, and it is not affiliated with any other Christian sect. The Catholic Pope has denounced the Church as unrepresentative of Christian values. Church members are required via Alexis’ website’s guidelines to listen to him at least 15 minutes per day, as well as attend one service weekly. The Bible – with stories going back 2000 years – is utilized regularly in these services.

Recently, concerns over increases in polio cases in the state of Orington (the 51st U.S. state)– double the number of cases in 2021 over 2020 – have prompted the state legislature to take action, and a law is passed that requires all students attending public school K-12 to provide proof of the polio vaccination in order to attend. All polio vaccines are “free,” provided by the State. Those who fail to provide proof will not be allowed to attend school, and all children by State law must attend school or be home schooled until the age of 16. In order for parents to avoid punishment, the child must be vaccinated or home schooled. A failure to perform either can lead to fines and/or jail time for the parents responsible.

Additionally, all adults in the state of Orington are being encouraged by the state’s Center of Disease Control to be vaccinated. Because the rollout of the vaccine at this level will take some time, students are currently required to wear N95 masks while inside school buildings, and these masks are provided for free by the State. A recent reputable scientific journal has reported that the use of such masks provides sufficient protection against the spread of polio, eliminating schools as a relevant source of community spread. The same publication also noted that 25% of those getting the shot will have minor side effects, and that very few adverse long-term medical reactions occur. The Church supports the use of masks in public schools, and is not challenging this rule.

Adherents of the Church refused to vaccinate or home school their children, and a State trial court fined each violating member $1000. Additionally, these parents were ordered to send their children to school or home school them; failure to obey this order would result in jail time for the parents. The parents appealed both the fine and the order to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the new law violates the First Amendment.

You are a clerk for the Attorney General of the State of Orington. Your task is to write a memo objectivelyassessing Orington’s chances of winning this case under U.S. Constitutional Law.

Identify the issues and rules that arise under the U.S. Constitution in this case. How would each side argue each rule?

Use only the U.S. Constitution, cases, and subject matter assigned for this class.

In crafting your answer, you will want to consider:

If you were the attorney for the Church, how would you argue your case?
How might your boss – the Attorney General for the State of Orington – respond to the Church’s arguments?
Your task is not to write an argumentative essay. Here, you want to objectively assess the cases we’ve read, and make each side’s arguments based on the law as the Court has presented it.

Show off what you know from class, no matter how trivial it may seem. Every sentence in the hypo provides an opportunity to score points.

Use only the cases referenced in the textbook; you may not use any outside sources.

There is more than one way organize this essay. However, the simplest way is first to spot the constitutional issue(s), and then identify the corresponding rules. Define and explain the rules and how they would apply to the facts. (Do this for each side, and for each element of the rule.) You might conclude by stating who you think has the stronger argument, but this is the least important part of your essay; what’s most important is that you spot the issue(s), provide the rules, and then explain how the rules apply to the facts, noting how each side would likely frame their arguments on such rule application. Notice how this follows the FIRAC model of briefing cases – you’re simply leaving out the “F” in your essay.

Page Limit

Your exam may not exceed 1500 words. Citations (e.g., “Epstein 158”) will not count against this limit. Your score will be deducted 1/3 of a letter grade for every additional 100 words. PLACE YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE END OF YOUR ESSAY. Additionally, please note whether you’re referencing the print or electronic copy of the text; do so next to your word count.

Grading and Writing Guidelines

Your grade is holistic, and includes content, organization, basic writing skills, and citations:

CONTENT/SUBSTANCE – Identify the relevant constitutional issues and provisions, define the relevant rules, and apply the rules to the fact pattern. Do your best to write in an objective manner, i.e., provide the arguments for each side. If you’ve ever written an objective legal memorandum, that is the tone I’m looking for here.

ORGANIZATION – Your paper must have a clear organization so I can follow where you are headed. Be clear about which constitutional issues you’re addressing, and address one issue and rule at a time. Consider using headings.

BASIC WRITING SKILLS – Write with clarity, i.e., address the legal issues directly. Additionally, I need to be able to understand what you’re trying to convey to me, which means that you must use proper mechanics, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.

CITATIONS – You must cite to cases – and page numbers when possible – via brief parentheticals at the end of the relevant sentences, e.g., (Marbury v. Madison 67), or with footnotes. (It will be easier for you to determine your word count if you use footnotes, as your word processor can automatically count for you.) If you’ve already named the case, then you may simply cite to the page number: (67). If you are using a version of the text without page numbers, please say so at the top of your essay, and simply cite to the case names. When citing to the Constitution, simply provide the Article and Section, e.g., (Art. I sec. 8).

My textbook is title Constitutional law for a changing america: Rights, liberties, and justice

Answer preview If you were the attorney for the Church, how would you argue your case?


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