Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for May 2020 Topics

Research Links

Surveillance Law (H.R.6172)

Congress.gov: “H.R.6172 – USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020”

Subscriptlaw.com: “Overview of Government Surveillance Laws”

Lawfare Blog: “What’s in H.R. 6172, the House’s Compromise FISA Reform Bill?”

The Hill: “Trump, Privacy Hawks Upend Surveillance Brawl”

Reason.com: “A Compromise Bill on Domestic Surveillance Reform”

Common Dreams: “Rights Groups Warn Against Handing Trump Terrifying Spy Powers”

Americans for Prosperity: “AFP Urges Senators to Vote Against FISA Reauthorization”
 

Equal Rights Amendment

Congress.gov: S.J.Res.6 “Joint resolution removing the deadline for ratification of ERA”

Congress.gov: H.J.Res.79 “Removing the deadline for the ratification of the ERA”

equalrightsamendment.org: “Why We Need the Equal Rights Amendment”

Trump Administration Department of Justice Opinion on ERA

statusofwomendata.org: “The Economic Status of Women in the States”

Washington Post: “It’s time to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment”

Critical-Thinking Questions

Surveillance Law

  1. Read the text of “H.R.6172 – USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020” (link above). Are the reforms in this bill strong enough? Why or why not?
  2. One of the reforms in H.R.6172 is the guarantee that House Intelligence Committee members will have access to all FISA applications. Should Congress require additional transparency mechanisms? Why or why not?
  3. Currently, federal government agencies can issue national security letters on Americans without a warrant and without informing them. Which constitutional amendment(s) do these practices conflict with?
  4. The argument can be made that compromising our civil liberties in any way means the terrorists have won. Agree or disagree? Explain your reasoning.
  5. Review the surveillance laws currently in place (link above) that allow the federal government to spy on Americans. Does the government have too much power? Not enough?

 
Issue 2: Equal Rights Amendment

  1. Visit https://statusofwomendata.org/, click on the “find your state” arrow and select your state to see how it’s graded for women’s rights. How does your state compare?
  2. Visit the “Why We Need the Equal Rights Amendment” link above. Do you agree with the ar-guments for the ERA? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think there are other groups whose rights should be guaranteed by the U.S. government? If so, what are they?
  4. Are you surprised that the Constitution does not already guarantee rights to women? Why or why not?
  5. Read the “pro” and “con” quotes for the ERA on p. 3 of the newsletter. Decide whose opinion you agree with most and why?