Political Science: The Federal Government Policies

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Q1. According to the text, the American criminal justice system is fundamentally based upon the philosophy of retribution rather than rehabilitation. Americans have had their anger against criminal behavior fueled by law-and-order political rhetoric; prisons are big 'business' in America; and the primary ideological model for dealing with crime is taking criminals off the street, rather than reducing the number of criminals through effective social policies. Victim's rights are conceptualized as a zero-sum game which can only be won by severely punishing the guilty. The emphasis on retribution over rehabilitation is why America still has the death penalty, in contrast to the other major Western industrialized democracies. America has made notable strides in protecting individual rights through the courts. The right to due process, as established in the fourteenth amendment, was a critical component in securing the civil rights of African-Americans, although the grass roots organization of the Civil Rights movement was required to ensure that African-Americans' rights were actually protected in practice. The U.S. Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education overturned the earlier ruling of Plessey v. Ferguson, which established the infamous 'separate but equal' doctrine. No matter how powerful the politician, he or she must still uphold the laws of the land, and cannot override them based upon his or her political whims. No matter what his or her status, if a
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