News and Announcements

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The U.S. Supreme Court's 2017 Term in Review

The "Travel Ban," wedding cake, sports betting, internet sales tax, and the purging of voter lists -- these are just a handful of cases from the Court's docket during its 2017 Term.

Oh, and there was also an important partisan gerrymandering case, but the Court sidestepped it, by invoking a procedural escape-hatch, commonly referred to as the "lack of standing."

We'll also discuss the recent announcement of Justice Kennedy's retirement, and how this will impact the ideological makeup of the bench.

RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/NYC-Politics/events/251065057/

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Well, it's that time of the year again -- as the Court wraps up its 2017 Term, a series of important decisions will be handed down in the waning days.

As always, we'll be discussing these cases from a prism of political or public policy lenses -- no prior legal experience, or a comprehensive understanding of the Constitution or the Supreme Court is required.

To that end, we'll discuss the following cases:

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Foreign Policy Roundtable: North Korea, G7, Jerusalem, and Italy's New Gov't

Join us for this month's featured Foreign Policy discussion, covering some of the most consequential events unfolding on the world stage.

The discussion topics will include:

I. The outcome of the U.S.-DPRK Summit in Singapore -- is it a beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

II. The U.S.' formal recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel and the ongoing Middle East diplomacy, amid the violent clashes at the Gaza border.

III. Italy's new "populist" coalition government vis-à-vis its uncertain future as an E.U. member state, amid stagnant economy and the "nationalistic" fervor brought on by recent waves of migrants.

IV. The outcome of the G7 (or the G6 plus one) Summit and the diplomatic fallout with its member states. Should it revert to G8?

More details to follow.

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Past Meetup Law, History & Politics: The Russian Revolution (c. 1917)

We'll continue the Second Season of Law History and Politics, discussing the Russian Revolution of 1917.

For this meeting, we will examine the Russian Revolution of 1917 by analyzing its three distinct components: Law, History and Politics. To that end, we'll discuss the following:

I. Law

The 1918 Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1918_Constitution_(Fundamental_Law)_of_the_RSFSR).

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
(http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/bl34.asp)

II. History

The rise of "worker's movement" in the era of Industrial Revolution.

Prior assassination attempts of the Czars.

Russia's entry into WWI.

The Civil War of 1918.

The sudden influence and the rise of power of Grigori Rasputin.

The demise, exile and the ultimate execution of the Romanovs, ending a 300-year Monarchy.

III. Politics

The growing political opposition to Czar Nicholas II.

A formation of the interim governing body, the Duma.

Bolsheviks vs. Mensheviks

The rise of the Social Democratic Party lead by Lenin and Trotsky -- resulting in Leninism vs. Trotskyism.

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Motion Debate: "Free Speech" on Public University Campuses

Background:
In October 2017, the University of Florida spent a staggering $600,000 for extra security measures to prepare for a talk given by white supremacist leader, Richard Spencer. At UC Berkeley, a conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, was met by hundreds of protestors, police officers, and barricades. His speech was delivered to a few dozen people in a nearly empty forum, and subsequently the four-day "Free Speech Week" was canceled.

We're seeing a rise of the "heckler's veto," a term for disruptive behavior causing universities to cancel contentious programs. Conservatives argue liberals are stifling free speech, and liberals view free speech as a weapon used by the right to spread hateful rhetoric.

Are these divisive speakers ultimately benefiting the student body through constructive dialogue, or is their presence a dangerous distraction? Are the exorbitant costs to provide adequate safety protocols on campus worth it to taxpayers? Where does the First Amendment fit into this, and do public universities have an obligation to grant these speakers an audience?

We hope you'll join us!

Complimentary beer and refreshments served all night!

More details @ MotionDebate.com

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Event Schedule:

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Political Thinkers: Jordon Peterson (Part One)

We'll continue the "Political Thinkers" series -- it critically examines the political and ideological viewpoints of prominent public figures, considered to be tremendously influential in the current "new media" landscape.

Here, the goal is to discuss fresh viewpoints -- some of which might be "unconventional" in nature -- in analyzing its applicability in our ever-increasingly complex society. Just like every issue that our group discusses, we examine and evaluate it in an independent and critical manner, at the highest intellectually-rigorous level.

For this discussion, we'll evaluate the views of the following contemporary individual: Jordon Peterson.

We'll explore the following questions:

- Does his views blur the lines of traditional ideological boundaries?
- What makes his appeal so controversial?
- Has his views and positions always remained intellectually consistent?
- What are his deep-rooted philosophical basis for his stated views and positions, if any?
- What do his rise to popularity indicate about the current cultural or political climate?

We will then view his positions on deep philosophical themes and key policy matters, including:

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up Law, History & Politics: The "Beer Hall Putsch" -- Munich, Bavaria (c. 1923)

We'll continue the Second Season of Law History and Politics, discussing Hitler's trial for high treason in the People's Court in Munich, Bavaria.

For this meeting, we will examine Hitler's trial by analyzing its three distinct components: Law, History and Politics. To that end, we'll discuss the following:

I. Law

The nature of charges for orchestrating the Beer Hall Putsch (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_Hall_Putsch#Trial_and_prison).

Other named co-defendants, including Gen. Erich Ludendorff.

The verdict and the underlying justifications
(https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Adolf_Hitler_Trial_before_the_People%...)

The post-verdict prison sentence.

II. History

The post-WWI devastation faced by all belligerents, including Germany.

The proclamation and designation of the Weimar Republic.

Germany's ongoing burdens and obligations from the Treaty of Versailles

The post-war economic crisis, hyperinflation, and high unemployment.

III. Politics

The highly politicized nature of the Defendant's speeches during trial.

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Political Thinkers: Sam Harris and Reza Azlan

We'll continue the "Political Thinkers" series -- it examines the political and ideological viewpoints of prominent public figures, considered to be tremendously influential in their respective ideological camps.

For this discussion, we'll compare and contrast the views of these contemporary individual: Sam Harris and Reza Azlan. We'll explore the following questions:

- Do their views blur the lines of traditional ideological boundaries?
- What makes their appeal so controversial?
- Have their views and positions always remained intellectually consistent?
- What are their deep-rooted philosophical basis for their stated views and positions, if any?
- What do their rise to popularity indicate about the current cultural or political climate?

We will then view their positions on key policy matters, including:

- Islam vs. Secularism
- The role of religion in shaping public policies.
- The role of religion in international conflicts (past and present).
- Views on evolution and "creationism."
- Merits of political correctness (and lack thereof).
- The current state of "Liberalism."
- The moral complexity of genetics.

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Iran vs. Saudi Arabia: From "twin pillars" of Islam to proxy wars

Join us for this featured foreign policy discussion of the month!

As these two competing powers continue to rival one another for political and religious dominance, we'll examine the root causes of this bitter rivalry -- some of which date back to the Seventh Century A.D.

The timing of this discussion is ripe because this year marks the 40th anniversary of the start of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Many experts trace back to this period as the start of the "modern" rivalry, thereby setting the stage for the modern conflicts and proxy wars.

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For this meeting, we’ll explore and discuss the following topics:

- The historical tensions and the dividing line in the Islamic World, tracing back to as early as circa 600 A.D.

- The competing visions to dominate the region -- including the willingness to tolerate, and even propagate sectarian violence based on religious justifications.

- The use of proxies and client states to propagate each side's dominance. We'll also examine the Iraq-Iran Wars, the Gulf Wars 1.0 and 2.0, the 1982 Lebanon War, and the modern conflict in Yemen.

- The thorny relations with the U.S. and the Western Powers. Also, how the recent cabinet change in the Trump Administration (e.g., appointments of Pompeo and Bolton) may drastically change the U.S.-Iran relations.

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A Symposium on "Free Speech" and Its Potential Limits

This is a special event in conjunction with our friends at the The Society for Constitutional Protection (https://www.meetup.com/The-Society-for-Constitutional-Protection/).

For this event, we'll offer a select presentation on the following "Free Speech" topics:

1) Libel laws: From the Alien and Sedition Acts to New York Times Co. v. Sullivan to present day.
2) The doctrine of "prior restraint" versus the "post-publication punishment."
3) What constitutes as "hate speech"? Should it be protected speech?
4) Restrictions on "inflammatory speech," from the "First Red Scare" to today.

THE TAKEAWAY: why are there restrictions on the foundational pillar of this Constitutional right? History suggests that different branches of government curtailed these rights, as they saw fit to justify it during "turbulent times." Are the present day challenges any different in scope than the ones from the past to justify further restriction on free speech?

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Law, History & Politics: The Treaty of Versailles

We'll continue the Second Season of Law History and Politics, discussing the Treaty of Versailles. This is a very timely subject matter because this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great Armistice of World War One -- as the Great War came to a ceasefire, it ushered in the "diplomatic" efforts in brokering this post-war peace Treaty.

For this meeting, we will examine the Treaty by analyzing its three distinct components: Law, History and Politics. To that end, we'll discuss the following:

I. Law

Pres. Wilson's proposed League of Nations and the "Fourteen Points for Peace."

The severe reparations imposed on Germany.

The imposition of Article 231, commonly referred to as the "War Guilt" clause.

The territorial changes within the European continent, the remaking of borders and carving out new "Nation-States" in the Middle East and the loss of empire holdings by the losing side.

II. History

The historical factors that gave rise to the Allies' victory.

The eventual collapse of the Empires, namely the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires.

The emergence of the Weimar Republic in post-war Germany amid the crippling economic conditions.

The factors that eventually gave rise to the Axis Power, in a run-up to World War II.

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