As a prequisite for all law school applications, the LSAT is important in evaluating a student’s ability to place in the best legal program possible.
Many people believe that the LSAT is a test on the law; this is not the case. The LSAT is an exam that primarily tests one’s skills in logical thinking and critical analysis.
With “Logic games,” logical reasoning, and reading comprehension, the test focuses on three main sections in addition to a writing sample and an experimental section, and is scored from 130 (lowest) to 180 (perfect). As the test draws closer, many students have a myriad of questions regarding how anyone should prepare for the LSAT. Generally, there is no specific time one should begin preparation. Many students begin their training at different times before test-day.
The most popular test dates are in June and October, according to Dr. Gregroy Bordelon, lecturer of the political science department and the pre-law advisor for students at the University. Bordelon explains there are several reasons he pushes for students to take the LSAT in June.
“First, the June test will allow a reportable score to come back before the fall semester of the student’s senior year starts and that way, the student has more time to realistically research law schools, look at historical LSAT scores of those schools prior admitting classes, speak often with their pre-law advisor, and really do their homework on whether law is for them.”
Bordelon continued, “The June test puts students in the most attractive position with a highly selective process known as early admit decisions where some of the more elite schools open up a few seats for potential candidates before regular admissions decisions begin.”
Kelly Craig and Alexandra Tuyahow have been elected President and Vice President of the Student Government Association for the 2013-2014 school year and are looking to take their prior experiences and apply them to their new positions.
Craig is a 21-year-old junior political science major from Monroe Township. She is currently a residential assistant and a member of the Political Science Club on campus. Next year, in addition to being SGA President, she will be co-captain of the University Debate Team and will serve as President of the political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha. She also works for human resources on campus.
When Craig joined SGA in her freshman year, she was involved in the “Giving Tree” Campaign. During her sophomore year, she was chairperson of Spring Fest and named historian, which is an executive position for SGA. This year she served as Vice President with Oscar Sanchez, senior communication major.
Tuyahow is a 20-year-old sophomore business/accounting major from Farmingdale, NJ. She is currently a member of the sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon and works for Student Services on campus.
Student issues that Craig and Tuyahow want to deal are priority registration, the reasoning behind the perspective courses that seniors are forced to take and to focus on their relationship with Aramark. Both Craig and Tuyahow invite students to approach them with their thoughts on these issues so they can speak the students’ minds.
One of the major problems that Craig and Tuyahow hope to combat is student involvement.
One way that Tuyahow mentions is the “Open your MonMOUTH” campaign, which allows students to connect to SGA. Tuyahow also hopes to eliminate rumors, such as the amount spent on landscaping and wants to encourage more students to join SGA as general members, which any student can be.
As alleged suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, lies in a hospital bed awaiting police interrogation just two weeks after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and several days after the manhunt that resulted in his capture and the death of his brother Tamerlan, 26, questions have turned to motive.
As the investigation commences, a new question arises as to whether the surviving Tsarnaev brother, a naturalized American citizen, should be tried as a U.S. citizen under the American legal system, or as an “enemy combatant.”
Dr. Michele Grillo of the Criminal Justice Department explained that the term “enemy combatant” is a general category that includes two sub-categories: lawful and unlawful combatants.
She described that while lawful combatants receive prisoner of war (POW) status and the protections of the Third Geneva Convention, a treaty that defined humanitarian protections for prisoners of war, unlawful combatants do not receive POW status or the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention.
In the case of Tsarnaev, Grillo expressed, “Many in the U.S. government wanted surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be treated as an unlawful enemy combatant. As such, he would not receive protections under the Third Geneva convention, nor the civil or federal laws of the United States.”
The Obama administration has retired the term “enemy combatant,” used by the Bush administration to justify the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects after September 11, 2001. However, the President has retained the right to detain indefinitely those who provide ‘substantial support’ to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or associated forces.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is proposing a new tax plan for all residents, which will be the focus for his upcoming campaign. The plan proposed is a compromise from the last tax cut he proposed in order to settle the plan with the state Democrats and Republicans.
Last year, the Governor proposed a plan that would cut 10 percent across the board on income taxes. The state’s lawmakers informed him they would prefer tax cuts that link to property instead, to which he agreed. However, the deal did not pass because lawmakers and economists were fearful of the revenue’s projections being too optimistic.
His new plan is based off of the one from last year, to which Christie put the tax cuts into property taxes. The major difference in the plan, however, is the benefit it will be to higher-income households. The old plan called for household’s making $250,000, the new plan raised up to $400,000.
The plan calls for increasing the state’s earned income tax credit to 25 percent of the federal level, raising it five percent from the 20 percent that is currently is today. The Governor was the one to drop the income down to 20 percent in 2010, but now worked with lawmakers to move it back to its original 25 percent.
The plan aims mainly at middle class and higher earners. For example, households earing up to $400,000 would collect an income tax credit equal to 10 percent of their property tax bill, which would be refundable and capped at $10,000. Typically, New Jersey homeowners are the ones to pay the highest average in property taxes. Last year, the property tax bill was at $7,900.
New Jersey residents that are qualified for becoming homeowners will start off with $100 credit for the last half of the year 2013, which will elevate to four percent of their property tax in 2014, then to eight percent in 2015, and eventually allowing them to catch up to the current homeowners with 10 percent in 2016. The credit will also increase for renters, moving up from the already set price of $50 to $200 by 2015.
Professor of Economics and Financing Steven Pressmen believes the plan to be good politics, but poor economics.
“The first issue is that the state of New Jersey must balance its budget. That means the money for the tax cuts cannot be borrowed. If we cut taxes for some people, the government needs to get the revenue from elsewhere. Since the Governor is not willing to increase taxes on the very wealthy to pay for tax cuts to the working poor and the middle class, that only leaves spending cuts as a way to fund the tax cuts,” said Pressman.
Pressman continued, “There are lots of ways to do this, but here are some likely possibilities. State employees will be laid off or their salaries reduced to pay for their tax cut. Most likely, state aid to colleges and universities will be cut and tuition at all state universities will rise. There will probably be a push to cut spending for the public school system in NJ (one of the best in the country). At bottom, the economics of the plan does a little more than give money to New Jersey residents with one hand and then have to take away the money with the other hand in order to balance the state budget. Back to the brilliant politics briefly, the tax cut plan stipulates that if the money is not there for the tax cuts, the state (Democratic) legislature will be required to rescind the tax cuts-- the Governor will not get involved at all.”
What are Some of the Risks and Rewards in Political Reporting in America and Abroad?
Political journalism around the world offers unique challenges for journalists to reveal the truth to people when, in some countries, the government will do anything, including harming the journalist, in order to keep their control over the press.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2013 alone, 13 journalists were killed around the world and 62 percent of the 13 journalists were covering politics. In 2012, 232 journalists were imprisoned around the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
In the past decade, the most dangerous place for journalists has been Iraq. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, around 89 media people were murdered and another 50 died in crossfire or other acts of war between the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2010.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, in 2011, during the turmoil of the Arab Spring, at least 33 journalists and media personnel were killed: One in Algeria, one in Bahrain, two in Egypt, one in Iran, 11 in Iraq, six in Libya, one in Syria, one in Tunisia, five in Yemen, and four in Somalia.
Dr. Eleanor Novek, associate professor of communication, said that Congress shall not suppress the press, but does not have to support it. For example, Novek said that England has a state supported press which means that the newspapers do not have to raise revenue. However, the downside is that there is censorship.
According to Novek, some countries worry about the role of the press and security. “When countries identify journalists as threats to say security, then it [the government] feels entitled to imprison them, exile or even kill them,” said Novek.
Novek believes that in some countries such as the United States, there is corporate pressure for self-censorship. She said that some of the publications are even owned by larger corporations which can decide what information is published.
Novek said that governments may even force journalists to reveal sources.
“Journalists know more than the government or law enforcement and have been pressured into revealing sources,” added Novek.
Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of the political science department, said, “Obviously, the media plays a crucial role and a free media is essential for the freedom of expression. More often than not, if it were not for the media, instances of human rights abuses, corruption, illegal activities, among others, would not be uncovered.”
Sarsar also said that if the media is protected, it makes society much more informed. “While the media must do its job responsibly, freedom of expression must be guaranteed. It is a fundamental right, necessary for the actualization of other human rights. Media personnel must be protected so that they can do their job. It behooves governments in particular and people in general to enable the media to do its job.”
Dr. Michele Grillo, assistant professor in the criminal justice department, said that the Middle East is one of the most dangerous places to report because of the misconception that journalists are lying.