Last updateMon, 18 Jan 2021 7pm


Supreme Court Lifts Restrictions on Church Gatherings Amid Pandemic

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court’s judges made the decision on Nov. 25th to lift the COVID-19 restrictions on N.Y. houses of worship. It was in a 5-4 ruling and was put in place by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

The request came from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues. The request also claimed that the free exercise of religion from the First Amendment was being violated in the executive order. 

Randall S. Abate, J.D., a Professor of Political Science, said that the Supreme Court ruled lifting the restrictions of N.Y.’s places of worship were necessary because the restrictions infringed the constitutionally protected free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment.

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An Analysis of Biden's Plan for Higher Education

Analysis BidensPresident-elect Joe Biden’s plan for higher education boasts more accessible post-secondary instruction as well as a thriving middle class by wiping away student debt for millions of Americans. However, faculty have differing opinions on the extent of its social and economic benefits.

Randall Abate, J.D., a Professor of Political Science, explained that the plan is not likely to gain bipartisan support in today’s political climate, and that the Republicans in Congress are extremely opposed to major government spending initiatives including government-funded free higher education.

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How Biden's Administration Will Approach Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs 1The incoming Biden Administration will likely take a different approach to foreign policy than the current Trump administration. Throughout his political career, President-elect Joseph Biden has spoken highly of global cooperation and multilateralism.

He has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord that the Trump Administration withdrew from, and the World Health Organization that the administration submitted a notice of withdrawal from during the summer. In addition, Biden has promised the United States’ continued support of international alliances such as NATO.

In contrast to Biden, the Trump Administration has supported an “America First” foreign relations vision. Political strategists have described President Trump as maintaining an “isolationist” or “protectionist” position on many foreign policy issues.

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed, Implications

BarrettThe Senate voted 52-48 to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme on Oct. 27th.

Barrett’s confirmation was the closest to a presidential election in history, and she is the first Justice since 1869 to be confirmed without bipartisan support.

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has been solidified for years to come. 

Michelle Parisi, Adjunct in the Political Science and the Sociology Department, explained how Amy Coney Barrett is an originalist, which is a belief that judges should attempt to interpret the words of the Constitution as the authors planned when it was written.

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The UN World Food Programme Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

UN WorldThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 for its efforts in combating hunger and improving global conditions for peace.

The WFP states that the main causes of food insecurity and hunger are the result of conflict. People living in conflict zones are most affected by this reality and other pressing issues, including destabilization and displacement. 

Destabilization is caused when violence erupts within a community, which triggers a ripple effect that impacts the main infrastructure of the community and exacerbates food security for all people affected. Displacement occurs as the result of the destabilization of a community; it is no longer safe, and people have no other choice but to leave. The combination of these two factors causes malnutrition, which affects children the most, according to the WTP. 

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Americans Celebrate as Biden is Elected

Americans CelebrateThe presidential election results were projected on Nov. 7th, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris announced as the winners of the race. This news lead to various different reactions across the country and around the world.

Jennifer McGovern, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology, went into some detail about people’s reaction towards the election results.

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2020 Is the Vote by Mail Election

2020 Vote 1Many aspects of the race for the White House have been thrown into uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this global health emergency, most voters this year have received mail-in ballots.   

There are two kinds of mail balloting systems: universal vote by mail and absentee balloting. The traditional “go out and vote” method that is promoted to students and other voters will be somewhat different this year. 

States including California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont, and even Washington D.C. went forward with proposals to expand the use of absentee ballots in their elections, bringing into question incidence of voter fraud and the overall effectiveness of mail-in voting.

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Biden's Plan for Climate Change, Explained

default article imageWith the 2020 election underway, the climate crisis has proven itself to be a primary concern for many voters. As it stands, the world is on track to pass its “carbon budget” of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, according to the IPCC’s 2018 Special Report on climate change. 

The key takeaway from the report was the daunting reality that we have just a decade to reduce our carbon emissions by at least 50 percent, in order to avoid irreversible, damage.

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Marijuana Is on the Ballot in New Jersey

Marijuana BallotThis election, as the country casts their votes for President, New Jerseyans are also flipping over their ballots to decide the fate of marijuana legalization in their state—and the numbers are trending toward the referendum being passed.

After a lengthy and unsuccessful campaign to legalize recreational pot at the level of the state legislature, the decision is being left up to voters in New Jersey as Public Question 1, the “Marijuana Legalization Amendment.” The ballot asks New Jerseyans to answer “yes” or “no” to this question: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis?’”

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United Arab Emirates and Israel Sign Peace Agreements

United ArabsThe leaders of Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates met at the White House on Sep. 15 to sign a treaty recognizing Israel’s sovereignty and normalizing their relations with it. The treaty known as the Abraham Accords (after the Biblical/Koranic patriarch), marks the first time in decades that two Arab countries officially established diplomatic ties with Israel.  

There were many positive reactions to the ceremony. Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of foreign affairs, publicly stated, “I stand here today to extend a hand of peace and receive a hand of peace.” 

In addition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “This is not only a peace between leaders. It’s a peace between peoples. Israelis, Emiratis, and Bahrainis are already embracing one another.” Since Bahrain and the UAE signed the treaty, Israel promised to end establishing settlements in the West Bank.

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Monmouth Poll: Law and Order Seen As Major Problem

Monmouth PollThe 2020 Election is taking place during a challenging time in America. Currently, the United States is facing three coinciding existential crises:  a pandemic that has stretched to every corner of the globe, the worst economy since the Great Depression, and a reckoning of racial injustice that has led to a polarizing perception of the issue of law and order.  

 To gain a better understanding of American’s feelings regarding the topic of law and order, the Monmouth University Polling Institute conducted a nationwide survey of 867 adults in an effort to analyze differing sentiments across a variety of demographics.

The data concluded that 65 percent of Americans view law and order as a major problem, compared to the 25 percent that see it as a minor one, and the remaining 8 percent that feel there is no issue at all. 

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