Instructions: Your total script must be double-spaced and not exceed 2,500 words. It is important to anticipate and rebut the strongest arguments against the positions which you adopt or for the positions which you reject. There is no need to go outside the assigned readings of the course to write the examination.
MADISON v. GEORGIA
In 2030, the Georgia state legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a statute providing enhanced penalties for “hate crimes”—defined as “any unlawful act motivated by animus towards any religious, ethnic, racial, sexual orientation or gender identity group.” The Georgia Hate Crimes Law (GHCL) adds one (1) year of imprisonment to the underlying sentence of anyone convicted of a hate crime.
Luther Madison, an Atlanta LGBTQ+ activist and leader, strongly supports the GHCL. He is also an outspoken advocate of legislation recognizing polyamorous partnerships of up to three persons as legal marriages; forbidding with no religious or other exceptions discrimination by private businesses and other providers of goods or services based on sexual orientation or gender identity; and mandating an LGBTQ+ history curriculum in all Georgia public elementary, middle, and high schools. He founded the Georgia Equality Coalition (GEC) to counter opposition to his legislative agenda, and by the end of 2031 it had over 1,000 dues-paying members, a political action committee, and was holding demonstrations, running advertisements in various media, and opposing and supporting candidates for Georgia state offices.
On the other side of these issues stands Georgia’s “Restore Morality Alliance” (RMA), led by Rev. Eustace Jordan, pastor of Salvation in Christ AME Church, in Savannah. RMA’s thousands of members support restoring traditional marriage laws, oppose mandatory LGBTQ+ public school curricula, and defend the “right of conscientious objectors to refrain from providing goods or services for use in ceremonies, celebrations, and other events or activities that were incompatible with their religious or moral beliefs.” When the GEC organizes demonstrations, the RMA holds counter-demonstrations, and vice versa. Advocacy is vigorous on both sides; and at times, the competing demonstrations have generated confrontations, which police quickly subdued.
At a demonstration organized by the GEC in Albany, Georgia in 2032, Madison made an impassioned plea to an audience of 5,000 urging them to oppose “Christian fascists of any race who stand against equality and social justice. These bigots should be treated the way we treated the Nazi war criminals after World War II.”
In the course of Madison’s speech, Reverend Jordan appeared screaming “Repent, Sinner!” at Madison while carrying a large flag emblazoned with a cross and, in large letters, the words “No Equality for Immorality.” Madison became furious and charged at Jordan, punching him, grabbing his flag and ripping it in half.
Madison was arrested and charged with assault and battery and destruction of private property under applicable Georgia laws. In addition, the Georgia prosecutor obtained an indictment under the GHCL based on the allegation that Madison’s crimes were motivated by animus towards Christians. At his trial, Madison’s attorneys argued for his right to express his views, including his animosity towards those Christians he regarded as fascists, without fear of punishment or censorship. They maintained that the GHCL, as applied to Madison, violates the Constitution of the United States by criminalizing and punishing “beliefs, ideas, and advocacy.” The prosecution countered that “hate” was not protected by the First Amendment, particularly when the hateful “advocacy” was coupled with violent and other illegal conduct.
The state prevailed at trial. Madison was convicted by a jury on all counts. His underlying crimes carried a sentence of 3 years. To that, the court added one year pursuant to the GHCL, making a total of 4 years of imprisonment, which the trial court stayed pending appeal.
Madison appealed his conviction unsuccessfully through the Georgia state courts. After losing in the Georgia Supreme Court 5-4, with a strong dissent, he has filed an appeal in the US Supreme Court seeking to declare the GHCL unconstitutional and to vacate Madison’s conviction and 1- year enhanced sentence thereunder. (Madison has not appealed from his conviction of the underlying crimes of assault and battery and the destruction of property.)
The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to hear Madison’s appeal. You are the law clerk for Chief Justice Elizabeth Holmes Martinez. She has asked you to prepare a memorandum discussing and recommending how the Court should rule on the constitutional issues raised by Madison’s appeal. In particular, Justice Martinez has asked you to address the following question:
Is the GHCL, either on its face or as applied to Madison, invalid under the “free speech clause” of the 1st Amendment, applicable to Georgia via the 14th Amendment?
Justice Martinez has instructed you to (a) assume that Madison’s conduct meets the definition of “hate crime” under the GHCL, and to (b) set forth in your memorandum the strongest arguments and counter-arguments on the issues you address, with clear recommendations for the Court’s decision on each of the issues. She has reminded you that she has a maverick streak and does not feel bound to follow precedent, provided she is persuaded that the precedent is wrong and may be overruled notwithstanding the doctrine of stare decisis.
Type of assignment: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Essay
Number of sources: 15
Academic level: Bachelor
Paper format: Harvard
Line spacing: Double
Language style: US English