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Opinions Written by Journalism Students in Editorial Writing Class
Rosa Parks
by Kelly Freeman
November 2, 2005

The widely known civil rights activist Rosa Parks died at age 92 today in Detroit.

Parks was born in 1913 on February 4th in Tuskegee, Alabama, to James and Leona McCauley. She was raised in a rural community outside of Montgomery.

Parks was involved in the civil rights movement when in 1955 she refused to sit at the back of a bus and stirred the beginning of the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott.

In "Stride Toward Freedom," Dr. Martin Luther King wrote:

"Actually no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.' Mrs. Parks's refusal to move back was her intrepid affirmation that she had had enough. It was an individual expression of a timeless longing for human dignity and freedom. She was not 'planted' there by the N.A.A.C.P. or any other organization; she was planted there by her personal sense of dignity and self-respect. She was anchored to that seat by the accumulated indignities of days gone by and the boundless aspirations of generations yet unborn."

A hero to many, Rosa Parks was modest, despite her numerous accomplishments. Numerous organizations, universities and individuals honored Parks, including the NAACP, which bestowed on her its highest award, the Springarn Medal, in 1979.

In 1994 she was awarded an international peace prize for her endeavors for world peace dedicated to her on her first journey to Europe.

The Medal of Freedom, the highest award the U.S. can give to a civilian, also presented to her in 1999 by President William J. Clinton.

An inspiration to many, Rosa Parks remains an example of what one person can do to change the future. Hopefully, we will have the courage she had to make a difference in our lives as well as others.

Should U.S. Supreme Court justices have lifetime tenure?
by Sonia Jackson
November 3, 2005

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court should not have lifetime tenure.

They are appointed by the president and approved by the senate. They have the huge responsibility of making fair and unbiased interpretations of the constitution.

Unless they resign or are impeached, Supreme Court justices may serve on the bench for their entire lifetime if they desire.

Some say that limiting the time Supreme Court justices can serve could bring too many changes too quickly, resulting in an unstable judicial system.

It has also been argued that Supreme Court justices can perform their job better because they don't have to worry if today will be the day they lose their job.

Although it's the duty of every judge to be as fair and unbiased as possible, it is most important with Supreme Court justices because their decisions affect the entire country for many years.

Yet, it's because the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have a huge impact on the country that the justices shouldn't have lifetime tenure.

Both Congress and the president have limits on how long they can serve.

While the president can be elected a second time, he can only serve two consecutive terms.

As for Congress, they can serve an unlimited amount of time; however, the people do have a chance to elect new members.

Americans can't do anything if they are dissatisfied with Supreme Court decisions, which affect the entire country.

Instead, they must wait until the justices decide to resign, are impeached, or die abruptly.

Just think of Sandra Day O'Connor who resigned from her position after serving on the bench for 24 years.

Don't forget William H. Rehnquist who just died at 85 in 2005. He had been on the bench for 33 years.

Aside from possible physical and mental health issues, that's a long time to serve as a Supreme Court justice. Equally important though, lifetime tenure doesn't allow for growth.

Supreme Court justices may interpret the constitution conservatively, liberally or somewhere in between. Decisions made on either end of the spectrum may not be the best as society moves forward with the times.

There may be clearer interpretations and new solutions to issues or concerns when interpreting the constitution.

Americans will rarely get the chance to realize this if they are stuck with the same Supreme Court justices for most of their lifetime.

Understandably, the Supreme Court justice position is very important. Changes in position shouldn't be so often that judges are in and out as if they were going through a revolving door. A limited tenure could mean serving no more than 20 years. That's something to be decided later.

Right now though, Uncle Sam needs to give some serious thought to limiting the tenure for Supreme Court justices.

Learn more about this topic:

Learning About the United States

The Constitution

Supreme Court - A Brief History

ABC news blog: enough already

Protecting against vampires
by Ariel Houchens
November 8, 2005

Garlic, wooden stakes and crosses can't help anyone escape from these vampires, but a little common sense might.

Over the past two months vampire bats have been blamed for 23 deaths in northern Brazil. Thanks largely to myths, some fear these creatures of the night will creep into their homes, latch onto their necks, suck out their blood completely and fly away into the darkness leaving their cold, dead bodies behind.

The truth is these thumb-sized creatures with an eight-inch wingspan are dangerous, but not because they actually drain a person's body of blood like Brahm Stoker describes.

The vampires don't latch on to a person's throat. Instead, they tear a piece of flesh from a finger or toe and lap up the blood that seeps from the wound. What kills the person isn't the bat itself: it's the disease it carries.

Bats are the number one rabies carriers in Brazil and the 23 people died from the rabies, not blood loss. Rabies infects the central nervous system and causes death in a matter of days if a vaccine is not used.

While some people have died from rabies in the past two months, another 1,350 have been treated with an anti-rabies medication.

The bats have begun to wander into populated places because their forest homes are being destroyed. As they infiltrate farms and cattle ranches, they feed on domesticated animals and usually only attack humans when there is no other bloody option.

Nearly all the attacks on humans have happened at night inside homes, which the bats enter through screenless windows and gaps in the floor and ceiling.

Even if a person were to sleep in a bed of garlic, these tiny vampires wouldn't be hindered. Concerned residents don't need religious symbols to ward off these unwanted visitors. They need to eliminate the gaps and holes in their homes to keep the vampires out.

These topics and opinions have been chosen and expressed by the individual students who wrote them in the Editorial Writing (JRN-309) course in the Department of Mass Communications at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Their views are not endorsed by the professor, the department, the university, or possibly anyone else.
Dr. Anthony R. Curtis, Professor   Professor's home page  »   Professor's other courses  »