Introduction: Access to Justice
Social Justice - "the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities."
Criminal Justice - "laws, procedures, institutions, and policies at play before, during, and after the commission of a crime."
Civil Justice - I define this as leveling the playing field for the little guy in civil disputes.
I wrote the following paragraph on an actual case. Please read before class: I came across a story from July 2005 about West Virginia’s Marsh Fork Elementary School, which is situated 400 yards below a 2.8 billion gallon coal waste dam. 400 yards? 2.8 billion gallons?? With the kids breathing coal dust and chemicals from the coal silo which sits 150 feet away. The only reason this is making any news is that the grandfather of one of the elementary school kids sat on the West Virginia Capitol steps and refused to leave until the governor addressed these rather serious concerns. The guy was just a little curious why the Department of Environmental Protection approved a permit for an additional coal silo adjacent to the school. He was just wondering why in a school of 200 students, three kids and four teachers had died of cancer. And with 240 significant safety violations since 1991, why nothing was being done, like building another school. Away from the madness. 2.8 billion gallons. 2.8 billion. School’s not out. School’s gone!
What would you do? Assume that you do not have the resources to move. (Reflect on the parallels with New Orleans residents affected by Hurricane Katrina, also in 2005). Break up into teams of three and discuss. Then we will re-group for a class discussion on this case and current cases in the news – e.g., Flint water crisis is back in the news.