This collection helps students explore constitutional questions around the First Amendment, the equal protection clause and affirmative action, with a focus on the intersection of history and current debates.
Why Supreme Court Confirmations Have Become So Bitter
Supreme Court nominations have changed since the defeat of Robert Bork. President Biden hoped for bipartisan support for nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, but recent history of Supreme Court nominations have yielded bitter battles and guarded answers from nominees on their views of important legal issues.
How a 1944 Supreme Court Ruling on Internment Camps Led to a Reckoning
The U.S. government ordered 120,000 people of Japanese descent, most American citizens, imprisoned during World War II. An admission of wrongdoing and reparations payments came decades later, but a Supreme Court ruling had lasting impact.
The Civil Rights Movement Expands: Busing
Why did the U.S. Supreme Court authorize the use of cross-town busing to accelerate school desegregation, and how did that decision affect communities and students in the American South? This video clarifies why landmark decisions like Brown v. Board of Education often required additional efforts to achieve integration.
- Lesson Page: The Legacy of Brown v. Board – Primary Source Analysis
- Student Activity: The Legacy of Brown v. Board
- Student Activity: Brown v. Board of Education SCOTUS FRQ
- Lesson Plan: School Integration – Political Cartoon Analysis
- Student Activity: Brown v. Board – Political Cartoon Analysis
- Student Activity: School Integration Political Cartoon Analysis
- Pear Deck
In the Long Fight to Protect Native American Families, a Law Stands Guard
For generations, Native American children were removed from their homes and placed with white families. A recent Supreme Court ruling affirms the rights of Native families and tribes, giving them preference in adoption and foster care placement.
Why the Supreme Court Endorsed, Then Limited Affirmative Action
Ruling in a case that challenged practices that colleges use to select a diverse student body, the Supreme Court reverses itself.
- Lesson Plan: Why the Supreme Court Endorsed, Then Limited Affirmative Action
- Student Activity: Why the Supreme Court Endorsed, Then Limited Affirmative Action
- Student Activity: Affirmative Action SCOTUS FRQ
- Case Excerpt: Grutter v. Bollinger
- Case Brief Activity
- Article: How to Read a Legal Opinion
- Definitions Activity
Presidents v. Press: How the Pentagon Papers Leak Set Up First Amendment Showdowns
The New York Times Co. v. United States Supreme Court case remains relevant in recent battles that Presidents Obama and Trump have fought to contain national security leaks. Focusing on the broader issues of freedom of the press in a democracy, the video helps students draw a line between the New York Times decision from 1971 and the ongoing disputes between the public’s right to know and the president’s right to secrecy.
How Watergate and Citizens United Shaped Campaign Finance Law
The Watergate campaign finance scandals led to a landmark law designed to limit the influence of money in politics. Decades later, some say the scandal isn’t what’s illegal, it’s what’s legal.
Gerrymandering Tilts Political Power. Here’s How Redistricting Affects Democracy.
Every decade, states engage in redistricting – the redrawing of congressional and state legislative boundaries – after the release of new census data. This process often becomes politicized, with district lines drawn to create partisan advantages and disadvantages, a tactic known as gerrymandering.
Bush v. Gore: How a Recount Dispute Affects Voting Today
After the 2000 election night ended with no clear winner and exposed flaws in our voting system, there was a push for reforms to make elections run more smoothly. This 12-minute video introduces students to the turmoil and confusion of the Bush v. Gore election recount, and illustrates the surprising and unintended aftermath of that event.
Raising Doubts about Evolution… in Science Class
How did an anti-evolution think tank convince Louisiana’s state government to change how evolution was taught, and how did one high school student wage a campaign backed by 78 Nobel laureates to oppose these changes? This video explores how policy disputes over teaching evolution have been shaped by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause.
Trump and Biden Both Want to Repeal Section 230. Would That Wreck the Internet?
Today’s heated political arguments over censorship and misinformation online are rooted in Section 230, a 26-word snippet of a 1996 law that created the Internet as we know it. Now lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want it changed.
From Courtroom to Classroom: SCOTUS Webinar
This webinar focuses on using primary sources to examine the stories behind Supreme Court cases. It covers the Supreme Court confirmation process, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and school desegregation. It includes: free lessons and materials, short lectures from court scholars, original Retro Report films for use in the classroom and guidance on incorporating the narratives into your curriculum.
Tools for Teaching Supreme Court Cases Webinar
Along with our partners and co-hosts, Street Law, this webinar helps teachers navigate Supreme Court decisions in general, but with a special focus on affirmative action and the ongoing impact of the 1944 Korematsu decision.
*These materials are sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.