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Upper School: History: American Government: Home

Bowen: Supreme Court Assignment

Supreme Court Assignment

American Government

March 30, 2020


The remainder of the course will be on the Judicial Branch, civil liberties, and civil rights. We will be focusing on Supreme Court case law and how judicial decisions have shaped the first eight amendments to the Constitution, presidential power, and race relations.


Your assignment will be to select a landmark Supreme Court case from the list below. You will write a three page summary of the case and deliver a 10-minute Powerpoint presentation on your findings in class on Google Meet. Your papers and presentations should include:

  • Circumstances of the case
  • Supreme Court decision
    • Vote total
    • Rationale of the majority opinion
    • Constitutional question
    • Legal precedent
    • Rationale of dissenting opinion (if applicable)
  • Impact of the decision
  • How it relates to other Supreme Court cases


The writing assignment will be worth 20 points and will be assessed on:

            Completeness and Accuracy:                                              10 points

            Clarity of the writing (structure, spelling, grammar):                       5 points

            Citations and Use of Evidence (Did you use and cite scholarly evidence?):   5 points


The Powerpoint will be worth 20 points and will be assessed on:

            Completeness and Accuracy:                         10 points

            Spelling/Grammar                                          4 points

            Effectiveness of Presentation                         4 points

            Time Limit (9-11 minutes)                             2 points


You may select from the following cases. Because I don’t have a good sense of timing for Laurel School @ Home versus Laurel School @Lyman Circle, I am not putting a due date on these yet. We will cover roughly two a class period in this order, so if you want to go last choose one from the bottom of the list. If you want to get it out of the way, choose one of the upper ones.


Freedom of Religion

Engel v Vitale                                                            

Employment Division v. Smith                                   


Freedom of Speech

Schenk v. U.S.                                                                        

Brandenburg v. Ohio                                                 

Tinker v. Des Moines School District                        

Texas v. Johnson                                                        

Freedom of the Press

Near v. Minnesota                                                     

Miller v. California                                                    


Second Amendment

McDonald v. Chicago                                                

D.C. v. Heller                                                            


Civil Liberties

Mapp v. Ohio                                                             

Korematsu v. U.S.                                                      

Gideon v. Wainwright                                                

Miranda v. Arizona                                                    



Griswold v. Connecticut                                            

Roe v. Wade                                                               

Planned Parenthood v. Casey                                   

Webster v. Reproductive Health Services                 


Presidential Power

U.S. v. Nixon                                                              

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld