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Rule of Law

Analyze how landmark Supreme Court decisions maintain the rule of law and protect minorities.

About These Resources

Case Summaries

  • Express Unpopular Views:
    Snyder v. Phelps (military funeral protests)
    Johnson v. Texas (flag burning)
  • Participate in the Judicial Process:
    Batson v. Kentucky (race and jury selection)
    J.E.B. v. Alabama (gender and jury selection)
  • Exercise Religious Practices:
    Church of the Lukumi-Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (controversial religious practices)
    Wisconsin v. Yoder  (compulsory education law and exercise of religion)
  • Access to Education:
    Plyer v. Doe (immigrant children)
    Brown v. Board of Education (separate is not equal)
    Cooper v. Aaron (implementing desegregation)

How to Use These Resources

In Advance

  1. Teachers/lawyers and students read the case summaries and questions.
  2. Participants prepare presentations of the facts and summaries for selected cases in the classroom or courtroom.
    • Examples of presentation methods include lectures, oral arguments, or debates.

In the Classroom or Courtroom

Teachers/lawyers, and/or judges facilitate the following activities:

  1. Presentation: rule of law overview
  2. Interactive warm-up: opening discussion
  3. Teams of students present: case summaries and discussion questions
  4. Wrap-up: questions for understanding

  • Program Times: 50-minute class period; 90-minute courtroom program. Timing depends on the number of cases selected. Presentations maybe made by any combination of teachers, lawyers, and/or students and student teams, followed by the discussion questions included in the wrap-up.

  • Preparation Times:
    • Teachers/Lawyers/Judges: 30 minutes reading
    • Students: 60-90 minutes reading and preparing presentations, depending on the number of cases and the method of presentation selected.

  • Courthouse Venue: If the teacher would like to have a federal judge preside over the presentations, use the court locator to find the nearest local courthouse.