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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)
Texas v. Johnson (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
Plyler 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.

DISCLAIMER: These resources are created by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for educational purposes only. They may not reflect the current state of the law, and are not intended to provide legal advice, guidance on litigation, or commentary on any pending case or legislation.