UNIT FIVE PLANNER: THE SUPREME COURT, CIVIL LIBERTIES, & CIVIL
EXAM DATE: Thursday, March 1st (100 points)
QUIZZES: Chapter 14 (25 points) Tuesday, January 30th
Chapter 18 (25 points) Tuesday, February 6th
Chapter 19 (25 points) Tuesday, February 20th
1. The Supreme Court
2. Strict and Broad Construction
3. Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint
4. Judicial Appointments
5. The Structure of the Federal Courts
6. Civil and Criminal Law
7. The Court and Checks and Balances
8. How the Supreme Court Works
9. The Power of the Courts
10. Freedom of Speech, Assembly,
and the Press
11. Freedom of (and from?) Religion
12. The Right to Own Guns
14. Search and Seizure
15. Rights of the Accused and Rights at Trial
17. Cruel and Unusual Punishment
18. The Right to Privacy
19. The Fourteenth Amendment
20. African-Americans, Ethnic Minorities, and Civil Rights
21. Women and Civil Rights
22. Immigrants and Civil Rights
23. Homosexuals, Americans with Disabilities, and Civil Rights
Reading Assignments and Schedule:
Week of January 22nd: Welcome Back
Week of January 29th: The Supreme Court; W & D, Ch. 14; The Bill of Rights and Civil
Week of February 5th: The Bill of Rights and Civil Liberties, cont.; W & D, Ch. 18
Week of February 12th: The Bill of Rights and Civil Liberties, cont.;
Week of February 19th: Civil Rights; W & D, Ch. 19
Week of February 26th: Review, Exam and Begin Unit Six
1. SUPREME COURT PRESENTATIONS: See schedule in Room 219 (50 points)
1. Each student will be required to participate in an oral presentation on one of the
Supreme Court cases listed below.
2. The cases and dates of presentation are:
Free Speech Cases
Schenk v. United States (1919) Thursday, February 1st
Dennis v. United States (1951); Yates v. United States (1957) Thursday, February 1st
Village of Skokie vs. National Socialist Party (1977) Friday, February 2nd
New York Times vs. United States (1971) Monday, February 5th
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969); Hazelwood School District vs. Kuhlmeier (1987) Monday,
Church and State Cases
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) Wednesday, February 7th
Engel v. Vitale(1962); Abington School District v. Schempp(1963) Wednesday,
Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002) Thursday, February 8th
Criminal Rights and Search and Seizure Cases
United States v. Ross (1982) Monday, February 12th
Escobedo v. Illinois (1964); Miranda v. Arizona (1965) Tuesday, February 13th
Death Penalty Cases
Furman v. Georgia (1972); Gregg v. Georgia (1976) Wednesday, February 14th
Atkins v. Virginia (2002) Wednesday, February 14th
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) Thursday, February 15th
Roe v. Wade (1973) Thursday, February 15th
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989); Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)
Friday, February 16th
Lawrence (and Garner) v. Texas (2003) Tuesday, February 20th
Civil Rights Cases
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) Thursday, February 22nd
Gratz v. Bollinger (2003); Grutter v. Bollinger(2003) Thursday, February 22nd
Plyler v. Doe (1982) Monday, February 26th
b. Presenter will need to research cases. There is some discussion of some cases in the
textbook, but most are either not mentioned at all or only mentioned in passing.
In no case is their sufficient information for students to do the entire presentation
based on material from the book. Most opinions can be found at
You will probably need to get other information from other sources, but you can
probably do most of your research on the internet. All cases can be found by
typing in name of case in the Google search engine and going from there. There
are also books with summaries of Supreme Court cases in the library. You can
get opinions from the Supreme Court website, but students should not rely on
their ability to read opinion and determine all relevant issues from the opinions.
You will want to get summaries written by others.
c. Presenter will be responsible for informing class of the following: the legal, social,
and/ or political issues raised by the case, how the case got to the Supreme Court,
a summary of arguments for BOTH sides, the outcome of the case with an
explanation of the decision (both what it was and the reasoning behind it), and
any notable dissenting opinions.
d. Presentations should be approximately 15-20 minutes. Presentations that vary
considerably (either more or less) from this time limit will be penalized.
e. Although the presentations will be evaluated primarily on content, students will be
expected to be prepared, to act professionally, and to speak clearly and audibly.
Visual aids (an outline, handout, etc.) for the class would also be appreciated.
Students who use an EFFECTIVE PowerPoint presentation will earn up to 5
points Extra Credit.
2. BOOK REVIEW ASSIGNMENT: Due Monday, February 5th (100 points)
a. Students should find and read one of the following books:
The American Revelation: Ten Ideals that Shaped Our Country from the Puritans to the
Cold War, by Neil Baldwin
The Assassin’s Gate: Bush and America’s Iraq Disaster, by George Packer
The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track,
by Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein
Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, by Seymour Hersh
China, Inc.: How the Rise of the Next Superpower Affects America and the World by Ted
Closed Chambers: The Rise, Fall, and Future of the Modern Supreme Court by Edward
Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem- And What We Should Do About It,
by Noah Feldman
Divided States of America: The Slash And Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential
Election, by Larry Sabato, editor
The Emerging Democratic Majority, by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. by Steven
D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
The Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America, by Malise Ruthven
Ghost Wars: The Secret of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet
Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
How Democratic is the American Constitution, by Robert Alan Dahl
Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society by Robert
How American Democracy Was Trivialized By People Who Think You're Stupid, by Joe
State of Denial, by Bob Woodward
What’s the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, by
The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman
Books can be checked out from the library, purchased, or purchased and shared.
b. Students will be required to submit a four-five page book review. Reviews should be
typed, double-spaced, and should follow the standard format for this course (page numbers,
one-inch margins, title page, title, etc.) See course syllabus and previous book review
evaluation form. My expectation is that reviews will be better than last time because you
will have done this before.
A well-written book review should:
i. Include a clear thesis in the introductory paragraph. The thesis should summarize
your evaluation of the book. The introductory paragraph should introduce the
book, the author, the basic content of the book, a summary of the author’s primary
contentions, and your summary evaluation.
ii. Place the book in context by describing the central focus of the book. In establishing
context, students should consider the following questions: Who or what is being
discussed? What is the time frame and/or geographic focus of the book? Why is
the author writing the book? What issues is he or she trying to resolve or
iii. Summarize the author’s primary contentions and/or observations about the subject.
Highlight the most interesting and/or controversial arguments made by the author.
Authors generally assist the readers by emphasizing the unique and interesting
aspects of their work. Pay attention to these clues. If the author fails to clearly
identify the most important conclusions, discuss those that you find most
iv. Evaluate the author’s contentions and use of evidence. In doing so, students should
ask the following questions: Did the author support his or her conclusions with
evidence? What type of evidence (primary sources, statistics, anecdotes, logical
arguments, eye-witness accounts, secondary sources, etc.) did the author use to
support his or her conclusions? Did the author make arguments that you did not
find convincing? Why did you find these arguments unpersuasive? What were
the strongest and weakest points of the book? Explain. Provide examples.
v. Evaluate the style of the book. Was it readable? Was it interesting? Did it add to
your knowledge and understanding of the subject? Was it repetitive? Did it omit
information important to the topic? Was the author’s tone appropriate?
Book reviews should be 4-5 pages in length and should follow the standard format for
this course: title, title page, page numbers, one-inch margins on all sides, double-spaced
on plain white paper. Students are expected to provide quotes and examples from the
book to illustrate the arguments they make in their reviews. Students should cite page
numbers from the text when they used quotes and examples following MLA format.
They do not need to provide a bibliography. Students names should not appear anywhere
on the paper except on the title page.
c. Students are not given permission to read other books.
3. CIVIC PARTICIPATION ASSIGNMENT: Due Date Monday, March 5th ( 50 points)
1. Choose one of the assignments explained below and follow the instructions.
2. If you are unclear as to how to complete an assignment, consult the instructor.
3. A copy of the attached form (at the end of this syllabus) needs to be completed with
4. In addition to the attached sheet, each student should also include a two page typed
reaction paper. You should briefly describe your experience and discuss what you
learned from your participation, focusing on providing interesting insights that
you gained from your experience.
5. Students are expected to show some personal initiative in completing this assignment.
Contact a local police department and arrange for a police ride-along. Some departments
have age requirements or other restrictions. Therefore you may need to contact more than
one police department. Some people may not be eligible for this activity. Ride-alongs should
last a minimum of ninety minutes. Students should make an effort to ask questions of the
police officer(s) during their ride-along. Involuntary ride-alongs can not be counted for
completing this assignment. Students should have their sheet signed by the police officer
ATTEND A TRIAL OR HEARING
Students should contact a county, state, or federal court in the area and find an interesting
hearing or trial to attend. Students should try to arrange to be in court for an entire session or
trial, but students are not required to remain for more than 2 hours. Students should have
their sheets signed by an officer of the court (judge, bailiff, lawyer, clerk, etc.). Papers should
focus on briefly describing the trial, but more importantly on their reactions and observations
about the trial. Students should make every effort to find out the outcome of the trial. Traffic
court is not acceptable for completing this assignment, nor are students allowed to use their
own trials for this assignment. Finally, students are not allowed to claim that their lawyer
parents are representing them for this assignment.
Contact a politician who is currently in elected or appointed political office. Interview this
person about his or her career, reasons for becoming involved in public service, attitudes
toward government and politics, etc. Students must attach a list of questions- minimum of
10- and reaction papers should reflect the subject’s answers to these questions, as well as the
students’ attitudes toward what they learned. Students should have their sheets signed by the
ATTEND A PUBLIC MEETING
Students should attend a meeting of a local political council or government meeting. For
example, students could attend a local homeowners association meeting, a Parent-Teacher
Association meeting in a local public school district, a city council meeting, or a meeting of a
state legislature. Students are expected to remain for the entire meeting, but are not expected
to stay more than 2 hours. Most students will find city council meetings to be most
convenient to their schedules. Students should attend the meeting and address the following
issues in their papers: the level of government involved, the content of the meeting, their
reactions to the experience, and what the student gained from participation. Students should
have the sheet signed by an adult participant at the meeting.
4. UNIT ESSAY: Due Monday, February 26th (75 points)
Following the standard format for this course, write an essay on ONE of the following
1) Do American citizens have an unlimited right to privacy? How far-if at all- can the
government go in restricting this right? In answering this question, you should
consider at least THREE of the following topics: federal surveillance of US
citizens; abortion and government regulation of individual’s bodies; the Internet
and telecommunications; access to personal health and financial records; and
identification cards and numbers and government databases.
2) To what extent should governments be allowed to regulate freedom of
speech? In answering this question, you should consider at least THREE of the
following topics: free speech and national security; pornography and obscenity;
Internet, television, and radio; symbolic speech; or libel and slander.
3) To what extent should the courts enforce the “wall of separation” principle with
regard to the establishment clause of the First Amendment? In answering this
question, you should consider at least THREE of the following issues: prayer and
religious imagery in public institutions; the teaching of creationism and evolution
in schools; government sponsored school voucher programs; and the morality
and religious beliefs of public officials.
4) Compare and contrast the arguments for and issues with respect to civil rights for
African-Americans with the arguments for and issues with respect to civil rights
for TWO of the following groups: women; Americans with disabilities; or
homosexuals. In doing so, be sure to clearly identify the most important
arguments used by African-Americans to gain their rights and the most important
issues that they faced, clearly identify the arguments and issues relating to the two
other groups, and identify similarities and differences between African-Americans
and these groups.
5. IMMIGRATION REACTION ESSAY (In-Class): Due Monday, March 5th (40 points)
You will be given the entire 45 minute class period to write an essay in which you do the
a. Outline the basic provisions of President Bush’s proposed immigration reform and
Guest Worker Program.
a. Summarize the arguments for and against this proposal.
c. Articulate and defend your position on this debate.
You will not be allowed to use notes for this essay.
In addition to the key terms listed below, you will also need to be familiar with all of the
cases discussed in the Supreme Court Presentations, even if they are not listed below.
judiciary judicial review strict constructionist
original intent judicial activist broad constructionist
William Rehnquist Marbury v. Madison McCulloch v. Maryland
interstate commerce John Marshall Roger Taney
Dred Scott v. Sanford The Fourteenth Amendment Franklin Roosevelt
“court-packing” Earl Warren constitutional court
district courts courts of appeals legislative courts
judicial appointment senatorial courtesy litmus test
jurisdiction federal-question cases diversity cases
dual court system civil law criminal law
writ of certiorari Gideon v. Wainright in forma pauperis
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) fee shifting plaintiff
defendant standing sovereign immunity
class-action suits Bush v. Gore TABLE 14.3 of your text
brief amicus curiae brief per curiam opinion
opinion of the court concurring opinion dissenting opinion
stare decisis political question remedy
Eleventh Amendment independent judiciary Equal Protection Clause
judicial partisanship Bill of Rights civil liberties
The Sedition Act of 1798 Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917-1918
Smith Act (1940), the Internal Security Act (1950), and the Communist Control Act (1954)
McCarthyism cultural conflicts freedom of expression
freedom of religion prior restraint Near v. Minnesota
Schenk v. United States clear and present danger Oliver Wendell Holmes
Gitlow v. New York due process clause Brandenburg v. Ohio
Village of Skoie vs. National Socialist Party content neutrality
libel slander preferred position
imminent danger clarity least-restrictive means
symbolic speech obscenity New York Times vs. US
Pentagon Papers Case free exercise case establishment clause
Lemon v. Kurtzman Lee v. Weisman school prayer
Lemon test religious exemption religious conscience
wall of separation due process Fourth Amendment
exclusionary rule Mapp v. Ohio search warrant
probable cause plain view doctrine Escobedo v. Illinios
expectation of privacy United States v. Ross Miranda vs. Arizona
self-incrimination good-faith exception civil rights
suspect classifications Jim Crow laws lynchings
Plessy v. Ferguson separate but equal NAACP
W.E.B. DuBois Brown v. Board of Education “Southern Manifesto”
desegregation Brown II de jure segregation
de facto segregation Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education
Montgomery Bus Boycott Martin Luther King Jr. nonviolent civil disobedience
long, hot summers March on Washington Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Act of 1965 Civil Rights Act of 1968
strict scrutiny Civil Rights Act of 1972 Title IX
reasonableness standard Equal Rights Amendment Roe vs. Wade
National Organization of Women Hyde Amendment
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood v. Casey
comparable worth affirmative action equality of opportunity
equality of results reverse discrimination immigration
rights of aliens American with Disabilities Act compensatory action
compelling interest narrowly tailored Bakke vs Board of Regents
Bowers v. Hardwick doctrine of incorporation
1. The Supreme Court is commonly thought to be “above politics.” However, one can argue
that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices is political.
a. Identify three characteristics of Supreme Court nominees and discuss how each
characteristic has been politically relevant during the appointment process.
b. Identify two methods that have been used by interest groups to influence the
appointment process. Explain how each of the methods has been used to
influence the process.
2. Currently the constitutional and legal validity of affirmative action is being debated. Explain
why affirmative action was begun in the 1960s and the constitutional and legal issues that
have been debated since that time.
3. Many scholars and observers have argued that the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment
to the Constitution has become the single most important act in all of United States
a. Identify which provision of the Fourteenth Amendment was applied in one of the
following Supreme Court cases. For the case you select, explain the significance
of the decision in United States politics.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954); Baker v. Carr (1962)
Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
b. Identify which provision of the Fourteenth Amendment was applied in one of the
following Supreme Court cases. For the case you select, explain the significance
of the decision in United States politics.
Mapp v. Ohio (1960); Gideon v. Wainwright (1963); Miranda v. Arizona (1965)
4. The judicial branch is designed to be more independent of public opinion than are the
legislative or executive. Yet, the United States Supreme Court rarely deviates too far for
too long from prevalent public opinion.
a. Describe two ways in which the United States Supreme Court is insulated from public
b. Explain how two factors work to keep the United States Supreme Court from
deviating too far from public opinion
5. The Supreme Court ruled in Barron v. Baltimore (1833) that the Bill of Rights did not apply
to the states. Explain how the Court has interpreted the Fourteenth Amendment to apply
the Bill of Rights to the states. In your answer, briefly discuss the Court’s decision in one
of the following cases to support your explanation: Gitlow v. New York (1925); Wolf v.
Colorado (1949); Gideon v. Wainright (1963)
6. Initially, the United States Constitution did little to protect citizens from actions of the states.
In the twentieth century, the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution to protect the
rights of citizens from state governments in a process referred to as incorporation.
a. Define selective incorporation and explain the legal reasoning behind the doctrine.
b. For two of the following, explain how each has been incorporated. Each of your
explanations must be based on a specific and relevant Supreme Court decision.
Rights of criminal defendants; First Amendment; Privacy rights
7. Political institutions can present both obstacles and opportunities to racial minority groups in
their efforts to gain political influence.
a. Identify one feature of one of the following and explain how that feature has presented
obstacles to racial minority groups in their efforts to achieve political goals:
federalism; the United States political party system; the United States electoral
b. Identify one feature of one of the following and explain how that feature might present
opportunities to racial minority groups in their efforts to achieve political goals:
federalism; the United States political party system; the United States electoral
8. Using the chart below and your knowledge of United States politics, perform
the following tasks:
a. Identify two patterns of presidential appointments of lower federal court judges from
the Johnson to the Clinton administrations.
b. Discuss four factors that influence a president’s choice of judicial appointees.