statue outside supreme court

June Civics Exploration - The Supreme Court

Directions: Use the links provided coupled with your online research skills to answer the questions.
Use left pointing arrow key, on your keyboard, to navigate back to this page.
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Oyez Supreme Court media site. | The Constitution of the United States of America | Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court Historical Society | Explore the Constitution @ The Constitution Center

1. What is the U.S. Supreme Court?


2. Article III of the U.S. Constitution describes the Judiciary. What does it set out?


3. Describe how an individual becomes a Justice of the Supreme Court.


How is the Chief Justice selected?


4. Your class is going to observe an oral argument before the Supreme Court.

Describe the process by which a case ends up being decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.



Where will you be going to observe the case? Be precise.



5. One of the most famous Justices is John Marshall. Why do people regard him as important to the Court?


6. Some Justices are described as "Strict Constructionists" and some are described as believing in a "Living Constitution".

a. What do these terms mean?

b. Which way of looking at legal issues do you support? Why?

c. Place each of the current U.S. Supreme Court Justices in the column that describes their judicial philosophy.

Strict Constructionist Living Constitution








7. What impact does the Supreme Court have on Presidential Elections?



8. Was this just? - The Dred Scott Case


9. Name all the Justices who currently sit on the US Supreme Court. How are they selected?


Name the current Justices on your state's Supreme Court.


Do it - Compare and contrast your state's highest court to the U.S. Supreme Court.



Challenge yourself:

1. The statue (at the top left of this page) is located on the west façade of the US Supreme Court Building. Do some digging.
What is the story of this work of art?

How is it germane to the Supreme Court?


2. Supreme Court Cases and the Constitution activity


3. Explore some Landmark Supreme Court Cases



"The genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone,
but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs.”
Justice William Brennan, Jr.

"It matters enormously to a successful democratic society like ours that we have three branches of government, each with some independence
and some control over the other two. That's set out in the Constitution." Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

"What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority,
is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle.
That is what prevents judges from ruling now this way, now that—thumbs up or thumbs down—as their personal preferences dictate." Justice Antonin Scalia

"We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final." Justice Robert H. Jackson
On the Supreme Court; opinion concurring in judgment in Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 540 (1953).

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All trademarks, copyright and logos belong to their respective owners.
Created 5/2008 by Cynthia J. O'Hora,
Updated May 2018

In honor of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has served our nation well, released to public domain.

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Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work. smiling icon
How to: Make your own printer ready paper answer sheet with lines.

NCTE Standard 3 - Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.
NCTE Standard 8 - Students use a variety of technology and information resources to gather, synthesize, and communicate knowledge.
PA Academic Standards - History, Civics and Government, Science and Technology, Reading Writing.
ISTE Standard 3 - Technology productivity tools | ISTE Standard 5 - Technology research tools

Information Literacy Standards - Independent Learning | National Standards for Civics and Government