The best fit for SCOTUSblog in the classroom is as a resource for teachers and students who are learning about Supreme Court cases or the Supreme Court justices. Due to the complex legal topics it covers, teachers will need to gauge what is and isn't accessible to their students and create appropriate assignments. The Glossary, the Procedure Materials, and the Justice Biographies can all be used to help students learn background information about the workings of the Supreme Court. The site can be used to research how a specific issue has been addressed or to follow the process of a case going through the Court. The articles and multimedia resources would also be especially valuable for a class that is participating in a mock court activity.Continue reading Show less
SCOTUSblog is a website that covers the U.S. Supreme Court. "SCOTUS" stands for "Supreme Court of the United States." Lawyers, law professors, and law students write regular articles about all of the petitions and cases that come before the Court. The articles cover arguments, decisions, and other topics related to the Court. Resources available on the site include Plain English, with simplified articles about key cases; the Glossary, with an extensive list of legal definitions; and Procedure Materials, which uses an imaginary Supreme Court case to illustrate complex terms and concepts. In addition, links to statistics, videos, and special features provide in-depth content on a range of cases and legal topics. The search tool has current and archived cases as far back as 2005.
While not created for classroom use, SCOTUSblog definitely has educational value at the high school level. The daily blog posts can be used to stay current on Supreme Court news, the Plain English articles can help students understand developments in a specific case, and the entire site can be a recommended reference for research projects. Overall, the content on the site will be difficult for students to grasp unless they have vocabulary support and guided assignments. You could use some of the videos to supplement the text-based content and engage classroom discussions on important issues that come before the Court. For example, Ruth Bader Ginsburg shares her opinion on the Roe v. Wade decision, and various politicians respond to the same-sex marriage decision.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
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