Updated November 2015

Street Law: Landmark Cases of the Supreme Court

Great reference spot for 17 key SCOTUS cases

Subjects & skills
  • Social Studies

  • Critical Thinking
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Landmark Cases of the Supreme Court is a quick reference site for exploring 17 notable Supreme Court cases. The most notable cases before the 1990s are well-represented, from Marbury v. Madison to Roe v. Wade, plus there are other cases like Tinker v. Des Moines that are less well-known but which focus specifically on topics that resonate with students, like student speech. Each case features a subtitle with its key topics -- for example, Miranda v. Arizona is tagged with "Self-Incrimination" and "Due Process." Each case features an overview page; a background section with leveled texts that include summaries of the issues at hand and useful vocabulary; a "teaching" tab with activities and lesson plans; key excerpts from the decision plus its full text; links to other reputable resources related to the case; and a "For Teachers Only" tab that contains answers to questions from the activities and tips for differentiation. This last tab is only available to registered users, but registration is easy and free for teachers.

Landmark Cases would work well as a reference tool or as a resource for creating in-class activities around each of the cases. Have A.P. U.S. History students mine the case pages for key info about each case, and have students design media that illustrates each case and helps them internalize key points. Use the teaching tab to explore what might work best for your classroom: Each case has options for one-day and multi-day activities, so take a look at what's there and consider how you might integrate these activities into your curriculum. Also, think about which cases might work well as companion activities -- Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education are the most obvious pair, but you might consider some other cases that might resonate especially well with your students or fit well with debates in the news.

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