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Street Law, Inc. creates classroom and community programs that teach people about law, democracy, and human rights worldwide. Our engaging, practical lessons help people develop the skills they need to improve their lives and strengthen their communities.

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SCOTUS Comparison Cases for the AP Government and Politics Redesign

Street Law compiled this list of its case summaries that can be used as comparison cases to the 15 required cases in the redesigned AP U.S. Government and Politics curriculum. Note that this is not an exhaustive list—it only includes comparison cases that exist in Street Law’s Free Resource Library.

Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)

Under what conditions does the state’s interest in promoting compulsory education override parents’ First Amendment right to free exercise of religion? This resource is a case summary of Wisconsin v. Yonder, which tested a parents’ right to withdraw their child from school for religious reasons.

U.S. v. Lopez (1995)

Did Congress have the power to pass the Gun Free School Zones Act? After a 12th grade student was arrested under the GFSZA, he and his lawyers challenged the constitutionality of the law.

Shaw v. Reno (1993)

Did the North Carolina residents’ claim that the 1990 redistricting plan discriminated on the basis of race raise a valid constitutional issue under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause? North Carolina drew legislative districts to create a majority black district.

Schenck v. U.S. (1919)

Did Schenck’s conviction under the Espionage Act for criticizing the draft violate his First Amendment free speech rights? Schneck was convicted for distributing anti-draft leaflets because the leaflets allegedly caused insubordination.

New York Times Co. vs. U.S. (1971)

Did the government’s efforts to prevent two newspapers from publishing classified information given to them by a government whistle-blower violate the First Amendment protection of freedom of the press? The Washington Post published classified information despite a court injunction. That information greatly changed American perception of the Vietnam war effort.

Engel v. Vitale (1962)

Does the recitation of a prayer in public schools violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? A Jewish student sued a New York school board over the daily recitation of a prayer.

Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

Does a law that limits the ability of corporations and labor unions to spend their own money to advocate the election or defeat of a candidate violate the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech? The Supreme Court has held that donations and campaign spending are forms of speech. Even still, Congress has attempted to limit campaign financing.

Baker v. Carr (1962)

Do federal courts have the power to decide cases about the apportionment of population into state legislative districts? This case relates to voting equality- one person’s vote should be as meaningful as another’s.

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