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.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Redistricting & Gerrymandering Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will learn how state legislatures and governors can manipulate the redistricting process to gain an advantage for their party in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures. Students will learn what constitutes gerrymandering and the typical types of gerrymandering used. Students will role play state legislators and collaborate to draw both gerrymandered and not gerrymandered districts. Students will consider the foundational redistricting case Baker v. Carr (1962) and classify arguments made in the case. In addition, students will evaluate the proper role of the Supreme Court in state redistricting cases. 

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

One Person, One Vote

In this documentary, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen G. Breyer and other experts discuss how the principle of one person, one vote emerged from a series of landmark decisions, including Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims, based on the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. A PDF lesson guide accompanies the video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Rucho v. Common Cause (2019)

This case explores the following issues: Do Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina (the plaintiffs) have constitutional standing to make these partisan gerrymandering challenges? Are the plaintiffs’ partisan gerrymandering claims able to be heard by the Court? If plaintiffs have standing and their claims are justiciable, is North Carolina’s 2016 congressional map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander?

  • Resource Type: Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Pursuit of Justice

The Pursuit of Justice book, written by Kermit L. Hall and John J. Patrick, analyzes 30 Supreme Court cases chosen by a group of Supreme Court justices and leading civics educators as the most important for American citizens to understand. An additional 100 significant cases included in state history and civics standards are summarized. The complete book or individuals chapters can be downloaded.

  • Resource Type: Books
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12