Landmark Supreme Court Cases – Freedom of Speech: Campaign Finance

From the first days of American history until today, the Supreme Court has been pivotal in interpreting the Constitution and shaping America’s constitutional republic. Read summaries of the majority ruling in landmark Supreme Court cases that have had an impact on our rights as citizens.

  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

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.

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

Caperton v. Massey (2009)

Should a state judge recuse himself from a case if one of the parties made financial contributions to the judge’s election campaign? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered that question in 2009.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Presidential Campaign Memorabilia on DocsTeach

This page includes a variety of primary sources in the form of artifacts, photographs, documents, and more; as well as additional online resources. Themes highlight political memorabilia from presidential campaigns from the 1850s through the 1990s. Items come from the holdings of the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives.

  • Resource Type: Editorial Cartoons, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Photography, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Decoding Elections: Media Mayhem

See how the candidates, special interest groups and news outlets compete to get their narrative of the campaign heard – and evaluate the value of seeking multiple sources of information about the candidates and their campaigns. Registration at NewseumED is required to view this resource.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Power of the Crowd

Political rallies: the scene of rousing speeches, cheering supporters and seas of signs and flags. These events are presidential campaign staples, but what do they offer the electorate?

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12