Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

Does the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel in criminal cases extend to defendants in state courts, even in cases in which the death penalty is not at issue?

This case summary provides teachers with everything they need to teach about Gideon v. Wainwright (1963). It contains background information in the form of summaries and important vocabulary at three different reading levels, as well a review of relevant legal concepts, diagram of how the case moved through the court system, and summary of the decision. This resource also includes nine classroom-ready activities that teach about the case using interactive methods.

Grades 7-12
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
ESL Appropriate

Does the Constitution Protect Fair Play? Introducing Due Process

In this lesson, students will develop a working understanding of due process by discussing relevant Constitutional clauses. They are then presented with the Gideon v. Wainwright case and must decide whether Clarence Gideon had the right to an attorney, relying on their previous discussion of due process. The lesson ends with a discussion of the importance of the right to due process in criminal proceedings, as well as a discussion of other situations in which the right to due process applies.

Key Constitutional Concepts

This three-part documentary discusses why and how the Constitution was created at the Constitutional Convention and explores the protection of individuals’ rights in the Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright and limits on presidential power through checks and balances in the Supreme Court case Youngstown v. Sawyer.

Each segment is about 20 minutes.

Closed captions available in multiple languages, including Spanish.

Grades 7-12
Foundations of Democracy
Closed Captions

Our Rights

The book Our Rights, written by David J. Bodenhamer, uses historical case studies to explore the rights in the Constitution. Supreme Court cases are used to demonstrate how a right received its modern interpretation, how the right applies today, and how courts and other interpreters seek to balance this right with important societal concerns such as public safety. The complete book or individual chapters can be downloaded.

Rights and Responsibilities
Books

The Sixth Amendment and Teens

What does the Sixth Amendment mean in the lives of teens? Landmark Supreme Court decisions have made the Sixth Amendment relevant to high school students, whether they become future jurors or defendants. These activities, which engage all learning styles, apply Supreme Court precedents to relatable, teen scenarios. The resources, which have been well tested in federal courtrooms across the country, are ready for immediate use in courtrooms and classrooms with no additional preparation.