2015: Debating the USA PATRIOT Act

You are a U.S. Senator facing an upcoming vote on whether or not to renew provisions of a law that gives the government wide-reaching powers to investigate possible terrorists and terrorism organizations. … Before voting for or against the provisions, you need to decide: To what extent should the government limit individuals’ ability to freely access and share information a decade or more after a catastrophic attack on the nation?

9/11 and Civil Liberties

This lesson explores the challenges the United States faced as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and examines the government’s response through the lens of protection and civil liberties. Students will consider the long-term effects of the emergency measures, their consequences and constitutionality, and how they might inform the balance between security and liberty today.

Grades 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Modules (Teaching Unit)

Rasul v. Bush (2004)

Do U.S. courts have jurisdiction to consider legal appeals filed on behalf of foreign citizens held at Guantanamo? This case summary shows how the Supreme Court answered this question in 2004.

Grades 9-12
Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
Research (Digests of Primary Sources)