Freedom of the Press: New York Times v. United States

This documentary examines the First Amendment’s protection of a free press as well as the historic origins of this right and the ramifications of the landmark ruling in New York Times v. United States in which the Supreme Court that prior restraint is unconstitutional. The federal government could not prevent newspapers from publishing the Pentagon Papers. A lesson plan, Defenders of Liberty: The People and the Press, accompanies the video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Translated Materials
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Reconstructing a Nation

This unit provides a backdrop for the social, political, and economic changes that accompanied the Reconstruction amendments. A 30-minute video explains the events leading to Reconstruction, and introduces three individuals who played different roles — an African-American U.S. senator, a college-educated former plantation mistress, and a former Union Army officer who went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. All dealt with upheaval and opportunity during this tumultuous period.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Editorial Cartoons, Essays, Media, Primary Sources, Research (Digests of Primary Sources), Special Needs/Language Focus, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The Right to Remain Silent: Miranda v. Arizona

This documentary explores the landmark Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona that said criminal suspects, at the time of their arrest but before any interrogation, must be told of their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination and Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. The decision led to the familiar Miranda warning that begins “You have the right to remain silent…”

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

An Independent Judiciary: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Cooper v. Aaron

This documentary explores the Supreme Court cases Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and Cooper v. Aaron (1958) that defined our understanding of the role of the judiciary. In Cherokee Nation, the Supreme Court ruled it lacked the jurisdiction to review the claims of an Indian nation in the U.S. In Cooper v. Aaron, the Court affirmed that its interpretation of the Constitution was the “supreme law of the land” and that states were bound by its decisions. A PDF lesson guide is provided.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Surveys, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause

This documentary examines the case Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886) in which the Supreme Court held that noncitizens have due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. A PDF lesson plan accompanies the video. The video A Conversation on the Importance of the Yick Wo Case complements the documentary.

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

A Conversation on the Importance of the Yick Wo Case

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy discusses the landmark ruling in Yick Wo v. Hopkins (1886) in which the Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment provides “equal protection of the laws” for noncitizens. This video complements the documentary Yick Wo and the Equal Protection Clause.

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

The Origin, Nature and Importance of the Supreme Court

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and high school students discuss the Supreme Court: its history and traditions, how it selects and decides cases, and the role of an independent judiciary. A lesson guide accompanies the video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co.

This documentary examines the landmark case in which the Supreme Court decided that the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause prevents the use of race-based peremptory challenges to reject potential jurors in civil cases. A PDF lesson plan accompanies this video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Judicial Branch/Supreme Court
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

A Call to Act: Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

This documentary tells the story of Lilly Ledbetter, whose fight for equal pay for equal work eventually involved all three branches of government and resulted in a law with her name on it — the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. A PDF lesson plan accompanies this video.

  • Resource Type: Closed Captions, Special Needs/Language Focus, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12