Judges on Judging Podcast

This six-part podcast series, hosted by The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, a federal judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, explores the role of judges and courts in our democracy, as well as the importance of a Fair and Impartial Judiciary. The podcasts, which include discussions among jurists regarding current cases and legal issues, are made possible through a partnership between the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and The Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.

From Watergate to Campaign Finance Reform

This 12-minute video is useful for any lesson that introduces students to the Watergate scandal, and any lesson focused on the constitutional and political challenges that complicate the regulation of campaign contributions. After clarifying the connection between the Watergate break-in and subsequent campaign finance scandal, the video documents how campaign finance regulations created in the wake of Watergate would eventually be manipulated by donors seeking to convert money into political influence. The video helps students make the connection between the history of Watergate and current controversies surrounding campaign finance, and to see how, after decades of attempted reforms, the United States is once again experiencing the same unregulated flow of campaign cash that helped give rise to the issues in the 1970s.

Presidents vs. Press: How Pentagon Papers Leak Set Up First Amendment Showdowns

This 12-minute video clarifies the connections between the New York Times Co. v. United States Supreme Court case and the recent battles that Presidents Obama and Trump have fought to contain national security leaks. Focusing on the broader issues of freedom of the press in a democracy, the video helps students draw a line between the New York Times decision from 1971 and the ongoing disputes between the public’s right to know and the president’s right to secrecy. Useful for examining the First Amendment and the role of the press in a democratic society, the video also provides students with the historical context surrounding the Pentagon Papers, and the Vietnam War and consequences of the New York Times court decision.

Gerrymandering

The process of redistricting, or redrawing congressional and state legislative boundaries, often becomes politicized. Drawing district lines to create partisan advantages and disadvantages is a tactic known as gerrymandering. Examine interactive resources to explore how changing district lines can affect the balance of partisan power, and evaluate criteria for drawing district lines.

Grab the Gavel Podcast

This podcast, hosted by The Honorable Zia Faruqui, Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, aims to show the human side of judges – their backgrounds, diversity, and common struggles. Brought to you by The Rendell Center, each episode features an engaging personal conversation between Judge Faruqui and a federal, state, or local judge that provides invaluable civics insights and helps students and educators to gain a better understanding of who they are and how they arrive at decisions.

Supreme Court Lessons

These interactive lessons for high school students lead them through a simulation of an actual Supreme Court case and help them to break down complex constitutional issues. Each lesson begins with an overview of the facts of the case, followed by a brief discussion of the Supreme Court decision. Then, students are asked to take a stand “for” or “against” the majority decision. The cases that the Rendell Center has selected involve student-specific issues and/or those issues shown to be important to youth through their social media posts or active engagement.