In 1876 the outcome of the presidential election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes was decided by a 15-member Commission, which included 5 Supreme Court Justices. Usually, the Hayes-Tilden election is taught as the event that ended Reconstruction, but this 15-minute video adds to that story. It examines the nuts of bolts of presidential
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Court-packing Controversy -Video
In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his plan to enlarge the Supreme Court to as many as 15 justices. Congress debated the merits of the plan and Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes opposed it. After 168 days the bill failed, but the lessons from the Court-packing episode are relevant today. This 15-minute documentary designed
Lessons Plans for “Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Court-packing Controversy”
These lesson plans for basic high school and for AP US History have been created for students who have watched the video. They include activities such as analyzing part of the text of FDR’s Court-packing Plan, interpreting political cartoons reacting to the plan, and discussing the intersection of the three branches of government.
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.
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…”
Our Constitution: A Conversation
Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen G. Breyer talk to high school students about why we need a written Constitution and what it says about the U.S. Supreme Court and its rulings.
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.
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.
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.
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.