U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 12: Supreme Court Decision Making

Student Web Activity

"Exploring the Supreme Court"

In this chapter you learned about how the Supreme Court selects, hears, and decides cases; how the Court shapes public policy; and the forces that influence the Court's decisions. In this activity you will take a closer look at the inner workings of the Supreme Court and examine the impact its decisions have on society today.

Destination Title: Supreme Court of the United States

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Start at the Supreme Court of the United States Web site.

  • Under the heading About the Supreme Court, click on the following five links presented on the page: A Brief Overview of the Supreme Court, The Court and Constitutional Interpretation, The Court as an Institution, The Court and Its Traditions, and The Court and Its Procedures.
  • Read through the material, taking notes as you go.

After you have read through the information, answer the following questions.

What is the procedure for appointing justices to the Supreme Court?
Describe some of the traditions of the Court.
Explain what occurs when the court is "sitting" and what occurs during its "recesses."
In what ways is the Supreme Court of the United States unique compared to other nations?
Go to The Oyez Project Supreme Court http://www.oyez.org/oyez/portlet/directory/ Database to conduct additional research about a recent (from the past 10 years) Supreme Court case. Write a one-page report summarizing the background of the case, its highlights, the decision of the Court, and what impact the decision has had or will have on society. Be sure to cite the sources you use.
US Government: Democracy In Action
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