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Cornell Law School

US Supreme Court Media



Background Information


American Government
Unit 3 Assessment: Landmark Supreme Court Cases
The 9th and 14th Amendment

In its long history the Supreme Court has handed down thousands of individual decisions. All have been important to the parties involved, but a significant few have grown so important as to involve all Americans. These decisions respond and give shape to the great continuing debates and controversies of American history and politics. For the assignment, you will learn about Landmark Supreme Court cases that use the both the 9th and 14th Amendments to incorporate liberties provided by the Bill of Rights.

The 9th Amendment: Unenumerated Rights
The Bill of Rights should in no way be considered a complete list of people’s rights.

The 14th Amendment: Rights of Citizens
Includes the Due Process Clause: Most of the rights set out against the National Government in the first eight amendments have been extended against the States. Before any state government may take away an individual’s life, liberty, or property, the government must follow a legally set “process” that is “due” to that individual.

Directions: Students will work in cooperative teams of up to three to research, prepare a case analysis, and present a Landmark Supreme Court case to the class. Students are also responsible for engaging the class in a discussion of the case.

1. Select a Supreme Court case. Below are some examples:
- Roe v. Wade (abortion)
- Brown v. Board of Education (desegregation)
- Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health (right to die)
- Griswold v. Connecticut (right to privacy)
- Buck v. Bel (right to have children)
- Reed v. Reed (gender discrimination)
- United States v. Virginia (equal protection)
- Korematsu v. United States (internet and espionage)

2. Research your court case using the books in the library. Complete and type a case analysis. (Submit to teacher so copies can be made for the rest of the class BEFORE you present)
- Case analysis
- Constitutional issues
- Court decision (majority and dissenting opinions)
- How would you have decided?
- Significance or impact of the case

3. In addition to the case synopsis, each member of the group must bring in a current event and summary that relates to your Supreme Court case. It is important that on the day of presentations you engage the class in a discussion about your Supreme Court case and the current events that relate to the court case. You should prepare questions to ask the class ahead of time.

Grading Rubric:

_ /10 On task and focused while in the library
_ /15 Accurate and thorough research of court case using at least one book (each group member)
_ /25 Typed case analysis
_ /10 Works Cited (each group member)
_ /15 Current Event related to court case (each group member)
_ /25 Presentation and discussion of court case