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Handout

This lesson will focus on freedom of assembly, as found in the First Amendment. Students will consider the importance of the right to assemble and protest by analyzing cases where First Amendment rights were in question. Using the case National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, students will consider if the government is ever allowed to control the ability to express ideas in public because viewpoints are controversial, offensive, or painful. Students will use primary sources and Supreme Court cases to consider whether the courts made the correct decision in the National Socialist Party v. Skokie case. Students will be able to form an opinion on the essential question: Is the government ever justified to restrict the freedom to assemble?

Handout

This lesson plan uses a video series called “Could Lincoln Be Re-elected Today?” from a political literacy project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The videos imagine political ads from the 1864 Lincoln v. McClellan presidential campaign using modern-day tactics. The lesson incorporates the videos to help classes recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular and to examine the criteria for evaluating candidates, past and present, for the presidency.

Video

This film explores the First Amendment right of the “people peaceably to assemble” through the lens of the U.S. Supreme Court case National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie. The legal fight between neo-Nazis and Holocaust survivors over a planned march in a predominantly Jewish community led to a ruling that said the neo-Nazis could not be banned from marching peacefully because of the content of their message.

Freedom of Assembly
Handout

This discussion guide is for use with the video “What Are the Challenges to Judicial Independence?” which features a lecture by Charles Geyh, professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, at the Fair and Impartial Judiciary Symposium on October 26, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Summary: Professor Geyh traces the development of the notion of judicial independence from the founding of our republic to the present. His discussion references how the sparse language of Article III of the U.S. Constitution has been amended over time by various conventions to promote the independence of a fair and impartial judiciary. He also examines how threats to such independence have arisen over time.

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Handout

This discussion guide is for use with the video “State vs. Federal Courts,” which features a conversation with the Hon. Renée Cohn Jubelirer of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Robert Heim, Esq., and the Hon. Theodore McKee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Lynn A. Marks, Esq., moderates the panel discussion, which took place at the Fair and Impartial Judiciary Symposium on October 26, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Summary: Beginning with the Founders, the assumption has been that a fair and impartial judiciary requires judicial independence. Article III of the U.S. Constitution sought to ensure this independence through a system that provided for the appointment of judges who would serve during “good behavior” (i.e., life tenure). Initially, most of the states copied this system, but later many changed it, influenced by a different view of democracy developed during what is generally known as the Jacksonian era. The result: These states now provided for the popular election of judges based on fixed terms of service. In 1940, Missouri adopted a system that intended to take politics out of the process of choosing judges. Subsequently, this plan was adopted by many states. Learn more from a discussion about state and federal courts.

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Handout

This discussion guide is for use with the video “The Nature of Judicial Independence,” which features remarks and conversation with Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Hon. Stephanos Bibas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and David F. Levi, former dean of Duke University School of Law, on October 26, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy retired in 2018, President Donald Trump was given his second appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. This opening was widely seen as giving the president the chance to dramatically shift the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court to a more solid, conservative majority, even more so than the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Unlike Scalia, who was generally a reliable conservative vote, Kennedy had emerged as the “swing justice.” Indeed, Kennedy played a key role in some of the Supreme Court’s most recent controversial decisions, particularly those involving, among other matters, abortion, homosexuality, and prayer in public schools.

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Handout

This discussion guide is for use with the video “Is the Supreme Court Different?” which features a conversation with Linda Greenhouse, the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, who is interviewed by Theodore W. Ruger, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, at the Fair and Impartial Judiciary Symposium on October 26, 2019, at the Penn Law School.

Summary: For many years, Linda Greenhouse was a New York Times reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court. Her widely read and respected newspaper columns provided the nation with a clear view of the role the Court played in American society. Unlike many other courts, the public sessions of the Supreme Court are not televised, and not that long ago even the audio tapes of the oral arguments before the Court were not readily available.

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Handout

This discussion guide is for use with the video “How Do Judges Decide Cases?” which features the Hon. Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Stephen Burbank, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, at the Fair and Impartial Judiciary Symposium on October 26, 2019, at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Summary: Judge Anthony J. Scirica and Stephen Burbank regularly team up to teach a law school course on the judicial process. Their discussion at the symposium focuses on how judges arrive at decisions.

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Video

The Fair and Impartial Judiciary Symposium convened lawyers, scholars, judges and thought leaders at the University of Pennsylvania Law School to address the meaning and impact of an independent judiciary. The topics included the meaning of “fair and impartial judiciary”; the difference between state and federal courts; the challenges to judicial independence; deciding difficult cases; and the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy gave the closing talk on “The Nature of Judicial Independence.” The symposium was organized by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Education in partnership with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

symposium
Handout

This lesson will focus on the case Korematsu v. U.S. in comparison with other times in U.S. history when the government was faced with the challenge of how to protect the country during war and, at the same time, protect individual freedoms. Using primary sources, students will examine five events in which U.S. citizens were forced to give up their civil liberties in times of war, highlighting the tension between liberty and security. Students will analyze these events to determine what groups were affected and the reasoning for and against the government action to decide if the government action was justified. Students will be able to form an opinion on the essential question: Is our government ever justified in restricting civil liberties for the security of the nation?

Handout

These primary sources follow the content and narrative structure of the Annenberg Classroom film “The 19th Amendment: A Woman’s Right to Vote.”

Handout

This lesson will allow students to use primary sources, the Bill of Rights, and Supreme Court cases in conjunction with the game “That’s Your Right” and the Annenberg Guide to the Constitution. Students will be able to understand the meaning and importance of the Bill of Rights as well as how it safeguards freedoms and protects citizens from government intrusion in everyday life. Students will focus on primary sources, the Bill of Rights and real-life scenarios to prepare them to play the game “That’s Your Right.” Afterward, students can extend learning by exploring real Supreme Court cases that affect students in schools.

Handout

This lesson will encourage students to use primary sources in conjunction with the video “The 19th Amendment: A Woman’s Right to Vote” and the timeline found on Annenberg Classroom to understand how various events contributed to the changing views and attitudes on women’s suffrage leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Students will focus on the Abolitionist Movement, the Reconstruction Amendments, and World War I to explain how these events helped or hindered the women’s suffrage movement.

Video

Voting is the most basic right of a citizen and the most important right in a democracy. When you vote, you are choosing the people who will make the laws. For almost a century and a half of our nation’s history, women were barred from exercising this fundamental right. This is a film about their long, difficult struggle to win the right to vote. It’s about citizenship, the power of the vote, and why women had to change the Constitution with the 19th Amendment to get the vote.

19th amendment
Handout

Students will learn about the principles that undergird the Magna Carta and how they have influenced important legal documents. More specifically, students will evaluate the Magna Carta’s impact on the U.S. Constitution.

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The story about the struggle over the Bill of Rights is told in this documentary, which explains how these individual freedoms that often are taken for granted today were controversial among the founding fathers and how they were eventually ratified. Ten short videos address each of the amendments.

Website

The Core Knowledge Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and founded in 1986 by E. D. Hirsch, Jr., professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and author of many acclaimed books on education. The Core Knowledge curriculum covers language arts, science, music, visual arts, and geography and history. Material are

Website

The Florida Joint Center for Citizenship Institute is a partnership between the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. FJCC works in partnership with Florida teachers, social studies district coordinators and national partners to develop and

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This video describes the Constitution Project film series and shows teachers how to use the award-winning films in their classrooms. The films feature insightful commentary from Supreme Court justices and legal scholars, interviews with the plaintiffs and attorneys in landmark Supreme Court cases as well as historical footage.

constitution project
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The complex relationship between the presidency and public opinion is examined by leading historians, political scientists and public figures who also offer insight into the office and its occupants from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Video

This video tells the story of the origins of the Magna Carta and explores the two most important principles that it symbolizes: rule of law and due process. Students will learn how the framers interpreted and redefined the rule of law and due process when they created our Constitution.