American Bar Association (ABA), Division for Public Education
The mission of the ABA Division for Public Education is to promote public understanding of law and its role in society. The Student Central section of the site offers information on careers in law, identifies ways for students to engage in civic involvement, and invites students to take part in online discussions with students across the nation.
American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) High School Journalism Project
This project is geared toward teen journalists, their teachers and guidance counselors, and the editors and staffs of professional daily newspapers. Its goal is to encourage a diverse group of young people to make newspaper journalism their career. The project works to foster a deeper appreciation of the First Amendment and the role newspapers play in a free, informed society. This site provides resources and information on scholarships and workshops for teachers, journalism advisers, and student editors.
Bill of Rights Institute
Founded in 1999, the Bill of Rights Institute’s mission is to educate high school students about the Bill of Rights through classroom material and programs that teach what the Bill of Rights protects, both explicitly and implicitly; how the Bill of Rights affects our daily lives; and how the Bill of Rights shapes our society. The site includes classroom lessons and other materials for teachers, landmark Supreme Court cases, and historical documents.
Center for Civic Education
The center specializes in civic and citizenship education, law related education, and international educational exchange programs for developing democracies. Programs focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; American political traditions and institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism; civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. This site provides civic education curricular materials, research, and articles as well as a catalog of the center’s publications.
Close Up Foundation
Each year, more than 20,000 students and teachers travel to Washington, D.C., with the Close Up Foundation for a “closeup” experience in government. The foundation’s website offers curricular materials for civic education, as well as information about Close Up’s state and local programs.
Constitutional Rights Foundation
The Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, community-based organization dedicated to educating America’s young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society. CRF develops, produces, and distributes programs and materials to teachers, students, and public-minded citizens all across the nation in the areas of law, government, and civic participation. The website offers information on the foundation’s many programs for high school students: Summer Law Institute, Mock Trial, Youth Internships, Youth for Justice, and Youth Leadership for Action.
Cornell Legal Information Institute
This site of the Cornell University Law School contains all U.S. Supreme Court opinions since May 1990 and six hundred opinions on major cases throughout the Court’s history. It also includes information on current events and issues involving the courts, judges, and law.
Federal Judicial Center
This site provides general information about the federal judiciary, including a history of federal courts, a biographical database of federal judges since 1789, and information on key legislation about the federal judiciary throughout U.S. history.
The site provides news about current events and basic information about the federal judicial system, and it includes information about the structure and functions of the federal courts with links to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. district courts.
FindLaw includes information about the U.S. federal judiciary and the judiciaries of the fifty states. It provides opinions from the Supreme Court, all federal circuits, and the appellate courts of the fifty states, and it presents information about current legal events and issues.
First Amendment Center
An independent affiliate of the Freedom Forum, the center works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education, in part by tracking court rulings, legislation, and other events that are related to the First Amendment freedoms. The First Amendment Center Online offers daily news, analysis, commentary, overviews, trends, and case law about a wide range of First Amendment topics.
First Amendment Schools Project
This project is a national reform initiative sponsored by the First Amendment Center and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) designed to transform how schools teach and practice the rights and responsibilities of citizenship that frame civic life in our democracy. This website offers information on the project as well as lesson plans, sample policies, reports and research, and news articles on the First Amendment and education.
This online discussion list stresses legal and constitutional history and contemporary issues in the law. It includes book reviews and links to the American Society of Legal History, which sponsors this site.
Journalism Education Association (JEA)
The JEA is the only independent national scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers. Founded in 1924, JEA is a volunteer organization that supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and education opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere that encompasses diversity yet builds unity. The website offers information on JEA workshops, awards, and conferences.
Jurist: Legal News and Research
This site of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law includes a broad range of current legal news and information about federal and state courts with emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court. Research and expert commentary about current legal events and issues are provided. Decisions of the Supreme Court are available.
This site, a collaboration of National Public Radio’s Justice Talking and the New York Times Learning Network, offers resources for teachers and students on law and justice issues. The site includes an annotated Constitution with historical timelines for each article and amendment.
Landmark Supreme Court Cases
This site, provided through collaboration by Street Law and the Supreme Court Historical Society, includes instructional resources for teachers and students. The site offers basic information about key decisions of the Supreme Court along with teaching strategies and lesson plans.
This legal research service offers a broad range of data on historical and current topics. Opinions, briefs, and secondary sources on U.S. Supreme Court cases are available through this site, as are materials pertaining to all federal district courts, U.S. courts of appeals, specialized federal courts, and state courts. Through its daily opinion service, immediate access to decisions of all federal and state courts is provided. In addition, primary and secondary sources on current events and legislation are available.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with more than 130 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. Students can access millions of documents, recordings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts online.
Library of Congress: U.S. Judiciary
Links are provided here to many sites related to the federal judicial branch of government, including those with information about legal history, federal laws, judicial opinions, court rules, law journals, and legal news.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that preserves our nation’s history and oversees the management of all federal records. Students can access America’s historical documents and interact with exhibits to meet the Founding Fathers, for example, or sign the Declaration of Independence. Teachers can access teaching lessons and tools and sign up for training and remote workshops.
National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA)
In 1921, NSPA began helping students and teachers to improve their school newspapers and journals. Today, the NSPA continues to help students to become better reporters, writers, editors, photographers, designers, and desktop publishers, as well as advertising and business staffers. This site provides forums for student discussion of press issues, reports trends in high school media, and promotes the organization’s contests and conventions.
Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents
Our Documents is a national initiative on American history, civics, and service that invites all Americans to participate in a series of events and programs to get us thinking, talking, and teaching about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in our democracy. At the heart of this initiative are one hundred milestone documents of American history, which students can explore on the website. Through classroom activities and competitions, Our Documents encourages students, teachers, parents, and the general public to discuss the meanings of these documents and decide which are the most significant and why.
Oyez: U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia Database
This site is a project of Northwestern University and includes information about Supreme Court cases, biographies of Supreme Court justices, and instructional materials for teachers and students.
Student Press Law Center (SPLC)
SPLC is an advocate for students’ free press rights. The center provides information, advice, and legal assistance at no charge to students and the educators who work with them. Three times a year, SPLC also publishes a magazine that summarizes current cases, controversies, and legislation and analyzes trends involving student media law. This site provides information for student journalists who have a specific question and need legal help or research.
Street Law is a practical, participatory educational organization focusing on law, democracy, and human rights. A unique blend of content and methodology, Street Law uses techniques that promote cooperative learning, critical thinking, and the ability to participate in a democratic society. For thirty years, Street Law’s programs and curricula have promoted knowledge of legal rights and responsibilities, engagement in the democratic process, and belief in the rule of law, among both youth and adults. At this site, students and teachers may access landmark Supreme Court case summaries and teaching lessons and learn about building stronger communities through two of Street Law’s programs: Community Works and Youth Act!
Supreme Court Historical Society
This site provides access to opinions of notable Supreme Court cases and information on the historical society’s programs and publications.
Supreme Court of the United States
This official site of the Court includes information about the history, structure, functions, and rules of the federal judiciary. It presents opinions on all cases that have gone before the Court, oral arguments, the Court’s docket, and a guide to visiting the Court.
U.S. Department of Justice
This site provides information about the institutional structure and work of the federal Department of Justice. The duties, activities, and reports of the attorney general are highlighted.
Westlaw provides access to opinions, briefs, oral arguments, and secondary materials related to cases of the U.S. Supreme Court.
About the Author
David J. Bodenhamer is professor of history and (founding) executive director of the Polis Center, a multidisciplinary research unit of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Fair Trial: Rights of the Accused in American History, The Bill of Rights in Modern America, and The History of Indiana Law. He has written more than twenty-five journal articles and book chapters and has made more than one hundred presentations to audiences on four continents. Born in Georgia, he earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1977 and was a university administrator in Mississippi before returning to Indiana in 1989. He has three children and two grandchildren. He and his wife, Penny, live in Carmel, Indiana.
About the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands
The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands was established in 2001 by the Annenberg Foundation to advance public understanding of and appreciation for democracy and to address serious issues facing the country and the world. The Trust convenes:
- leaders of the United States to focus on ways to improve the functioning of the three branches of government, the press, and the public schools;
- educators to determine how to better teach about the Constitution and the fundamental principles of democracy;
- leaders of major social institutions including learned societies to determine how these institutions can better serve the public and the public good;
- scholars addressing ways to improve the well-being of the nation in such areas as media, education, and philanthropy.
The Annenberg Classroom (www.annenbergclassroom.org), www.justicelearning.org, and a collection of books on the U.S. Constitution, democracy, and related topics are all projects of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands.
About Justice Learning
Justice Learning, a joint effort with the New York Times Learning Network, is a comprehensive on-line resource on civics education. The website offers balanced radio debates from National Public Radio’s Justice Talking, topical and age-appropriate articles from the New York Times, and a host of primary source materials, timelines, and lesson plans on a wide range of justice issues. Visit on-line at www.justicelearning.org.