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Supreme Court Round-Up 2020-2021

Introduction:

The Supreme Court plays an important role in our government, hearing cases and establishing precedents on how to interpret the law. Each year, citizens bring cases before the Court on important constitutional questions. The Justices are sometimes unanimous in their decisions, but often, they will disagree. Understanding these decisions and how and why they are decided helps hold the court accountable and paves the way for future Supreme Court Decisions.

Take a look at a few of the cases decided this term and decide whether or not you agree with the Court’s decision. How might the precedents set by these decisions impact the future of the United States?

Directions:

Select one case from the “finished cases” list and one case from the “pending cases” list. Then answer the following questions.

Finished Cases:

Edwards v. Vannoy

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-5807

Jones v. Mississippi

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/18-1259

Tandon v. Newsom

https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1901/tandon-v-newsom

Pending Cases:

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-123

California v. Texas

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-840

Caniglia v. Strom

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-157

Lange v. California

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-18

National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-512

Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-255

Finished Cases Questions

  • What was the question argued in the case?
  • What was the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the case?
  • Which Supreme Court justice wrote the majority or unanimous opinion? Which justice wrote the dissenting opinion, if any? Which justice wrote the concurring opinion, if any?
  • Do you agree with the court’s decision? Explain your answer.
  • Do you believe the Supreme Court has fulfilled its constitutional duty in making this decision? Why or why not? 

Pending Cases Questions

  • What is the question argued in the case?
  • What are the arguments you expect to see presented?
  • How do you expect the Court to rule? Why?
  • What precedents might they draw upon?
  • How would you rule if you were on the Supreme Court? Why?
  • Do you think it matters if the Supreme Court hears cases remotely? Why or why not?

Extension Activity

Looking for a lesson on religious liberty during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out our eLesson on Tandon v. Newsom here.