The Supreme Court
As you work through the handouts and watch the video clips associated with this lesson, we this document to record your answers; upload the completed handout when you are finished.
Part 1: Stare Decisis
After examining the quotations on Handout #2: Precedent and Stare Decisis, respond to the following questions:
1.Based on what you read, why is adhering to precedent (or stare decisis) important?
2.Based on what you read, what do you think would be acceptable grounds for reversing an existing precedent?
Part 2: Establishing Precedent
Do some research and briefly summarize the Supreme Court decisions in the following cases.Include links to the websites you visit to find your answers.
Brown v. Board of Education
Gideon v. Wainwright
Miranda v. Arizona (Note: William Rehnquist strongly disagreed with the Miranda decision.)
Part 3: Nixon and the Court
Watch Video #1: Nixon and the Court and then answer the following questions.You will see in the video that Nixon did not agree with many of the Supreme Court decisions made between 1953 and 1959 when Earl Warren served as its Chief Justice.
1.What were some of the major campaign promises and themes during Richard Nixons campaign?
2.Once elected, Nixon asked then Assistant Attorney General William Rehnquist to help identify potential people to appoint to the Court.What sort of justice did Nixon (and Rehnquist) want to appoint?
3.What is the idea of strict constructionism and how does it contrast it to a more judicial activist philosophy about interpreting the Constitution?
4.In addition to nominating Chief Justice Warren Burger, Associate Justice Harry Blackmun, and Associate Justice Lewis Powell, whom did Nixon appoint?
Part 4:Dickerson, Miranda, and the Amendments
Watch Video #2: Rehnquists Views on the Miranda Decision
Read Handout #3:The Fifth and Sixth Amendments,Handout #4: Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and Related Precedent Cases, andHandout #5: Applying Miranda to Dickerson v. United States
After reading the information and watching the video, complete the following questions.
1.What would you decide in this case if you were a Supreme Court justice?
2.what do you think are the strongest arguments supporting your decision?
3.What do you think the Supreme Court did decide in this case?Why do you think the Court decided this way?
Part 5: Arguments in the Dickerson Case
Read Handout #6: Classifying Arguments in the Dickerson Case.Use the document to complete the following 6 questions/statements.
Part 6: The Dickerson Case
Watch Video #3: The Dickerson Case and answer the following questions.
1.What did the court decide to do in the case of Dickerson?
2.Current Chief John Roberts speculated about why Rehnquist might have upheld Miranda in the Dickerson Case, even though her personally disagreed with Miranda.What did Chief Roberts suggest might have influenced Rehnquist?
1.what is the meaning of the word precedent?
2.What is the meaning of the term stare decisis?
3.Why are precedent and stare decisis important?
4.In what circumstances would they be overturned?
5.How did the Supreme Court apply the precedent?
6.How did the Supreme Court apply the precedent of Miranda to the case of Alvarado?
7.What are three things you learned in this lesson?