In this course the students will read and discuss 20 United States Supreme Court decisions that have shaped our nation over its 220 year history, as well as 4 or 5 highly publicized trial court cases that captured the attention of the entire nation from time to time in our history. Students will have encountered some, but not all, of the cases in other courses in the curriculum. The cases will be examined in a broad historical and political, as well as legal, context in this course.
A broad historical, political and legal analysis will be employed in examining each of these cases. As in other law school courses, the students will discuss the facts, issues, and holding in each of the cases. Majority and minority opinions will be analyzed. In addition, the class will discuss the case from an historical and political perspective, considering such questions as: which Justices were on the Supreme Court when the case was decided; which President appointed each of the Justices; what was the philosophy of each of the Justices; what were other important cases decided by some of the Justices; how did the result in the case change the law; what was the political effect of the result of the case; what were subsequent developments in the of law established by the case.