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The Supreme Court: Understanding the Judicial Branch and its Importance in the Balance of Power

Kirsten Bowman JD
Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(705)
This short, focused class will explore how the Supreme Court works within the U.S. government structures, focusing on four aspects of judicial importance.

Class Experience

US Grade 7 - 10
By the completion of this course, learners should be able to:

define federalism; 
classify the powers associated with federalism;
analyze the Supreme Court case McCulloch v. Maryland;
describe the views of early Founders in their debate about how much strength the national government should have compared to state governments;
apply the concept of federalism through the analysis of contemporary issues;
describe the Fourteenth Amendment and how it is associated with due process and equal protection;
identify examples and analyze the importance of dissent in Supreme Court decisions involving the Fourteenth Amendment;
describe important changes in the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment that reflected the changes happening in the United States in the second half of the 19th century;
describe and analyze the impact of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Supreme Court on workers' rights in the beginning of the 20th century;
define the terms "civil rights" and "civil liberties";
identify basic civil liberties;
describe how the Supreme Court decided two cases when individual rights conflicted with societal goals: Minersville School District v. Gobitis (1940) and West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943);
Define the terms "precedent" and "stare decisis" and explain why they are important in the work of the Supreme Court of the United States;
Explain reasons it is important to uphold precedents and why it may sometimes be necessary to overturn precedents;
Analyze two recent Supreme Court cases in light of precedent and stare decisis: Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and Dickerson v. United States (2000);
Summarize the Supreme Court decision in Yarborough, Warden v. Alvarado (2004), a case that examined whether juveniles are entitled to special procedures for Miranda warnings. 

I am a human rights lawyer and have spent the past few decades carefully watching and understanding the Court in order to better understand human rights and civil liberties issues within the United States. 
Homework Offered
There will be regular homework in this course, both in terms of readings and exercises designed to understand these readings.
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.

Available times

Table of available sections

Meet the teacher

Average rating:4.9Number of reviews:(705)
I am a human rights lawyer by profession and a university professor and mom by passion. I have my JD with a specialization in international law and completed my PhD in international law in 2023. 

I have travelled the world working for the UN as a... 
Group Class


for 4 classes
1x per week, 4 weeks
55 min

Completed by 4 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 12-17
4-12 learners per class

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