The Judicial Branch

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The Judicial Branch

The origins of the Judicial Branch and Supreme Court are addressed here, also an examination of the Supreme Court's power to influence American history and society in profound ways. It shows how the exercise of this power has often been controversial and that the philosophy of the court can change as different justices are appointed and because of the political and social climates of the time. The supreme Court's influence on other branches of the federal government is also revealed.

Discover the importance of the Supreme Court and learn about the different courts in our federal government.

  1. Students will understand how a judge becomes a Supreme Court Justice.
  2. Students will know that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the country.
  3. Students will understand how the justices get cases and how they make decisions.
  4. Students will understand the hierarchy of the federal court system.
  5. Students will know a few landmark Supreme Court Cases.
  6. Students will understand that our government has a system of checks and balances.

  1. Mock Trial. Have pairs of students research a case that is in the process of going through our judicial branch. Your Supreme Courts will go through the cases given to them and decide which ones they want to hear. The pair of students that turned in the case will present it to the Supreme Court that your students have created (You may have rotating justices, depending on whether or not one of the already appointed justices is involved in the case). Have all students write a summary of the cases they have heard, what the ‘Supreme Court’ decision was in your classroom, and what their own decision is.
  2. Historical Journal. Ask each student to research an historical Supreme Court decision that they find interesting. Ask each student to keep a journal as though they lived during the time that the case was tried. What was their life like? Were they supportive of the decision? How did the Supreme Court decision change their lives?