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POSC 104: The American People and Politics: How to Read a Supreme Court Case

Students in this class will research a Supreme Court case and will need to locate relevant information in law reviews, Justice biographies, etc.

What to keep in mind ...

Reading a Supreme Court opinion for the first time might seem to be an overwhelming task because of the unfamiliar legal concepts and terminology.

You are not being asked (nor should you ask yourself!) to read and understand the opinion like an expert might.

While reading the opinion for the first time, keep in mind the potential prompts for your paper (constitutionality, justice/morality, conduciveness to effective government).  Keep asking yourself as you read, "Which of these prompts speaks most to me?"  As you read the opinion again - this time with your chosen prompt in mind - highlight the portions of the opinion that support your thoughts and arguments.

Resources for Legal Terminology

Selected Terminology

How to Read a U.S. Supreme Court Opinion