Wednesday, February 4, 2009

High Court Update

The opening of the 111th Congress and the election of a new president has generated a lot of media attention and both seem to be working away, but what about the third branch of our federal government the Supreme Court?

The Court is half-way through the term for the year, and still has a number of cases left to be argued and decided. Although all the cases will have an impact, we have picked out three we think will be especially interesting for your students:

Safford United School District #1 v. Redding
Does a public school have a right to strip search a student who is suspected of possessing or selling drugs? The Court will be revisiting their landmark decision in TLO v. New Jersey. This new case, again examines students Fourth Amendment rights in public schools. You can help your students understand this issue during a field trip to the Center by seeing our theater production, The Living News and using the accompanying teaching materials. If you can’t make it to Philadelphia, check out the Exchange program on the balance of student rights and school safety.

Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Mukasey
To continue the excitement of the election this past fall your students can examine this case which will generate conversation about the “continuing problem of racial discrimination in voting.” This case calls into question the Voting Rights Act of 2006 a reauthorization of the original 1965 law designed to strike down Jim Crow era voting rights restrictions based on race. Have you students play Seize the Vote, the Center’ interactive game to examine the history of voting rights in the United States.

District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District v. Osborne
For the CSI fans in your classroom, this case asks the question: Does a defendant have access to DNA evidence after a conviction? This case looks at the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, if you are a science teacher this is the case for you, download the podcast of Choices and Challenges in the New Age of Life Sciences a conversation hosted by Center.

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