Further information: John Robison: Key Modern U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Expanded Description:  Each participant should have access to a copy of the Constitution.  The instructor also recommends that each participant obtain a paperback copy of The Supremes’ Greatest Hits by Michael G. Trachtman (2nd revised edition, 2016: available at bookfinder.com new for $15-$20 and used for $6-$8).  It provides a nice overview of most of the cases we will be discussing.  However, it will not be necessary to read all of the cases.  The instructor will recommend certain opinions as interesting reading for those who wish to do so.  The opinions are available online for no charge from several sources. 

The course will focus on the cases in bold; the other cases will be used for background.  The instructor will distribute by email a course outline that covers all of the cases, and a glossary of legal terms.

Week 1.  Introduction and Right of Privacy:  Introduction to certain key provisions—Bill of Rights and incorporation; 14th Amendment.  Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

Week 2.  Reproductive Rights and Sexual Conduct:  Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973);     Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992); Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986); Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)   

Week 3.  Marriage:  Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967); Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. (2015) 

Week 4.  Politics:  Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000); Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962);       Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964); Rucho v. Common Cause, 588 U.S. ___ (2019)  

Week 5.  Political Speech:  Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, 558 U.S.310 (2010) 

Week 6.  Freedom of Religion:  Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962); Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971); Van Orden v. Perry, 545 U.S. 677 (2005); McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844 (2005); Town of Greece v. Galloway, 572 U.S. 565 (2014); Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 573 U.S. 682 (2014) 

Week 7.  Criminal Rights and the Right to Bear Arms:  Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963); Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1965); District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) 

Week 8.  Freedom of the Press; Conclusion:  New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964); What have we learned? 

Additional cases if we have time:

Free Speech – What are the limits? Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969); Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973) 

Commerce and Property:  Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964); Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964); United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995); Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)