The Supreme Court and its branches — What it is to America and Americans.
- View the different Smithsonian museums, galleries, and zoo.
- Learn more about the “crypt.”
- “Just like the deepest dungeon ‘neath the castle moat in Scott’s novels.” Who do you think Scott is?
- You can see first-hand how the “whispering gallery” at the Capitol works in the video below.
- View the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
- From 1860 through 1935 the Supreme Court sat in the Old Senate Chamber.
- Today the Supreme Court sits in the Supreme Court Building, dedicated in 1932.
- To date, there have been 17 Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. Choose one to do a character sketch of.
- Learn more about the Crier and his authoritative “Oyez!“
- Make a list of the guidelines visitors are asked to follow (Visitor Etiquette).
- Learn more about Crawford’s “Progress of Civilization” Pediment.
- Read an abridged version of the Webster-Hayne debate. Narrate.
- Make a list of the seventeen presidents who have, as of this date, also served as senators.
- Explain how the Supreme Court is like a wheel within a wheel when it comes to balancing the machinery of our nation (see pg. 96).
- Make a flip book showing the three branches of government and their roles if you did not already do that in Lesson 2.
- Learn more about the type of cases the Supreme Court hears.
- At this time there are 12 federal circuit courts and over 670 district court judges!
- You can read about Sir Galahad, Chevalier Bayard, and Sir Philip Sidney in The Age of Chivalry and Tales of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.
- Supreme Court justices are appointed for life.
- Read more about Chief Justice Marshall.
- Copy the summation of the Supreme Court in a few words beginning at the bottom of pg. 101 through 102.
Learn more about the Supreme Court from The Book of Knowledge:
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. The number of judges is fixed by Congress; … appointed by the president. Congress also established circuit courts and district courts below the Supreme Court. They are entirely separate from the state courts, with which the Federal Government has nothing to do unless the Constitution is violated. The Circuit and district courts try men who have broken the Federal laws by such acts as robbing the mails or using them for bad purposes; by making imitations, called counterfeits, of money; or by cheating the United States out of taxes.
The Federal courts also try cases between citizens of different states, cases having to do with sailors and ships and the like. Where ambassadors are concerned or where a state sues another state or citizens of another state, only the Supreme Court can try the case. The Supreme Court can declare an act of Congress or a state legislature “unconstitutional.” If it does this, the act is wiped out. This is a very great power which few other courts in the world have….
“How the United States is Governed” from The Book of Knowledge
Homes of the Court
The history of the various places that have housed the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court Building
The history behind the new building from the Architect of the Capitol.
Visitor’s brochure with brief bios of current justices.
Justices throughout history with audio clips where available.
Supreme Court Nominations
Who was nominated by whom and when.
How the Court Works: Dignity, Formality and Tradition
From the Supreme Court Historical Society.
The Court and Its Procedures
How it works.
The Chief Justice’s Role
Presiding officer and more.
Types of Cases the Court Hears
More from the Supreme Court Historical Society.
Comparing Federal and State Courts
Chart showing the different structure and cases heard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Just the facts.
The Whispering Gallery
Demonstration from a Capitol tour guide. (You may want to install an ad blocker before viewing.)
The Supreme Court
Informational video from C-Span.
Interactive where students send the cases to the correct court.
7 Things You Might Not Know About the Supreme Court
For fun from the History Channel. Suggestion: make your own list of 7 things you did not know as a way to wrap up!
Supreme Court Quiz
Fun trivia for wrapping up.
Units & Lesson Plans
Courts and Judges
Lesson from The Heritage Foundation.
Landmark Supreme Court Case Lessons
How would you decide?
Notebooking Pages & Printables
Supreme Court of the United States Activity Booklet
Nice for wrapping up.
Supreme Court of the United States Coloring Booklet
Focusing on the symbols.
How the Supreme Court Works
Excellent infographic from USA.gov.