As you know, decisions reached by the United States Supreme Court are based on both law and politics. For this assignment, you will learn a bit more about the political makeup of the current Supreme Court. Here are the details:
Pick an area of law that interests you. You should pick an area of law that is highly visible, such as abortion, the death penalty, free speech, free exercise of religion, establishment of religion, search and seizure, affirmative action,
Use the web site below or your own search strategies to find three (3) cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on this issue since 2010.
For each case, briefly describe the issue that was involved in the case.
Most importantly, tell me how each individual justice voted in each of the three cases. Specifically, which justices voted on the “liberal” side? Which justice voted on the “conservative” side?
Finally, write an analysis explaining any trends or patterns you find in these three cases. Is this a controversial issue that closely divides the Court? Or is the Court in general agreement on this issue? More importantly, are the individual justices consistent in the votes? Which ones are consistently liberal? Which ones are consistently conservative? Which ones have no clear pattern?
Please note that the focus of this assignment should be the individual justices more than the cases or the law.
How To Conduct This Research
In order to find U.S. Supreme Court decisions, you may find the following site quite useful:
Make sure to click the “Free Text Search” tab above the text box
Type your search terms (e.g. “affirmative action,” “freedom of speech,” “search and seizure,” etc.)
Limit your search to 2010 or more recent [because please remember that all of your cases must have been decided since 2010]
Select one of the cases that interests you and click on it.
At the beginning, there will be a few paragraphs that serve as a brief summary of the case. Then, it will list how each member of the Court voted just before the Court’s full opinion begins.