Category Archives: News

Supreme Court Back in Session Today

The Supreme Court is back in session today following summer recess.  Click here for information about how the Court schedule works.  And for more information on the cases before the Court this session, click here.

Happy 261st Birthday, John Marshall!

261 years ago today, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Marshall, was born.  Marshall presided over some of the most influential early cases before the Court, including Marbury v. Madison, which established the principle of judicial review.

Also on this day in 1789, President George Washington signed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the Federal Court system.

To learn more about John Marshall and the history of the Federal Court system, check out our film An Independent Judiciary.

Celebrate Constitution Day!

Happy Constitution Day!  Commemorate the signing of the Constitution 229 years ago and check out the Annenberg Classroom website for a list of educational resources (including the Constitution Project films!) all about our founding document.

Watch our new film “Freedom of the Press: NY Times v. United States”

Check out the latest film in the Constitution Project Series, Freedom of the Press: New York Times v. United States. Freedom of the Press has been guaranteed by the Constitution for over 200 years. It’s right there in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. But almost as soon as the ink was dry on the First Amendment, people in power started to challenge its protections — and they haven’t stopped throughout its 200 year history.

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The Constitution Project commemorates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta with a new film

Click to learn more about our film Magna Carta and the Constitution, featuring Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Stephen Breyer. Produced in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, this film explains the link between this document, considered the foundation of rule of law, due process and modern democracy, and our own American Constitution. We also look at how the Supreme Court has affirmed rule of law and due process in landmark cases, including the 1932 Scottsboro Boys decision, and the case that led to the resignation of President Nixon, United States v. Nixon.

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Check out our new film, Habeas Corpus: The Guantanamo Cases.

Habeas Corpus: The Guantanamo Cases, our film on the fundamental right of habeas corpus and the four landmark Guantanamo cases that affirmed our commitment to the right, is now available online. The film features Associate Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy, and explains how the right of habeas corpus has been challenged, and upheld, in times of national crisis, from the Civil War to the War on Terror.

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Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

Celebrate National Bill of Rights Day with us by learning all about the document that changed America and inspired the world. Watch our film, The Bill of Rights to learn about the fight behind this landmark founding document, and the rights it’s intended to protect.

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Dolly Mapp, the woman behind landmark 4th Amendment case, has died

We’re sad to announce that Dolly Mapp, the woman at the center of the landmark search and seizure case Mapp v. Ohio has passed away. Ms. Mapp insistance that her 4th Amendment rights were violated when Cleveland police entered her home without a search warrant changed American history and revolutionized policing across the country.

Hear Ms. Mapp–defiant, brash and brave–in our film, Search and Seizure: Mapp v. Ohio.

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The Constitution Project Encourages You to Vote

Before you head to the polls, The Constitution Project encourages you to learn more about the principle One Person, One Vote. This notion is synonymous with American democracy, but did you know that the decisions that ensured that right almost tore the Supreme Court and the country apart?

Watch our film One Person, One Vote and learn more about the series of landmark Supreme Court cases that guaranteed our right to fair and equal representation in our state legislatures. And make sure you vote!

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The Constitution Project Celebrates the Supreme Court’s New Term

This week marks the start of the Supreme Court’s new term. As always, the cases on the docket are varied and complex. Luckily, The Constitution Project helps provide context and historical background for a number of the issues appearing before the Court over the next several months.

So, why does the Supreme Court matter? While Alexander Hamilton may have called the Judiciary “the least dangerous branch,” it has evolved over the past 200 years into an exceedingly powerful force in our country. To learn more about why the Judiciary and the Supreme Court are important, watch our film, An Independent Judiciary.

A number of upcoming cases are debating issues spelled out in the Bill of Rights. Our film The Bill of Rights gives a general overview of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution and the numerous rights they establish.

The first case the Court heard this term dealt with the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. To learn more about this fundamental right and one of the most important Fourth Amendment cases of the past 60 years, watch our film Mapp v. Ohio.

Several cases on the docket deal with how congressional districts should be determined. Historically, the Court has resisted dictating how state legislatures should be structured, fearing that to do so would infringe on the legislature’s powers and would undermine the Court’s authority. To learn about how the Court overcame this concern, watch our film One Person, One Vote about the landmark Supreme Court cases Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Simms.

As is often the case, the Court is hearing a number of cases concerning minority rights. Our films Yick Wo, An Independent Judiciary, and Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville provide a historical overview of the numerous ways the Supreme Court has protected the rights of racial minorities.