This outside assignment consists of reading about one of the cases that has recently faced our U.S. Supreme Court and preparing a written report on your observations.   Please choose to write on one of the following Supreme Court cases set forth below. I have provided a link for each case that provides a wealth of information regarding each case.

Purpose of the Assignment:

The purpose of this exercise is to understand the legal issues involved and the method by which courts arrive at decisions.  I would like for you to outline the legal issue being presented and analyze the arguments on both sides of the case.   Do your best to cite the legal topics you think are involved from the text.  Remember this assignment is also a measure of your ability to think and evaluate.  Provide depth and reasoning to your answers.  While a portion of the grade will reflect whether you read the material and described the case and issues correctly, the majority of the grade will consist of your own analysis of the issues and decision of the case.  This is not a political science paper so your analysis /observations must be based on legal reasoning. Only in answer to item 5 below should you express a political/ideological opinion if you chose to do so.


Each report should be between 1600 and 2000 words.  You should provide the following information:

  1. Name of the case.
  2. Type of issues involved ( Due Process, Freedom of Speech, Equal Protection, Search and Seizure, etc.).  Try to be specific.
  3. A description of basic facts of the case.
  4. The decision of the court and the reasoning of the majority opinion and any consenting opinions, and the reasoning of the dissenting opinion if any. You should also set forth which judge wrote the decision or dissenting opinion and how each judge voted. This item #4 should form the bulk of your paper.
  5. Your personal opinion on the decision itself (how would you vote) and whether you agree/disagree with the decision and the reasons you agree/disagree. Remember you must support your opinion with legal reasoning.

Please make sure that your paper addresses all five of these items.

In order to accomplish the five items set forth above you should first read the decision in the case. The website that I have linked to with the cases is called SCOTUSBLOG (SCOTUS is an acronym for Supreme Court of the United States) and it will contain the decision of the court. In addition to the decision of the court this website contains commentary and additional material/resources that will help you understand the case.  Although this website should contain all of the resources that you need, you may consult any other articles /resources to help you understand the case.

Citations: If you quote from the court’s decision there is no need to provide a citation although you should identify if the quote is coming from the majority opinion, the concurring opinion, or the dissenting opinion. If you quote outside sources you should provide a citation.


Abortion: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health; May the states regulate abortion?

Free Speech and Establishment Clause, First Amendment:  Shurtleff v. City of Boston;

May the City prohibit the display of a religious flag on public property.

Second Amendment: New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. Inc. v. Bruen;  Can the state prohibit the carrying of a weapon in public without a permit.

Free Exercise Clause, First Amendment; Carson v. Makin:

May a state discriminate against religious affiliated schools in tuition assistance program?

Administrative Agency Authority and the Delegation Doctrine: West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency; May the EPA regulate the emission of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act?

First Amendment, Free Speech and Free Exercise Clause: Kennedy v. Bremerton School District;  May the school district prohibit a coach from praying at sporting event?

Juisdiction: Ford Motor Company v. Bandemer; “ Minimum contacts.”

Jurisdiction:             Daimler AG v. Bauman;, “Minimum contacts”.

Affirmative Action;               Fisher v. University of Texas May a university use race in its undergraduate admissions decisions?

Affirmative Action           Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action; Interpretation of the Equal Protection clause.

Religion – Free exercise clause        Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.,, Interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Religion – Establishment Clause:   Town of Greece v. Galloway;  Prayer at town council meeting.

Religion – Free Excise Clause: Fulton V. City of Philadelphia;  May the City discriminate against Catholic Social Services in adoption placements?

Freedom of Speech/Freedom of Religion:   Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil rights Commission; Must a baker serve a same sex wedding?


Commerce Clause:             Independent Federation of Business vs. Sebelius Congress force you to purchase health insurance under the Commerce Clause?

Same Sex Marriage:             Obergefell v. Hodges Maystates deny same sex marriage? 

Gene Patents:              Assoc. for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. Are human genes patentable?

Trademarks: U.S. Patent and Trademark office v. Bookings .com; May the term “Generic” be trademarked?

Criminal DNA Samples:   Maryland v. King

Does the 4th Amendment allow police to collect and analyze DNA from people arrested and charged with serious crimes?

Search and Seizure;              Florida v. Jardines and Florida v. Harris

Is a search by a trained police dog the kind of inspection that must be done so that it does not violate the constitutional right to privacy?

GPS Tracking Device             U.S. vs Jones May the police place a GPS tracking device on your care without a warrant?

Search Warrants:                Riley vs.  California Do the police need a warrant to search your cell phone?

 Jury: Ramos v. Louisiana; Must a jury be unanimous to convict.

Jurisdiction: Ford Motor Company v. Bandemer;  Minimum contacts.

Takings clause:     Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States; When is a temporary taking an expropriation under the constitution.

Search and Seizure:       Bailey v. United States; Detention without a warrant: When may an occupant be detained during the execution of a search warrant?

Search of Business records: City of Los Angeles v. Patel Can businesses be required to keep records available for police review without a warrant.

Privileges and Immunities clause:                McBurney v. Young;: When may a state discriminate against out of state citizens?

Search and Seizure – Cell phone records of location: Carpenter vs. United States;

Taxes on Internet Sales: South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.  May a state tax out of state internet sales?

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