SCOTUS and the Policy Process

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he Supreme Court is analogous to a mirror. The events of the day are reflected and refracted via the extremely controversial litigation that appears before the High Court every year. During the 1960s, civil rights cases appeared before the Supreme Court and directly led to many of the civil freedoms experienced today. The tumultuous 1970s saw the explosion of lawsuits challenging presidential authority related to the Vietnam War. And, of course, in the post-9/11 environment, the Supreme Court has heard many cases relating to the war on terror, both domestically and internationally. Major cases have already been decided concerning the treatment of those captured in assaults against Al Qaeda and its allies. Many of these Supreme Court decisions have ramifications for the legislative and executive branches of government. Some modern seminal cases include:

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954) (race-segregated schools are unconstitutional)
  • Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) (establishes right to counsel)
  • Roe v. Wade (1973) (legalizes abortion and establishes right to privacy)
  • U.S. v. Nixon (1974) (sets limits to executive privilege)
  • Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) (corporate contributions to political campaigns are protected by the First Amendment)
  • National Federation of Business v. Sebelius (2012) (Affordable Care Act is constitutional)
  • U.S. v. Windsor (2013) (Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional)

In this Assignment, you select a Supreme Court case in a policy area of interest to you. Then, you analyze the majority and dissenting opinions and evaluate the future impact of the Court’s decision on the policymaking of the other two branches of government.

The Assignment:

Write a 3- to 5-page double-spaced paper in which you do the following:

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