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Landmark Supreme Court Cases

When the stories of We the People become cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and when those cases result in the opinions of the Court, history turns. The ways we think about and live under the Constitution are reflected in the Court’s interpretations in both their historical contexts and their legacies. Some cases—and the Court’s opinions in them—so profoundly alter our constitutional understandings that they can only rightly be called Landmark Cases—markers of where we have traveled as a nation. In this way, the Landmark Cases show us what we have tried, where we have been, and where we are—leaving We the People and future sessions of the Supreme Court to determine how we move forward towards a more perfect union.

(For a review the cases included on the AP Government exam, visit this unit)

Upcoming Live Class: 
Canonical/Landmark Cases Class
Week of January 3

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Big Questions

What is a landmark case? Why study Landmark Cases?

How do court cases affect law?

What are some of the big themes in the Court’s key cases over time?

Video: Canonical/Landmark Cases
Advanced Level
Video: Canonical/Landmark Cases
Introductory Level
Video: Canonical/Landmark Cases with Judge Marjorie Rendell
Video: Case Spotlight: The Dred Scott Decision With Justice Neil Gorsuch
Video: Case Spotlight: Marbury v. Madison
Video: Case Spotlight: Tinker v. Des Moines

Classroom Materials

Landmark Supreme Court Cases - Briefing Document

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Landmark Supreme Court Cases - Slides

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AP GoPo Review

View Companion Unit

Explore Landmark Supreme Court Cases Questions

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