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Explain the role and significance of precedent in the Court’s decision-making.

2. FIND A CURRENT (2015/2016 SESSION) SUPREME COURT CASE.

You must choose a case that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in its upcoming session, which begins October 5, 2015 and continues through June 30, 2016. Since the paper is due before the Court will make any rulings, you won’t find a case that has been decided, but you can still find a case that has been placed on the docket.

BEGIN HERE: Use The SCOTUS Blog or The Oyez Project to help you locate a case. All of the cases in the lists are clickable and will help in your research. Note, though, that more cases will still be added to the docket over the coming weeks, so these lists will continue to grow.

Legal sites, such as the The American Bar Association, or news sites, such as National Public Radio, or a general Web search about current 2015-16 cases may also be helpful in your search for a current case.

3. RESEARCH THE TOPIC.

You will need to research the case, using the Internet, electronic databases, search engines, scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, etc. as your sources.

You must use at least THREE computer-generated sources for research and have up-to-date, 2015-16 research.

Be sure that you are using legitimate, objective and scholarly sources for research. Avoid using biased or opinionated

information as fact.

4. DESCRIBE THE FACTS OF THE CASE.

Provide background (historical) information and details.

Briefly summarize what the case is about, how it originated, who the petitioner(s) and respondent(s) are, the arguments that both sides are presenting, the case’s journey through the lower court system, and the main issues and questions that the Supreme Court must consider.

WRITE IN YOUR OWN WORDS. AVOID EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF PLAGIARISM. 5. EXPLAIN THE COURT’S RULING(S) OR POSSIBLE RULING(S).

Since the Court has not yet ruled, what are the possible outcomes of the case?

6. EXPLAIN THE IDEOLOGICAL ISSUES THE CASE INVOKES.

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Explain the liberal and conservative sides of the case: Which decision would a liberal likely support? Which decision would a conservative likely support? WHY?

7. PROVIDE YOUR PERSONAL OPINION.

How do you feel about the case? If you were a Supreme Court Justice, what would your decision be and WHY?  What factors have influenced your choice? How have you reached your decision?

8. CONSIDER PRECEDENT AND EVALUATE THE IMPACTS OF THE CASE.

Which earlier cases is the Court relying on for precedent? How will the current case you are covering set precedent for the future?

In terms of the Court’s setting of precedent (stare decisis), what is the significance of the case, and what are the possible long-term implications of the Court’s ruling? How will the case affect our interpretation of the Constitution?

Explain the role and significance of precedent in the Court’s decision-making.

9. RELATE THE CASE TO WHAT YOU’RE STUDYING IN CLASS.

Use your textbook to provide you with information that will enable you to tie the case to information learned in the course. Where possible, you should include textbook references and page numbers in your paper.

Why do you care about this case and its ruling in the context of your study of American Government?

Your grade on the paper will be based largely on your ability to make connections between the case and the

course material.

10. FOLLOW THE PROPER FORMAT AND STYLE.

Write in MLA or APA style. (Format examples and guidebooks are available online.)

Your paper must be at least 1000 WORDS, double-spaced, and in a standard size (10 – 12 point) type. It should be free of grammatical and style errors. Be sure to save your file as a Word document (ending with a .doc or .docx extension) or in Rich Text format (ending with an .rtf extension) before uploading it.

Additionally, it must contain a Works Cited or References page and parenthetical citations throughout (with page numbers where appropriate).

Your paper will be graded for both content and style; in other words, for what you say and how you say it.

11. DO YOUR OWN, ORIGINAL WORK.

Do not submit the same paper to two or more instructors or submit a paper previously presented in another course without first discussing the matter with all instructors involved.

The instructor may require verification of the paper’s authenticity and/or authorship. It is wise, therefore, to save all of your notes, rough drafts, materials used in preparation of the paper, copies of sources, etc. until the paper is graded.

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