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Supreme Court Summer Institute participants witness Ricci decision

Supreme Court Summer Institute participants witness Ricci decision

Teachers particpated in a moot court of Morse v. Frederick, the free speech case involving a high school student displaying a banner that read "Bong Hits for Jesus."

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008-2009 term, 30 Supreme Court Summer Institute participants visited the Court to hear the justices’ final decisions.  Social studies teachers from across the country witnessed the government in action first-hand as they listened to opinions from Ricci v. DeStefano, the controversial firefighter affirmative action case, along with the Cuomo v. The Clearing House Association decision. 

The Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers, co-sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society and Street Law, Inc., is a professional development opportunity designed to expand and improve instruction about the Court in the nation’s secondary schools.  This program, as well as regional Supreme Court Seminars, has given teachers an active, first-hand look at the Court since the summer of 1995. Georgetown University Law Center hosts the Institute, placing the participants in the heart of downtown D.C., and just steps away from the Supreme Court.

Visiting the Court is just one component of the annual six-day Institute offered each summer.  Participants get a behind-the-scenes look at the Court through expert guest speakers, from current practitioners to law professors to former clerks.  The program deepens teachers’ understanding of the Supreme Court and provides them with practical resources and knowledge through a variety of sessions, including a moot court in which teachers take on the roles of petitioners, respondents, and justices.  The highlight of the Institute is a reception for the teachers hosted by a justice at the Court.  The majority of the current justices have hosted receptions as part of this program.

Since not every teacher can make the week-long trip to D.C., the Supreme Court Institute has been taken on the road in the form of three-day regional Seminars in Atlanta, Baltimore, New York City*, and St. Louis*, as well as one specifically for Washington, DC* area teachers.

Even after an Institute or Seminar ends, participants are kept engaged by joining an active online community that connects them to new resources, each other, and staff from Street Law, Inc. and the Supreme Court Historical Society.  The Institute’s web page also offers valuable (and free) teaching materials under the RESOURCES tab that are available to all educators. 

* These Supreme Court Seminars are currently inactive. 

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Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers

Topic: U.S. Supreme Court

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