TAH.org’s first Saturday Webinar of the 2017-18 school year took place on 26 August, focusing on the Intolerable Acts. Over 120 teachers joined our panel of scholars for a live discussion of the directives from Parliament that made up the Acts, looking at what they said, how they were received, and how they shaped the colonial response to British rule. Dr. Todd Estes, one of the panelists, recommended Unbecoming British as a good book for additional background on how the American colonists transformed from a colonial to a post-colonial people.
TAH.org’s 2016-17 school year Saturday Webinar series, Landmark Supreme Court Cases, has finished its run, ending the year on 13 May 2017 with New Jersey v. T.L.O. You can access all the archives to these programs in three ways, depending on your needs and preferences.
We maintain videos of all our webinars on our YouTube channel, with each season of our programs organized as separate playlists. You can access all 10 of our Landmark Supreme Court Cases videos there.
Finally, all of our individual episode pages, with document links and scholar bios, are found on our Webinars Archives page.
Consider looking back at this last season and listening to or watching some of the programs you missed, or even ones you attended. Think about how you could use the documents for each with your students. Many teachers from around the country are using archived webinars with their students, in some cases flipping their classrooms by having students read some of the documents and watch the programs themselves outside of class, reserving class time for Socratic discussions and other activities.
The 1985 search and seizure case, at a high school in New Jersey, addressed standards for how school officials are to interpret Fourth Amendment rights. The original question that faced the court, interestingly enough, was not what the USSC eventually decided. Initially, the case was in regards to the exclusionary rule and how it applied to school officials. USSC justices, however, pulled back from that initial question, and instead focused on whether or not the Fourth Amendment even applied to school officials, and how it was to be applied to minor students. Also at issue is the definition and description of “reasonable suspicion,” as compared to “probable cause.”
Interesting point of what might seem like legal trivia: in United States v. Place (1983) it was determined that a drug-sniffing dog is not considered a search. Beyond that, in relation to use of such dogs at schools, no reasonable suspicion is required in a school. This came up in response to a teacher question about drug-sniffing dogs operating at schools around students.
Access the full archives of this program, including video, here.
The 9th of TAH.org’s Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinars took place on Saturday, 8 April 2017, with University of CA Regents v. Bakke (1978) as the focus. Scholars provided a background on the case, the state of affirmative action policy and laws as of the 1970s, and the particulars of how these were being applied in higher education at the time. A number of interesting facts about the case were considered – including Bakke’s professional background and how his case made its way through the California legal system, and finally to the United States Supreme Court.
The 14th Amendment figured prominently in the early decisions, as well as the legal claims made by Bakke in his suits against the school, and how these could be reconciled with Civil Rights legislation from the 1960s. A significant undercurrent of the case and discussion was about whether the equal protection clause mandates color-blindness, for any reason, or if it permits some kinds of race-based considerations, but not others. This complicated case is a great opportunity to teach students how laws and the Constitution are analyzed, interpreted, and used, to reach court decisions.
Roe v. Wade was the topic of TAH.org’s Saturday Webinar held on 11 March 2017, with Drs. Chris Burkett, John Dinan, and David Alvis discussing the legal, political, historical, and constitutional aspects of the controversial landmark case.
The latest in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases Saturday Webinar series focused on Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), the landmark case that decided a school-based case about expressive speech and political protest. At the height of the Vietnam War, high school students in Iowa sought to protest America’s involvement in the war by wearing black arm bands, and were prevented from doing so by school administration. Four years later, in 1969, the case was decided by the Supreme Court, changing American legal views on free speech, protest, and how these things could be expressed in a public schools.
Questions raised by the audience of teachers focused on Justice Black’s dissent, original intent of the Founders, and the power of the Supreme Court to interpret language and law.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) was the subject of December’s Saturday Webinar. guest hosted by Dr. Jason Stevens of Ashland University. The case, which overturned a previous USSC case and forced states to provide legal counsel to defendants in criminal cases. Although a majority of states already required this, those that did not were required to do so, from this point forward. The panelists discussed not only the interesting background of the case, including Betts v. Brady (1942), but also the complex situation of determining the “special circumstances” mentioned in that decision that states had to somehow work through in each case. An interesting point brought up was that some 22 states filed amicus briefs in support of a single federal ruling, essentially asking the court to provide a single standard for them instead of the open-ended (and difficult) question left to them by the Betts decision.
The broader discussion also looked at the Warren court in general, the concept of incorporation, and the original intent behind the ideas in the Bill Rights.
Resources mentioned include…
Access the archives, including our YouTube recording and podcast, on the permanent program page here.
TAH.org’s latest episode in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinar series took place on Saturday, 19 November, and was hosted by Dr. Chris Burkett, with Drs. Emily Hess and Jason Stevens as panelists. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was discussed as both the repudiation of Plessy v. Ferguson as well as what many see as the formal start to the post-WW2 Civil Rights era. The two cases’ legal reasoning, constitutional foundations, and outcomes were discussed as a an integrated whole, making for an interesting and informative discussion of African-American Civil Rights, as playing out over generations.
For those interested in additional readings on the subjects, the panelists recommended the following books.
View the archive of the program here.
The latest episode of TAH.org‘s Landmark Supreme Court Cases Saturday Webinars aired live on Saturday, 15 October 2016, with Dred Scott v. Sandford as the focus. Prof. Chris Burkett of Ashland University moderated the discussion between Profs. Lucas Morel and Jonathan White, and included a live teacher audience of over 100. In addition to the background of the case itself, the panelists discussed the following question, most of which were posed by teachers from the audience:
An interesting point related to the case is that of the perceptions of the Founder’s intent. Essentially, Taney asserted that the Founders never intended for African-Americans to be treated and seen as anything but property, and that they were truly lesser beings. If anyone believed otherwise, Taney’s response would be that they misunderstood the Founders’ true intentions. Alexander Stephens, on the other hand, asserted that although the Founders did promote equality of all people, they were wrong by including, even if only by implication, non-whites, and that the Southern view of the races, based in ‘science,’ was the correct one. Finally, it was Lincoln who believed that the Founders did include non-whites as people and therefore entitled to certain natural rights, and that if anything, it was the generations of leaders since who’d failed to continue to reach for those goals.
Drs. Chris Burkett, Jeremy Bailey, and Dan Monroe discussed the historical context, constitutional connections and reasoning, and legal and political legacy of the second in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinars, McCulloch v Maryland (1819). Access the archives of the program here and subscribe to our iTunes podcast.
On Saturday 27 August 2016, TAH.org hosted its first Saturday Webinar of the 2016-17 school year, on Marbury v. Madison. This year’s theme of Landmark Supreme Court cases got off to a great start with a thoughtful discussion of the politics and constitutional aspects of the at the time it was decided, and the legal and constitutional legacy in the years since. Scholars also discussed the case as related to the concepts of both judicial review and judicial supremacy, and the extent to which the Constitution was seen as a legal, rather than political document.
You can visit the archive page of this program here.
Announcing the 10 LANDMARK SUPREME COURT CASES Webinar Series
Building on the success of our last two years of Saturday Webinars – American Controversies and American Presidents – we invite you to join our 10 Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinar series during the 2016-2017 academic year.
Drawing from our list of 50 Core Documents and related sources, TAH.org’s Saturday Webinar series is designed to help teachers develop a deeper understanding of the historical, political, constitutional, and social dimensions of 10 of America’s most important Supreme Court cases. Each month a different panel of scholars – experts in their fields –discuss the topic at hand, with Dr. Chris Burkett of Ashland University as moderator, and a live online audience of teachers.
Document links will be updated throughout the season, at least a month in advance of each episode.