Lesson Plan

Judgement Day

Home Schoolers playing the part of Supreme Court Justices
Guilty or Not Guilty
Park Service Staff

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Subject:
Government
Duration:
45 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
Setting:
indoors
National/State Standards:
Government:
Benchmark A - Grade Level Indicator: 12.1

Government Benchmark B - Grade Level Indicator: 11.9 

Overview

In the early 1920's the Volstead Act caused many citizens like George Carroll to break the law to sell liquor.
Chief Justice William Howard Taft and the U.S. Supreme Court would pass down judgement.
Based upon their interpretatios of the U.S. Constitution's protection from "unreasonable searc and seizures" as outlined in the fourth Amendment.

Objective(s)

  • To develop an understanding of the workings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Help students make informed and soud decisions based upon the evidence presented to them.
  • To apply the 4th Amendment to the search of an autombile and goods seized from it.


Background

In the early 1920's the Volstead Act caused many citizens like George Carroll to break the law to sell liquor. Chief Justice William Howard Taft and the U.S.Supreme Court would pass down judgement. 

Based upon their interpretations of the U.S. Constitution's protection from "unreasonable search and siezures" as outlined in the fourth Amendment.

 



Materials

  1. 9 Black robes
  2. Copies of the consttiution ( small books).
  3. Name tags representing the other justices on the bench in 1920.


Procedure

  1. Assign roles to students and set up room in the following manner. Students not assigned a specific role will serve as the gallery. Make sure each justice has paper and a pencil/pen.
  2. U.S. Attorney General reads his script to the justices.
  3. Appellants' attorney reads his script to the justices.
  4. Attorneys and appellants move to the gallery while justices debate the merits of each side.
  5. Justices reveal the position and reasoning, one at a time. Record vote on the board to see which side wins.
  6. Allow entire class to discuss the results. key question: Do you agree with the decision of the court? Why ? why not?
  7. Reveal actual result  of Taft court and ask for responses.           


Vocabulary

Felony - a crime more serios than a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor - a crime less serious than a felony.
Warrant - a document signed by a judge granting police the authority to make an arrest, a seizure, or conduct a search.
Bootleg - to produce, sell or transport illegally.
Smuggle - to import or export contrary to the law.
Speakeasy - a place where alcoholic beverages are sold illegally.