supreme court influences and interpretations 1


The U.S. Supreme Court renders decisions that bind our nation. Many decisions are interpretations of the balance of individual rights and societal needs in the context of the Bill of Rights. The justices have voting tendencies. These tendencies are shaped by philosophical underpinnings, political ideologies, and public policy. Understanding these underlying influences is important when attempting to predict trends of the Court. One decision can have a significant impact on a criminal justice practitioner.

As you learn about the foundation of the power of the Supreme Court, and the different eras of the Court, share your perspective about the importance of understanding these areas specific to your intended career. Select two eras of the Supreme Court, based on the chief justice presiding over the court, and explain some trends of the decisions in the areas of substantive and procedural law. How did philosophical underpinnings and public policy influence decisions in your selected eras? Was the court more liberal or conservative in each era you selected? What differences did you note between the eras? What did you learn in doing this comparison? How can you connect this learning to your career?

Discussion Objectives

The competencies addressed in this discussion are supported by discussion objectives.

  • Competency 4: Document philosophical underpinnings and public policy influences associated with U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
    • Compare U.S. Supreme Court decisions by era.
    • Correlate learning about U.S. Supreme Court decision trends and influences to your career.
  • Competency 3: Explain the substantive and procedural interpretations of individual freedoms based on case analysis.
    • Identify trends of the U.S. Supreme Court, in two eras, in the areas of substantive and procedural law.
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