Court Most Supreme

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for the opening of a new term, how popular is the United States Supreme Court?

  1. What story does the data tell?

  2. Why do you think that is?

  3. What is one consequence of this story?

  4. Why do you think the approval of the Court has flip flopped over the past few decades?

  5. How accurate was your prediction?

  6. A student named Hans said that the Supreme Court’s approval rating is irrelevant. What piece of information supports Hans’s claim?

  7. Imagine that the Supreme Court had a very low (25%) approval rating, how might that impact the force of its rulings?

  8. The Court opens it’s annual term on the first Monday in October (next Monday, October 7). How will you celebrate?

  9. Imagine that the Supreme Court decided that it wanted to increase its approval rating. What would be one way the Supreme Court could achieve that goal?

  10. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Supreme Court is handling its job?

  11. What is the Supreme Court’s job, anyway?

  12. Describe how partisan identification impacts opinion of the Court?*

  13. Considering that 5 of the 9 Justices were Republican appointees, and the Supreme Court Chief Justice was appointed by Republican, George W. Bush, what explains the fact that 27% of Republicans think the Court is too liberal?

  14. How do you think Donald Trump's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh has affected America’s opinion of the Supreme Court?

  15. How did Americans' feelings about the U.S. Supreme Court impact the 2016 elections?

  16. How much of an issue will the Supreme Court be in the 2020 election?

  17. Describe how ideology impacts Americans’ views of the U.S. Supreme Court.*

  18. Describe how political party impacts Americans’ views of the U.S. Supreme Court.*

  19. The Court currently has six male and three female justices. Among the nine justices, there is one African-American (Justice Thomas) and one Hispanic (Justice Sotomayor). Why do you think the Court is so much less racially and ethnically diverse than America?

  20. At least five justices are Roman Catholics and three are Jewish. It is unclear whether Neil Gorsuch considers himself a Catholic or an Episcopalian. Why do you think the Court is so much less Protestant than America?

  21. Check out the Supreme Court docket (cases it will here) for the coming term. Which one of these cases is the most important?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew Report on American views of the Supreme Court.

Action Extension

John Roberts is the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice. Contact him and explain one thing he could do to improve the favorability of the U.S. Supreme Court:

Supreme Court With Dogs Extension

SCOTUS 4EVR

When you think about the Supreme Court, you probably think, OLD. But current SCOTUS nominee Brett Kananaugh is only 53. Since 2000, what has been the average age of a nominee to the Supreme Court?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What has happened to the age of SCOTUS nominees over the past century?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What is consequence of this change?

  5. A newborn would be too young (although not according to the Constitution) to be on the SCOTUS, a 99 year-old would be too old (although, again, not according to the Constitution). What is the Goldilocks - just right - age for the Supreme Court of the United States? In other words, if you were a POTUS picking a SCOTUS nominee, what age range would the perfect nominee come from?

  6. According to Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution, who gets to nominate members of the Supreme Court?

  7. Why don't POTUSs pick 20 year olds for the Supreme Court?

  8. Could POTUS Trump legally pick Ariana Grande to be a member of SCOTUS?

  9. According to the United States Constitution, what are the requirements for becoming a member of the SCOTUS?

  10. According to the words of the Constitution, what is the job of the Senate in approving SCOTUS nominees?

  11. What qualities are most necessary to be appointed to SCOTUS?

  12. Currently, what is the lifespan of the average Supreme Court member?

  13. Currently, what is the average tenure of a member of the Supreme Court of the United States?

  14. Don't forget the GoPo naming contest we started yesterday in honor of not-Justice Bork: Take a famous politician (Ryan, Trump, McConnell, Pelosi, Obama, Schumer) and make a verb out of their name. Write a sentence using their name as a verb and post it in the comments section below. The "best" sentence (by either a student or a teacher) will win a $10 Amazon gift card.*

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Learning Extension

Read this NY Times Upshot article about why Supreme Court Justices are serving longer than ever.

Action Extension

Watch some of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings/Circus, contact your U.S. Senator and tell them whether you think they should approve Kavanaugh's nomination.

*Contest rules - I determine what "best" means! I will accept answers through Sunday, September 9th, 2018 by 8:32 pm.

Confirmation Bias Hearings

In his 1941 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Justice-to-be Robert Houghwout Jackson was asked about to comment on three different political topics/issues. How many topics/issues was Justice Kagan asked to comment on in her 2010 confirmation hearing?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. how many topics and issues do you think Justice-to-be Kavanaugh will be asked in his confirmation hearing?

  3. Do you think that all these questions about all these topics actually make a difference in selecting good justices?

  4. What trend do you see in the data from the chart?

  5. Explain the cause of the trend you identified.

  6. Describe one consequence of this trend you identified in the data.

  7. Do we have a good system for picking justices-who serve un-elected for life?

  8. How democratic (with a little d) is this entire justice-confirmation process?

  9. What would the perfect number of topics/issues to ask a nominee be?

  10. If you could, how would you changed the confirmation process?

  11. How likely do you think it is that a single Democrat will vote for Kavanaugh or that a single Republican will vote against him?

  12. In what way is the current confirmation hearing an example of checks and balances?

  13. What would Federalist 51 have said about

  14. In 1987, at his failed confirmation hearings Robert Bork actually answered the questions he was asked in long and voluminous comments. He was NOT confirmed to the Supreme Court (fun fact, ushering in the nomination of quiet-Justice Kennedy, whose Supreme Court seat we are now filling). Robert Bork's failed nomination spawned the verb: to Bork, meaning to talk to much; to say too much about what you really believe; to reject someone who says too much.

  15. Have you ever been Borked?

  16. Will there be a new verb formed to be Kavanaugh? Make up your own definition:

  17. take another famous politician (Ryan, Trump, McConnell, Pelosi, Obama, Schumer) and make a verb out of their name. Write a sentence using their name as a verb and post it in the comments section below. The "best" sentence (by either a student or a teacher) will win a $10 Amazon gift card.*

Learning Extension

Read this 538 article about Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings.

Action Extension

Watch some of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, contact your U.S. Senator and tell them whether you think they should approve his nomination.

*Contest rules - I determine what "best" means! I will accept answers through Sunday, September 9th, 2018 by 8:32 pm.