Same-Sex Marriage Approval

What percent of Americans approve of same-sex marriage?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What trend do you see in the data?

  3. What are two factors which help explain this trend?

  4. What are two consequences of this trend?

  5. How would you answer the survey??? Do you personally support same-sex marriage?

  6. Do you personally support opposite-sex marriage?

  7. In 2015 with the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, same-sex marriage became legal nationwide. At that time, what percent of Americans approved of same-sex marriage?

  8. Describe what you think the numbers in the chart above will look like in 20 years?

  9. Describe how attitudes towards same-sex marriage vary by political party affiliation?*

  10. Describe How attitudes towards same-sex marriage vary by age?

  11. What about the ideologies of the Democratic and Republican parties predisposes them to their Platform positions towards same-sex marriage?

  12. This is completely hypothetical and impossible to prove, however...which of the Framers of the Constitution do you think would have been most supportive of same-sex marriage and which would have been most opposed? Explain.

  13. Here is a claim: Now that same-sex marriage is legal, there is no reason to continue to ask Americans if they approve of same-sex marriage. Respond to this claim and support your response with logic, reason, and fact (just like all politicians do).

  14. What does the issue of same-sex marriage have to do with federalism?

  15. What does the issue of same-sex marriage have to do with checks and balances?

  16. Could the Supreme Court ever change its ruling on same-sex marriage?

  17. Imagine that A person wants the U.S. Congress to pass a law outlawing same-sex marriage. Explain whether that law would make same-sex marriage illegal again.

  18. Explain whether it would be possible to de-legalize same-sex marriage in the United States today, and if so, how that could happen.

  19. Some claim that it is undemocratic for the Supreme Court to rule on things like same-sex marriage instead of voting on it. How do you respond to this claim?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Listen to the Obergefell v. Hodges - Opinion Announcement - June 26, 2015 (Part 1) 8:57 Supreme Court of the United States

Action Extension

Ask one person from each of the following age groups whether they approve of same-sex marriage. Share your results in class or online.

  • 10-25

  • 26-40

  • 41-55

  • 56-70

  • Over 71

  • Over 102??? (kidding!)

  • Between 4 and 14 months??? (kidding!)


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Not So Supreme Court

AP US Government and Politics

Do more Americans have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court?


AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. What trend do you see in the chart?

  4. List two explanations for this trend:

  5. What is a consequence of this trend?

  6. If this current trend continues, when will the Court's unfavorable ratings surpass its favorable ratings?

  7. 62 % of Democrats have a favorable opinion of the Court, while only 33 % of Republicans do. Considering that before Justice Scalia's death, 5 of the 9 Justices were Republican appointees, and the Supreme Court Chief Justice was appointed by Republican, George W. Bush, what explains this partisan divide?

  8. How do you think Donald Trump's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh has affected American's opinions of the Supreme Court?

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

  10. Explain one way the declining popularity of the Supreme Court does not impact the court.

  11. Explain one way the declining popularity of the Supreme Court does impact the court.

  12. In the comments section, describe your opinion of the Supreme Court:

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

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Supreme Court Press

AP US Government and Politics

How liberal is the Supreme Court?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. List one question you have about this chart:

  4. Whoa!!!! Did you know that William O. Douglas is the longest-serving United States Supreme Court Justice by time in office (13,358 days)!? But who exactly was this thrice-married, second-youngest-ever Justice William O. Douglas guy, what did he believe in, and what kind of rulings did he issue that made him so very extremely liberal?

  5. What story does this chart tell about the ideological leanings of the median justice?

  6. Why do you think that is?

  7. What is the main consequence of this story of judicial moderation?

  8. Explain whether this moderation is generally good or bad news.

  9. Identify one of the main principles of a judicial conservative:

  10. Identify one of the main principles of a judicial liberal:

  11. How does this chart reflect the ideas of checks and balances?

  12. If instead of our system of presidential appointments and senatorial approval, we simply voted for our Supreme Court Justices, how different do you think this chart would look?

  13. On the current court, who is the most liberal and who is the most conservative?

  14. Since this chart was produced, Justice Scalia has been replaced by Justice Gorsuch, not dramatically altering the ideological balance of the court. Now Justice Kennedy (often the swing vote) will possibly be replaced by Brett Kavanaugh, after which POTUS Trump will probably have one or two more Supreme Court picks before his second term of office ends on January 20, 2025. How do you imagine that will reshape the ideological balance of the court?

  15. Big question: Why do we even have a Supreme Court anyway? I mean, it's not very (little d) democratic!

  16. Based on this chart, about how long does the average Supreme Court Justice serve?

  17. Over time, do Supreme Court Justices tend to get more liberal or more conservative?

  18. Why do you think that is?

  19. What is a consequence of this tendency?

  20. What specific Justice most deviated from this trend during their time on the bench (Supreme Court)?

  21. If you were to be placed on the Supreme Court (don't get too excited yet. This is just hypothetical!) Where would you fall on the ideological spectrum?

Learning Extension

Don't forget, we're just talking about the Supreme Court here. POTUS Trump also gets to fill vacancies on the federal district and federal appeals courts. Here's what vacancies in those areas look like and how they compare to years past.

Action Extension

Ask your favorite Supreme Court Justice to write you a letter describing their judicial philosophy. The Supreme Court doesn't really do email but you can call or write them at

General Contact Information:

U.S. Mail:
Supreme Court of the United States
 1 First Street, NE
 Washington, DC 20543

Telephone: 202-479-3000
TTY: 202-479-3472
 (Available M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern)

Share their response in class or online.


Animal Extension

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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.

Same-Sex DiscrimiNation

AP US Government and Politics

What percentage of Americans agreed that, "businesses that provide wedding services should be required to provide those services to same-sex couples just as they would all other customers."?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising is that data?

  3. About half of Americans are for discrimination of same-sex couple, about half are opposed to it. What is the best argument you have heard either for or against discrimination of same-sex couples?

  4. What story does the data tell about American views towards homosexuals?

  5. How do you think this data has changed over the past 20 years?* 

  6. Why do you think that is?

  7. What is one consequence of this close division over this issue?

  8. How do you think religious affiliation impacts opinion on sexual orientation?**

  9. How do you think party identification impacts opinion on sexual orientation?**

  10. Today, over 70% of Americans believe that homosexuality should not be discouraged. WOW! That is a serious majority. Why do you think that despite overwhelming support for homosexuals and their rights, Congress has not passed a law on this topic?

  11. Why do you think Democrats and Republicans have different opinions on this topic?

  12. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed to, among other things, end racial discrimination in places of public accommodation (Title II). Do you think the Congress should pass a civil rights act for 2017 outlawing discrimination of homosexuals in places of public accommodation (i.e. hotels, restaurants, bakeries, movie theaters, etc)?

  13. Later in 1964, the Supreme Court ruled in Heart of Atlanta v. U.S. that owners of public accommodations (in this case the owner of a motel) were not allowed to discriminate against people based on race. Today, December 5, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in  Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission regarding whether the owner of a bakery should be allowed to discrimiate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Stay tuned, to get the court ruling later this year. For now, explain what you think the Supreme Court should rule in this case?

  14. How do you think the Supreme Court will rule in this case?

  15. In 1964 (over 50 years ago), the Civil Rights Act was met with a great deal of anger and resistance across the U.S. Today, very few Americans would say that they oppose laws against racial discrimination. How do you think the people who today oppose laws and rulings against sexual-orientation discrimination will feel about this topic?

  16. My wife owns and runs a bakery!!!! Yay! On a daily basis, she makes and sells, among other things, AMAZING cookies, cakes, and bread to heterosexuals and homosexuals. Explain whether you think my wife should be allowed to discriminate against people and refuse to serve them based on the following characteristics:

  • race

  • sexual orientation

  • age

  • gender

  • religion

  • political belief

  • membership in Nazi Party

Bonus Chart*

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Bonus Chart**

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Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew Research Center article on American public opinion on same-sex discrimination.

Action Extension

You can't exactly lobby the Supreme Court, but you can lobby Congress! Go speak to your US House representative or Senator and tell them what you think about same-sex orientation discrimination. If you don't have the time or ability to meet your representative in person, ask them to come to your classroom or at least contact them and share your opinion.