Each handout below asks students to read a case summary from the 2016-2017 SCOTUS term, listen to oral arguments, discuss key issues of the case, and determine the strengths and weakness of each side’s arguments. This provides a way for teachers to integrate current cases into their classroom and for students to follow cases from oral argument through to decision. Case summaries are modified from ABA Supreme Court Preview.
2016-17 Supreme Court Term
Death Penalty: Moore v. Texas (15-797) asks: does the Eighth Amendment prohibit a state from disregarding the current medical definition, and instead using an earlier medical definition, of intellectual disability for the purposes of determining a defendant’s eligibility for the death penalty?
Fair Housing Act: Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami (15-1111) and Wells Fargo & Co. v. City of Miami (15-1112), involve a question of standing, mainly: does a city (in this case, Miami) have standing to bring a lawsuit alleging discriminatory lending practices against banks on behalf of city residents? The Eleventh Circuit ruled that cities may bring these suits, and the banks have asked the Court to overturn that ruling. Given the number of similar suits banks face in cities nationwide, these cases could have major implications on the banks’ balance sheets.
Jury Deliberations: Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado (15-606) presents the Court with a unique question: can the traditional secrecy applied to jury deliberations be terminated due to an allegation of extreme racial bias?