1. Oral Arguments in Bush v. Gore
Listen to the oral arguments in Bush v. Gore at
You can listen on line and read the transcript or you can download the mp3 to your desktop and synchronize to your mp3 player. Look for the transcript in the 'lyrics tag.' This will take about ninety minutes. Consider the following questions in small groups.
Early in the argument, the justices peppered each of the three attorneys with questions regarding the Court's jurisdiction. Why is this questioning important?
As you listen to the questions from the justices to the attorneys, consider what seems to interest the justices the most. Is it the Court's prior decisions (precedents), the Court's supervisory power over the Florida courts, or the issues revolving around the policy that may emanate from their decision?
How would you describe the role of humor in such tension-filled proceedings?
2. John Marshall's Life
Read one of John Marshall's famous letters. It is a short autobiography written to Justice Joseph Story, at
Note at the end of the letter Marshall's account of how President Adams informed him he was to be nominated to the Supreme Court.
What experiences from Marshall's early life might have made him more sympathetic to the notion of a strong national government? Speculate on the reasons Marshall turned down a Supreme Court appointment in 1798.
3. Ideology and Supreme Court Justices
Examine the brief summaries of positions taken by Supreme Court justices at
(It has been kept up-to-date for more recent elections.) Compare the positions taken by justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia. Based on the Freedom-Order-Equality model, where would you place them in the two-dimensional ideological space?
4. Constitutional Courts Cross-Nationally
Professor Arne Mavcic holds several academic and government positions in the Republic of Slovenia. One of his missions is to provide a worldview of judicial review and constitutional courts. He has set out a number of different models for judicial review, only one of which is the American version, at
One link compares different constitutional court models by country:
Another link compares different constitutional court models by population:
How does the American model compare to each model in terms of the number of countries in the world and the population governed by each model?
Does it surprise you that some countries still have no form of constitutional court? Which ones besides the United Kingdom lack judicial review?