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essay you will research a case that is actively pending before the Supreme Court
of the United States (not yet decided by the Court when you submit your essay at
the end of Week Five). It must be a case that raises significant issues
involving the interpretation of the Constitution. The thesis of your essay will
be a statement of the decision, regarding these issues, which the Court
should make, according to your research and analysis of the
constitutional principles, Court precedents, facts of the case, and other
Step One: Identify a Pending
First, you must identify a pending constitutional case that you
will research. Here are some suggested search strategies:
Step Two: Instructor Approval
- Go to http://www.oyez.org and click on “Cases” (at the
top-center) to display a list of cases before the Court during its current term.
It will show the date on which the case was or is scheduled to be argued before
the Court. Only consider cases that have not yet been argued or were
argued very recently; so the Court is unlikely to issue its decision
before you submit your essay. Click on the name of a case in this list to
display the legal “questions” in each case. Look for “questions” that pose
constitutional issues; and from these select a case that presents issues that
you would want to research.
- Go to http://www.scotusblog.com/ and click on “Merits
Cases” (at the top-left side) to display a list of recent terms and select the
most recent term (e.g., “October Term 2012). That displays a list of cases
before the Court during its current term. It will show the date on which the
case was or is scheduled to be argued before the Court. Only consider cases
that have not yet been argued or were argued very recently; so
the Court is unlikely to issue its decision before you submit your essay. This
list also summarizes the issues in each case so that you can identify those with
constitutional issues. Click on the name of a case to view more information
about it, including links to various resources which may directly support your
- Google the phrase “pending cases before the US supreme court.”
Explore the links that Google offers. If you discover a constitutional case that
you want to research, use Oyez or SCOTUSBlog (above) to verify that the case
will still be pending when you submit your essay in Week Five.
instructor may want you to identify your case, the date it will be (or was)
argued, and the constitutional issues posed. Follow your instructor’s directions
in this regard. Or, be proactive and forward your case information in Week One
or Week Two.Step Three: Begin Your Research
should be ready to research your case (remember the valuable resources that may
be available in SCOTUSBlog). Start by reviewing the relevant chapter(s) in the
textbook. Also, do some serious searching for scholarly articles in the Ashford
Online Library.Step Four: Begin Writing Your
Your paper must clearly state your position on the
constitutional issues posed in the case. Your paper should not address broader
questions about the merits of the case or your personal opinions about
extraneous matters; but it should focus on whether or not the state or federal
rules, regulations, or laws at issue would violate a specific provision(s) of
the Constitution. You must clearly explain and logically apply a plausible
interpretation of the constitutional provision(s) and justify your position
using rationales from other relevant and identified Supreme Court decisions.
Make clear whether you are relying on rationales used by the Court’s majority
view or by a dissenting view; and if you rely on a dissent, your analysis should
persuasively justify why this rationale should displace the prevailing majority
rationale. Where appropriate, you may also incorporate support from scholarship
in the disciplines of history, social science, biology, ethics, criminal justice
studies, and public policy; but, such perspectives may be introduced only as
they are directly relevant to interpreting the constitutional provision(s) at
issue in the case.Writing the Research
The Research Paper:
- Must be eight to ten double-spaced pages in length, and formatted according
to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis
- Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
- Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
- Must use at least five scholarly resources, including two Supreme Court
decisions, and a minimum of two scholarly articles from the Ashford Online
Library for a total of seven resources.
- Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing
- Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as
outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.