The United States Reports, the official reporter of the Supreme Court of the United States

Four fun ways to learn about the Supreme Court

We are in the midst of midterm elections here in the United States.  This is the time where we educate ourselves about the choices we’re being asked to make.  My local and state ballot is full of subjects, some I understand and some I still need to study.  If you’re like me, you might also try to follow certain issues in other local elections, like Stacey Abrams’ run for Governor of Georgia.  I try to keep up by surfing the news where our attention is directed from issue to issue by news cycles and media outlets.

But issues come along that resonate enough for me to break from the news cycle and study a bit more.  The Supreme Court is one of those issues for me.  If you’re curious about it also, keep reading to learn about some great resources to help you see another perspective.

Like primary sources?

It’s not a bad idea to read the Constitution to get your bearings in many of the arguments that we hear today.  Things like unreasonable search and seizure, freedom of speech, and the Second Amendment are all grounded in the Constitution.  If you like the idea of wowing your friends by whipping a copy out of your pocket or backpack, you can buy one for $2.50 from The National Constitution Center.


Like to learn by listening?  

Kittens Kick the Googly Blue Robot All Summer.

Like podcasts and history?  Then this is one for you.  More Perfect is produced by Radiolab about “how the Supreme Court got so supreme.” The entire series is worth a listen, but if you want a bit of Supreme Court history then Kittens Kick The Googly Blue Robot All Summer is the episode for you.  It was released in September 2017, just a few months after Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed.  The episode is chock full of stories.  In their own words: “On this episode of More Perfect, we go all the way back to the case that, in a lot of ways, is the beginning of the court we know today. Speaking of the current court, if you need help remembering the eight justices, we’ve made a mnemonic device (and song) to help you out. Plus, the twisted tale of the biggest heist in Supreme Court history — when reams of Justice Felix Frankfurter’s papers, stored at the Library of Congress, seemed to vanish into thin air.”


Like to learn by reading online?  


For those who want to follow the arguments before the court, and also learn about issues related to the current Supreme Court.  SCOTUSblog generally previews cases before argument, after argument, and after decisions.  It compiles a daily round-up of other published articles about the court.  It highlights certain petitions before the Supreme Court, announces events, and publishes longer pieces that cover current events or analysis.  It’s a dense (in a good way) resource, and it’s easy to navigate.


Like to learn by watching?  


This film gives us insight into the Supreme Court by telling the story of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s career.  Spend two hours with this documentary and you’ll walk away not only learning about Justice Ginsburg, but also some of the political and cultural currents surrounding the Supreme Court.  Her role in promoting rights for women also highlights the strategy and preparation required for long-term significant legal change.


How do you like to learn about the Supreme Court? 

Are you a Supreme Court scholar, or do you know one?  How do you stay up to speed with its decisions, news, and impact? Let us know in the comments.


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photo attribution:  CC BY-SA 3.0,; Coolcaesar for the English Wikipedia .

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