PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
SUPREME COURT CASES – RESEARCH PAPER
FALL SEMESTER, 2020
The final research project for Philosophy of Law will be a 15 page paper (4500 words minimum) on a particular Supreme Court case, selected from a list of court cases listed below. Each student must select their case from the list below. In addition, each student must compose the three opinions as if you are a Supreme Court Justice asked by your colleagues to write the majority opinion in the case.
In this paper each student will write three different legal opinions on the case – one opinion from the standpoint of natural law, one opinion from the standpoint of legal positivism, and one opinion from the standpoint of legal realism. Each opinion is to be five pages (1500 words minimum) in length. This will be a full research paper. I will be looking for the student’s ability to understand the salient legal issues in the case, to apply the proper law (or laws) to the case, to demonstrate a command of the principles of natural law, legal positivism and legal realism as applied to the case, and to compose the paper in such a way as to display rigor in critical thinking and analytical writing.
TWENTY UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT CASES
1. Munn v. Illinois (1877)
2. Reynolds v. United States (1879)
3. Lochner v. New York ( 1905)
4. Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States (1911)
5. Schenck v. United States (1919)
6. Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940)
7. Korematsu v. United States (1944)
8. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
9. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
10. Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
11. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)
12. Furman v. Georgia (1972)
13. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
14. Roberts v. United States Jaycees (1984)
15. Employment Division vs. Smith (1990)
16. United States v. Lopez (1995)
17. Kelo v. City of New London (2005)
18. District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)
19. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
20. United States v. Windsor (2013)
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