Religious Displays on Government Property.

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Go to the following web site: http://oyez.org/about (right click and select “open in new window”) Read about the origin and purpose of the OYEZ Project of Northwestern University School of Law. Browse these materials to the extent that they interest you. On other OYEZ pages you’ll find backgrounds of the US Supreme Court justices and videos about how the court operates.

Next, go to the following OYEZ web page: http://oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2004/2004_03_1693?sort=ideology (right click and select “open in new window”)

Complete the following activities.

1. Read about the case highlighted on this web page.

2. Listen to the oral argument (be sure to click on “Oral Argument” and not on “Opinion Announcement”) made before the U.S. Supreme Court. You will see a link to download an mp3 file of the oral argument. You may listen to this on your computer or download it to your iPod or other mp3 player. It runs about 60 minutes.

Note: You can also read the transcript, but I highly recommend that you listen to the recording. When you read the transcript, you miss all of the very interesting vocal inflections and indications of emotion, sarcasm, impatience, exasperation, interruptions, etc. of the justices. Also note: Be sure you choose the “oral argument” recording and not the “opinion announcement” recording. I want you to hear the presentations of the attorneys representing the litigants. However, you might also find the opinion announcement interesting and you may certainly listen to it as well.

3. Answer the following questions:

a. Did the US Supreme Court affirm or reverse the decision of the appellate court?

b. Was the decision unanimous or split? What was the vote? Who wrote the opinion?

c. What do you think was the most compelling argument of the appellant?

d. What do you think was the most compelling argument of the appellee?

e. Did anything said by the attorneys change your opinion of this issue or open your eyes to something new about it? Explain your answer.




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