Cases and Resources
Unit 1

Welcome to the Street Law Cases and Resources pages. Using the buttons above, you can navigate between the chapters of this unit, as well as chapters of other units. All links within these pages are just a mouse click away from tons of useful information. By hitting a link, a new window will open, allowing this page to remain behind and open for your return once you have finished. Every new link you hit will replace the existing link in the new window, so you might want to keep track of your links by creating bookmarks for them in your browser. Go ahead! Give it a try!
CHAPTER 1 What is Law?
Law and Values Kinds of Laws
Human Rights Our Constitutional Framework
Balancing Rights with Responsibilities

Law and Values
Our current legal system is based on values that our government and society believe are most important to keep order and fairness in the United States. Read about the mission and values that the U.S. Department of Justice maintains.

Do you want to learn about other people's values and share your values? Visit the Youth in Action Network to learn background information on human rights and environmental issues, communicate with other students, and learn how to take action for your values!

Many of the most well-known organizations that fight to change or keep laws today agree on specific values. Oftentimes, these values can be very different. For example, read about the values behind two sides of free speech at the American Civil Liberties Union and compare that to Morality in the Media, Inc.

Read the case of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens.

Human Rights
Read the actual text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Remember, all members of the United Nations have agreed to recognize and promote these basic human rights, and the United States is a member of the UN. Click back to the Youth in Action Network because that site has a great section on human rights. Then, hop on the United Nations Cyber School Bus and don't miss the Interactive Declaration of Human Rights because it has questions and activities. (Teachers: there are also suggestions for classroom use.)

Read the actual text of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (text, p. 9) on the Human Rights Web or the website of the United Nations’ human rights office.

Read the actual text of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (text, p. 9) on the Human Rights Web or the website of the United Nations’ human rights office.

To learn more about human rights groups, activities or issues, visit the Amnesty International Web site or the Human Rights USA Web site. (Teachers: Visit the Amnesty International Web site for lesson plans, ideas and materials for teaching human rights.)

Balancing Rights with Responsibilities
Rights also carry with them responsibilities. As members of small and large communities, there is a balancing act we must perform to preserve our individual rights while respecting the rights of others around us. Take a look at the Kitty Genovese story (text, p.12) to read more about a citizen's rights and responsibilities.

Did the Human Rights sites above give you any ideas for how to balance your rights with responsibilities? If you would like to find more about becoming a student activist for human rights, visit Amnesty International's Youth Activism site. 

There are some responsibilities we have specifically because we live in the United States. To find out about other types of civic responsibility, check out The Juror's Handbook  to find out what it's like to be on a jury, and visit Political Resources On-line get a sense of what you need to do to run for office. Read some of the "Campaigns On-line Links" to learn about how real candidates are trying to fulfill their civic responsibilities.

Making sure that you are informed about the issues when you vote is a responsibility along with the right to vote. Read about these issues on MTV's website!

Find out what The Center for Civic Education can do for you to make you a more civic-minded citizen. Where can you go in your state to help promote civic responsibility?
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Kinds of Laws
Remind yourself about the difference between criminal and civil laws. See how these differences revealed themselves in the OJ Simpson murder cases. Visit Court TV  to read about current cases. Make a list of which cases are civil and which are criminal. You can also learn more about O.J. Simpson's criminal and civil cases (text, p. 13) or read legal documents from those cases in the Court TV Casefiles: O.J. Simpson.
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Our Constitutional Framework
Visit the National Constitution Center to learn more about separation of powers and checks and balances, federalism, judicial review, and individual rights. Now test your knowledge of the Constitution.

Interpreting and applying the U.S. Constitution is complicated. There is a special field of law, called constitutional law, where people read the constitution and examine other documents and ideas to figure out exactly what the constitution means to issues and problems that weren't around when it was written over 200 years ago.

Read the independent counsel statute (text, p. 16). To learn about both sides of the debate over whether to renew the independent counsel statute read the Law and Contemporary Problems Journal. Don't tell your teachers, but this site can help you answer the questions on page 16.

Read the actual language and a brief history of the Equal Rights Amendment (text, p. 17). What are the arguments for and against an equal rights amendment? Why do you think the amendment ultimately failed to become part of the Constitution?
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CHAPTER 2 Lawmaking
Drafting a Bill

Learn more about the two divisions of the federal legislature: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Use this interactive map to learn about your state legislature and discover who represents you when laws are decided!

How does congress pass laws? Read a short or long version on how laws are passed through Congress.

The government provides much information about the legislative committees and individuals that we elect to make laws. Read about these different groups. Do you want to find out about the workings of Congress? Would you like to read actual bills, committee reports, or congressional statements? Visit Thomas, as in Jefferson, the Library of Congress's Web site for legislative information. Another great general resource for congressional information is C-SPAN. This site helps you search for local elected officials, issues and legislation, and other media sources.

Drafting a Bill
Writing a bill, or a proposed law, tells people what the law means. There is a special process an idea must go through before it can become a law. Learn more about how a bill becomes a law from a site designed just for young people!

Learn more about specific federal agencies or about your own state agencies. Are there any agencies on these lists that you'd like to work for?

If you want to get the latest information about federal agencies, use the Federal Register, which lists U.S. federal agency announcements and information, such as presidential documents, agency meetings, grant opportunities, and proposed federal regulations.

Learn about OSHA, and read about some of OSHA's success stories. Can you think of any projects for OSHA to work on?

Learn about federal courts and state courts. Read about the history of the federal courts and some of the most important cases that have been decided in federal courts. What are the differences between the two systems?
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For more about the court system, check out Chapter 5.

CHAPTER 3 Citizen Advocacy
The Art of Advocacy

The Art of Advocacy
When you educate yourself and speak out about that issue, you can make a difference as an advocate! Use the Internet to help with YouthAct (text, p. 28). Learn about issues and read the Basic Tips for Communicating with Government Officials to find out the nuts and bolts of how to make phone calls, write letters, and meet with officials. Learn about the positive differences that other young people have made through their own advocacy projects. (Teachers: have your students choose an issue, make a plan, and act!)
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Know the basics of lobbying to understand the ways lobbyists can impact lawmakers. You can review an example of a lobbying kit online to think about all of the ways lobbyists can reach decision makers. Read about successful youth lobbyists and the issues they care about.

Compare the Web sites for the National Rifle Association and The Brady Campaign. (text, p. 31). Which has the most useful information? Why? Pair up and act as lobbyists and legislators using the information and legislation posted on these sites.

Compare the campaigns between groups that advocate drilling for oil in the Arctic, and groups that oppose drilling. Both of these sides lobby the government to create laws favoring them.
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Learn more about Rock the Vote  (text, p. 32). How can you encourage more people to vote?

Do you have questions about campaign finance reform (text, p. 33)? If you still want more information, check out The Hoover Institution's page on campaign finance. (Teachers: have students find out where politicians get their funding and then have the students write proposals on how to reform campaign finance.) Find out more information about your state's election process.

You may also want to see where the candidates stand on different issues. See how you compare on an issue with other political candidates.

Learn how to teach yourself about the issues and the candidates without being persuaded by advertisements and other tools to change a voter's mind. Make sure you know how to look for the ideas that matter in a campaign.

Are there any elections being held right now?
Become aware of the political issues that are happening in your area. You can use Project Vote Smart  to find out about particular candidates. Who do you want to vote for? Find out what The New Millenium Young Voter Project is doing to reconnect young voters with the issues that matter to them.

Do not be fooled into thinking your vote does not count. Every person who votes is taking part in the government and sends a message to lawmakers. Remain aware of how your vote does matter.
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CHAPTER 4 Settling Disputes
Methods for Solving Disputes

Methods for Solving Disputes
To find out more about the art of negotiation, look at the resources on the negotiation resource center.

The American Arbitration Association provides several guides to alternative dispute resolutions.

The Association for Conflict Resolution explains the words, phrases, and techniques used by dispute resolution practitioners.

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service provides examples of alternative methods for solving disputes in the real world. It focuses on dispute mediation, preventive mediation, alternative dispute resolution, and arbitration in labor-management relations.

When you have a dispute arising from on-line activity, you can find an ombudsperson to settle the dispute on-line.

Need help preparing for a negotiation session? Use this guide designed for lawyers preparing for mediation or this mediation checklist. You may have a dispute resolution program in your school that models some methods discussed. Read about some popular school programs, such as peer mediation.
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CHAPTER 5 The Court System
Trial Courts       Tribal Courts
Appeals Courts      The U.S Supreme Court
Federal and State Court Systems

Trial Courts
Explore some famous trials of the 1990s. Read the transcripts and documents from trials of the Menendez brothers and OJ Simpson. Read about an explanation of one of the most famous cases of recent history, Bush v. Gore and the resolution of the 2000 election. Read the actual text of the opinion to see how the Supreme Court decided this case.

The Adversary Legal System  explains the pros and cons and the purpose of our adversary system in the context of divorce disputes.

What is a trial? The Tennessee court provide answers to all of your questions regarding the difference between civil and criminal trials, who the different players in a courtroom are, and the phases of the trial process.

Explore the justice system through the eyes of a federal prosecutor. The Department of Justice  takes you through the steps of a trial from the initial investigation to the sentencing.

Be the judge in the case of the spotted owl. Decide who wins--the Audubon Society or the Forest Service.

Learn about the legal system of Europe. The Court of Justice interprets European Union law and ensures the law is applied in the same way across all EU member states.

Interested in the court of a foreign country? Cornell University provides a list of Web sites for the courts of countries around the world. View the legal system of countries from Switzerland to Singapore.

Learn about the history of the law and explore the development of the legal system through the ages.
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Appeals Courts
Understand the federal appeals court system and learn about the judges who sit on the federal appellate court.

Explore the state appeals court system by learning about the appellate court system in Virginia. Find out about the cases they hear and the judges on the court.

You can read the case of Plessy v. Ferguson mentioned on page 51, either in short form or in the full text.

You can read the case of Brown v. Board of Education mentioned on page 51 either in long form or short form.

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Federal and State Court Systems
Understand the differences between these two separate court systems by reading about their structures and roles in our judicial system.

Do you wonder what the federal courts do? Read the answers to some frequently asked questions about the courts, judges, and jurors in the federal system. Explore the court in your federal circuit.

Learn about your state court by clicking on the name of your state.
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Tribal Courts
Learn about Native American Law and how tribal courts are part of our judicial system. Read about why tribes have sovereign status and why Native Americans are allowed to operate casinos.

Where do tribal courts obtain their authority? Read about Indian Tribal Justice in the United States Code.

Take a look at the Alaskan Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian tribes. To learn more about Native Americans and the law, look at the Alaska Natives Justice and Law links.

Engage in a critical analysis of the differences between the judicial sections of an Indian nation's constitution and the United States Constitution.
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The U.S. Supreme Court
Learn about the current Supreme Court justices. Read their biographies and explore their participation in the cases that have been argued before them.

If you have QuickTime 3.0, take this virtual tour of the Supreme Court (this site will be most useful to those who have a Macintosh).

Read about the powers of the Supreme Court as outlined in Article III of the United States Constitution.

The Legal Information Institute's Supreme Court site provides current news stories and FindLaw provides a history of the Supreme Court, including an explanation of how the Court chooses the cases and makes decisions as well as describing notable cases. Test your knowledge of the Supreme Court using this quiz. Listen to the most significant oral arguements heard before the Supreme Court, and keep up with the cases currently on the Supreme Court's docket. Review the calendar schedule for the current term.

You can read the case of Gideon v. Wainwright mentioned on page 58, either in short form or the full text; or hear the oral arguments.

Learn about Clarence Gideon's road to the Supreme Court and view his original petition.
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CHAPTER 6 Lawyers
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
How Do You Find a Lawyer?

When Do You Need a Lawyer?
The American Bar Association's lawyer referral site will connect you to someone in your state who can help you decide whether or not you need a lawyer, and then refer you to an appropriate lawyer or community agency.

Are you a legal consumer who needs help? This consumer Web site will help you determine if you need a lawyer and if so, what you should consider and the questions to ask when deciding which lawyer to hire. It will also provide advice about self-representation.

Most state bar associations can help you decide if you need a lawyer and help you find the right one. We recommend the Arizona and California bar associations for an overview of the services state bar associations can provide.
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How Do You Find a Lawyer?
Need help finding a lawyer? The National Attorney Referral Service can help you find the lawyer you need. The American Bar Association and Martindale Hubbard can also help you locate a lawyer through their nationwide listing of lawyers.

Do you need a lawyer for a civil case? The American Bar Association can provide you with a listing of free legal services for civil cases in each state.

You can read the case of Bates v. State Bar of Arizona mentioned on page 63, either in short form or the full text; or hear the oral arguments.

Compare and contrast the advertisements of two lawyers, one from Pennsylvania and the other from California. What are the lawyers' areas of expertise? What are the differences between the advertisements? Is one more effective than the other? Do the ads provide disclaimers, reminding you that the advertisements are not legal advice? What promises of an outcome, if any, are made in the ads?
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