Interest Groups and the United States Supreme Court

Lesson Duration

From Street Law

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define the terms: interest group, writ of certiorari, and amicus brief
  • explain how interest groups influence the United States Supreme Court at two stages: when the Court is granting cert and when the Court is deciding a case
  • describe how at least one interest group attempted to influence the Court in a particular Supreme Court case
  • evaluate whether the influence of interest groups on the Supreme Court is positive or negative

Materials Needed

−Computer lab with internet access for all students, especially on Day One and Day Two

−Handouts and transparencies:

  • Initial Reflection About The Influence Of Interest Groups
  • Background Notes—Interest Groups and the Supreme Court
  • Summary of Research Cases and Interest Groups (Gun Control Case, D.C. v. Heller; Affirmative Action Cases, Gratz v. Bollinger & Grutter v. Bollinger; School Prayer Case, Sante Fe v. Doe; Free Speech/Animal Cruelty Case, U.S. v. Stevens)                    
  • Directions for Sharing Research

Go to: Street Law Resource Library ( Use the filters on the left side of the page to find what you need: Select “Lesson Plan/ Activity” under the “Type” category, then look alphabetically for “Interest Groups and the United States Supreme Court.”


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