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We the Students

We the Students
Supreme Court Cases for and about Students

Fourth Edition

Gain a deeper appreciation of democratic freedoms and challenges!

July 2014 | 400 pages | CQ Press

We the Students is a highly acclaimed resource that has introduced thousands of students to the field of legal studies by covering Supreme Court issues that directly affect them. It examines topics such as students’ access to judicial process; religion in schools; school discipline and punishment; and safety, discrimination and privacy at school.  Through meaningful and engagingly written commentary, excerpts of Supreme Court cases (with students as the litigants), and exercises and class projects, author Jamie B. Raskin provides students with the tools they need to gain a deeper appreciation of democratic freedoms and challenges, and underscores their responsibility in preserving constitutional principles. Completely revised and updated, the new, Fourth Edition of We the Students incorporates new Supreme Court cases, new examples, and new exercises to bring constitutional issues to life.

Chapter 1: “We The People”: Our Constitution And Courts
Why a Constitution?

The American Constitution: What Is It?

The Constitution: Whose Is It?

The Constitution: What Does It Mean?

Federalism: How the States Share the Power

The Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

The State Action Requirement

Judicial Architecture: How Our Court System Works

Majority and Dissenting Opinions

How to Brief a Case

Chapter 2: Student Voices And Supreme Court Choices: The First Amendment And Speech At School
Expressive Conduct and the Right Not to Speak

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette

The Right to Speak Freely and Protest (but Not to Disrupt)

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District

The Confederate Flag and Other Racially Provocative Symbols

Hirsute Lawsuit: Do Boys Have the Right to Wear Long Hair?

Karr v. Schmidt

Double Entendres and Double Standards: Lewd and Suggestive Language in a Student Government Campaign Speech

“BONG HiTS 4 JESUS”: Testing the Limits of Free Speech

Morse v. Frederick

Hateful Protest by Religious Fanatics on Public Property: Snyder v. Phelps, the Protection of Obnoxious Speech, and Student Mobilization against the Westboro Baptist Church

Thought Control or Quality Control? The Problem of Library Book Removal

Viewpoint Neutrality and Religious Speech: Good News for the Free Speech Rights of Religious Americans

Good News Club v. Milford Central School

Chapter 3: Freedom Of The Student Press: All The News (The School Sees) Fit To Print
Freedom of the Student Press in Official School-Sponsored Activities

Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

Squelching Debate: A Different Sort of Blair Witch-Hunt

Cyber Censors: Rising Conflicts over Internet Homepages

Killion v. Franklin Regional School District

Insults and Ridicule versus Threats and Harassment: When Does Off-Campus On-Line Speech Actually Become On-Campus Disruption?

Chapter 4: The Wall Of Separation Between Church And School
Freedom from Establishment of Religion at School

Engel v. Vitale

Graduating from Invocation and Benediction

Lee v. Weisman

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe

Government Aid to Private Religious Schools: When Does It Cross the Line?

Everson v. Board of Education of the Township of Ewing

School Vouchers: Making Education Redeemable in Secular or Religious Schools

Zelman v. Simmons-Harris

The First Amendment and the Ten Commandments

Stone v. Graham

Season’s Greetings! The Court’s Agonizing Ambivalence over Christmas Nativity Displays

One Nation, under Canada, with Constitutional Controversy for All: New Conflict over the Pledge of Allegiance

Newdow v. U.S. Congress

The Supreme Court’s Curious Response to Newdow v. U.S. Congress

The Free Exercise Rights of Religious Americans

Wisconsin v. Yoder

The Theory of Evolution and the Story of Creation: An Ongoing Duel in the Classroom

Chapter 5: The Fourth Amendment: Searching The Student Body
Reduced Privacy Rights at School

New Jersey v. T. L. O.

A Fluid Analysis of the Fourth Amendment: Drug Tests and Extracurricular Activities

oard of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls

“Embarrassing, frightening, and humiliating”: Strip Searches and Naked Violations of the Fourth Amendment

Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding

Metal Detectors and the Constitution

In Re Latasha W.

Chapter 6: The Constitution And Student Discipline: “Due Process” And “Cruel And ­Unusual Punishment” At School
Due Process

Goss v. Lopez

The Crime of Hanging Out with Gang Members: “Loitering with No Apparent Purpose” in Chicago and the Due Process Clause

City of Chicago v. Morales

Corporal Punishment

Ingraham v. Wright

Corporal Punishment in the Aftermath of Ingraham v. Wright

Chapter 7: Equal Protection Against Race Discrimination: From Jim Crow Segregation To ­Multicultural Democracy
The Persistent Legacy of Slavery and Racism

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: “Massive Resistance” and the Reaction to Brown

Cooper v. Aaron

Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County

The Right to Love

Can Public Schools Deliberately Integrate Students Today?

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1

Race and Ethnicity in College and Graduate School Admissions: Affirmative Action or “Reverse Discrimination”?

Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher, Petitioners v. Lee Bollinger et al.

Barbara Grutter, Petitioner v. Lee Bollinger et al.

Chapter 8: The Other Lines We Draw At School: Wealth, Gender, Citizenship, And Sexual Orientation
Rich Schools, Poor Schools: The Court’s Treatment of “Separate but Equal” School Financing

“Suspect” Classes and Gender-Based Segregation

Boys and Girls Equal: Title IX

Roderick Jackson, Petitioner v. Birmingham Board of Education

Separating Citizens from Noncitizens under the Law

Plyler v. Doe

Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale

United States, Petitioner v. Edith Schlain Windsor

Chapter 9: Harassment In The Hall, Blood On The Board: Sexual Harassment, Bullying, And Gun Violence At School
When Teachers Harass Students

Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District

When Students Harass Students

Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education

The Rights of Gay and Lesbian Students against Harassment

Blood on the Board: Mass Shootings at School

District of Columbia v. Heller

Expansion of the Reach of the Second Amendment

Chapter 10: A Healthy Student Body: Disability, Privacy, Pregnancy, And Sexuality
The Rights of the “Differently Abled” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F.

Peer Grading and the Right to Privacy

Owasso Independent School Dist. No. I-011 v. Falvo

Three Trimesters: Pregnant at School

Pfeiffer v. Marion Center Area School District

Curtis v. School Committee of Falmouth

Abortion and the Privacy Rights of Teenagers

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey


We the Students is a dynamic, riveting, but fundamental dimension of our constitutional democracy. We the Students transforms students into Justices and advocates arguing and resolving matters of grave importance to daily life."

Kenneth W. Starr
Former Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Key features


  • New Supreme Court case excerpts cover strip searches at school, student free speech on the Internet, affirmative action, the use of race in school admissions, student protest or religious speech, and the constitutional implications surrounding trends such as home schooling and rising gun violence in America’s schools.
  • Intriguing new group and individual exercises have been added.


  • Carefully edited Supreme Court decisions help students achieve an appreciation for and an understanding of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Photos of Supreme Court Justices in college and high school, along with photos of the high school students, teachers, and principals involved in the cases, bring concepts to life.
  • Cases are included from state and lower federal courts, as well as from the Supreme Court.
  • “Dissenting Voices” sections provide context for minority judicial opinions.
  • Group and individual exercises in every chapter aid student mastery.

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