Supreme Court Essay

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Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado


Read through the case opinion, taking notes as you go. You need the following information:

         A. Introduction:

                1. Identify the name of the case and the year the Supreme Court issued the opinion; 

                2. Identify the parties involved in the case.

                3. Briefly describe the focus and controversy of the case.

B. Facts - identify the facts relevant to the Court's ruling in the case (leave out extraneous detail); 

C. How did the case move through the courts before reaching SCOTUS?

                1. What court had original jurisdiction in the case?

                2. How had previous courts ruled in the case?

D. How did the U.S. Supreme Court rule in the case?

                1. What was the reasoning of the majority opinion?

                2. What was the reasoning of any concurring or dissenting opinions? 

E. Conclusion: How does the Court’s ruling in the case affect Americans today?

                1. Has the Court’s ruling in the case affected other rulings in other cases?

                2. Has the Court’s ruling affected the interpretation and enforcement of any particular laws and how those laws are enforced?

                3. If applicable: Has the Court’s ruling in this case affected you, or someone you know, personally?

Next, write your essay. If you organized your information based on the suggested outline above, then you just need to flesh out what you learned and put it into a footnoted two- to three-page essay. Your first paragraph is the introduction (the information under letter A of your outline), the second paragraph is the information under letter B, and so on.

Sources: Be sure to cite your sources using sequentially numbered footnotes. That means any information you learned from another source, such as a website, a magazine article, a videotaped interview, etc., must be properly noted in your essay. Make sure you use footnotes in proper APA citation style.  Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page, not at the end of the document (those are endnotes).

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