O V E RV I E W CITIZENS UNITED v. F.E.C., 2010 C RITICAL E NGAGEMENT Q UESTION Assess whether the Supreme Court ruled correctly in Citizens United v. F.E.C. , 2010, in light of constitutional principles including republican government and freedom of speech. L EARNING O BJECTIVES Students will: • Understand the Founders’ reasons for affording political speech the greatest protection. • Apply principles of republican government and freedom of speech to evaluate the decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., 2010 M ATERIALS Handout A: Agree or Disagree Handout B: Citizens United v. F.E.C., 2010, Background Essay Handout C: Citizens United v. F.E.C., 2010 G RADE L EVEL AND T IME Two 50-minute high school classes S TANDARDS CCE (9-12): IIC2; IID3; IID5 NCHS: Era 3, Standard 3; Era 7, Standard 1; Era 10, Standard 1 NCSS: Strands 2, 5, 6 and 10 Common Core (Grades 9-10): 9. Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington’s Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), including how they address related themes and concepts. Common Core (Grades 11-12): 8. Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses). 9. Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth- century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features. During his 2010 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama did something very few presidents have done: he openly challenged a Supreme Court ruling in front of both chambers of Congress and members of the Supreme Court of the United States. That ruling, Citizens United v. F.E.C. (2010), and the President’s commentary on it, reignited passions on both sides of a century-long debate: to what extent does the First Amendment protect the variety of ways Americans associate with one another and the diverse ways we “speak, ” “assemble,” and participate in American political life? It is this speech – political speech – that the Founders knew was inseparable from the very concept of self- government.
2 WHY DOES A FREE PRESS MATTER? NOTES LESSON PLAN DAY I W ARM - UP 15 minutes Distribute Handout A: Agree or Disagree , and have students work individually or with a partner to mark each statement. Reconvene as a large group and share responses. You may wish to tell students that statements 1-3 contain actions which, according to the majority in Citizen United , would be felonies had the BCRA provision at issue in the case not been struck down by the ruling. Statements 4-6 are all from the majority opinion.
- Spring '13
- Supreme Court of the United States, First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Citizens United