Cara L. Gallagher
Cara L. Gallagher
December 3, 2013
I started SupremeBystandr in the summer of 2013 after a four-week experience interning for a media network at the U.S. Supreme Court. To say I’m a nerd for this branch of government would be an understatement. Hardly a professional development seminar, symposium, or workshop exists on the Supreme Court that I haven’t attended and loved. Street Law’s Supreme Court Summer Institute was the first and most influential PD I attended. It sparked the flame that ignites my passion for educating people on the relationships between government and people.
In my constant quest to find high-quality, engaging and robust materials on the judiciary, I saw a definite void in the availability of materials written on the level, if you will, of my young adult students. Numerous publications and lesson plans are available on the historic cases, but finding materials on recent cases in formats that matched the dynamic and multi-faceted learners in my classroom was much harder. Often I would have to create my own materials, which required me to struggle through judicial documents, case law, and briefs written by lawyers for lawyers. SCOTUSblog is my favorite website for current and relevant content, but the reality is that it’s not accessible to my students. Inside the Court this summer, I observed how Supreme Court journalists tasked with reporting out decisions to the general, non-legalese fluent, public do it. Armed with the same resources journalists use, I used my own unique perspective observing the Supreme Court from an educator’s perspective—grabbed a few excellent teachers to help—and created SupremeBystandr.com for an audience of students, teachers, and the general public.
SupremeBystandr resides at the intersection of law and education. This site pays homage to both. We are a wellspring of judicial curiosity, gawkers of the robed, with insatiable appetites for all things Supreme Court related. We are educators, students of law-related education, and defenders of the Constitution. Our primary goal is to teach the Supreme Court in ways our students can understand and engage with so that we activate robust civic dialogues, debates, and behaviors. SupremeBystandr is a cooperative of teachers who create original content, link to news on the federal courts and Supreme Court, and podcast debates on the decisive cases in American history for teachers and our students.
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(Reproduced with permission)
Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers