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Fall 2017 SCOTUS in the Classroom Case

Street Law, Inc.

Over 40 years of educating about law, democracy, and human rights

Fall 2017 SCOTUS in the Classroom Case

During the 2017-18 school year, Street Law will provide timely teaching materials on three of the most newsworthy and classroom-relevant Supreme Court cases being argued. We encourage teachers to feature these cases in class as they are being argued at the Court!  

10/25/2017 Update on Trump v. IRAP and Trump v. Hawaii 

Both of the travel ban cases were dismissed as moot (meaning there is no longer a live controversy). The provisions in the challenged executive order have expired. The newest iteration of the travel ban - a September 2017 Proclamation that extends the travel restrictions to other countries and does not expire - has been challenged in federal court, and will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court at some point.


Our first cases of the term will be a blockbuster: Trump v. IRAP and Trump v. Hawaii (2017)

Guaranteed to be among the most newsworthy cases of the term, these are challenges to President Trump’s executive order restricting travel to the U.S. by foreign nationals from six majority Muslim countries (often called the “travel ban”). We are encouraging teachers to teach these cases this fall because they explore fundamental constitutional concepts about presidential power, separation of powers, and the First Amendment’s freedom of religion protections. They present current, controversial issues, and students should have a chance to deeply understand the context and constitutional grounding and to explore the arguments on all sides in a civil conversation.

Case background

On March 6, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that froze new visas for travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and suspended travel by refugees into the United States. The order cited national security concerns as the reason for this action. The order was challenged in court by several parties, and two federal appeals courts ended up blocking the Trump administration from implementing the ban (for somewhat different reasons). The Trump administration appealed those rulings to the Supreme Court, which in June agreed to hear the case and also partially lifted the block, allowing part of the “travel ban” to go into effect. The March 6 order, and a similar one that preceded it in January before being blocked by federal courts, have been very controversial. The legal controversy centers on several questions: Did the order exceed the president’s power under the Immigration and Nationality Act? Did the order violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause by disfavoring Muslims because of their religion? Should the courts even be able to second guess a president’s motives or determinations?

The cases will be argued together on October 10, 2017, and Street Law will post case materials by September 25 on the SCOTUS in the Classroom program page. Teachers and students are encouraged to hold moot courts of the case the same week that the Supreme Court hears argument, which means students can follow discussion and analysis in the news and listen to or read a transcript of the actual oral arguments at the Court. You can find instructions and handouts for conducting a moot court at SCOTUS in the Classroom.

About SCOTUS in the Classroom

Each year, Street Law selects a few of the most classroom-relevant, student-friendly cases being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court and provide teachers with everything they need to conduct moot courts of each. Past cases are always available on our website!

Learn more

Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers

High School Law Course

SCOTUS in the Classroom

Teaching for Civic Engagement