March 5, 2018
It’s a busy winter and spring at the U.S. Supreme Court! Street Law is pleased to bring you the final SCOTUS in the Classroom case for the 2017-18 school year: National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. We encourage teachers to feature, and even moot, this case as it’s being argued at the Court on March 20, 2018.
This is a case from California about a state law that requires crisis pregnancy centers to post information about state programs that offer free or low-cost contraceptives and abortion. The crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel pregnant women against choosing abortion, do not want to post notices about state programs offering those services. The centers have filed a lawsuit, arguing that the law violates the First Amendment because it is compelling them to express ideas they disagree with. The state argues that the notices are simply factual statements that make patients aware of the available options, much like required disclosures about side effects of medical treatments. The state argues that crisis pregnancy centers have, in the past, provided misleading information to women, and that these notices will help correct that problem.
This case brings in several precedent cases about free speech and compelled speech and raises interesting issues to explore with students. It is sure to generate media interest and is likely to be decided by the end of June.
Street Law has posted case materials 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 arguments, 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. The SCOTUS in the Classroom section of our site includes instructions and handouts for conducting a moot court.
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 provides teachers with everything they need to conduct moot courts of each. Past cases are always available on our website!
(Reproduced with permission)
Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers
High School Law Course
SCOTUS in the Classroom
Teaching for Civic Engagement