USF's WebQuest 

Students' Court

Historical Supreme Court Decisions


Author: Fay Osborn



The Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate have decided to review landmark Supreme Court decisions that established precedence for all future decisions. They want to decide if new legislation is necessary to alter any of these decisions. The first four cases they have decided to review are: Marbury v. Madison (1803), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and United States v. Nixon (1974). They are particularly interested in the roles each of the Three Branches of the United States Government played in these cases, and whether or not, the doctrine of "checks and balances" came into play.

 The Committee Realized this was an excellent learning opportunity for High School American Government students. They decided to hold a nationwide competition for the best reenactments of these separate Court cases which they opened to all American Government students in the country.  The winners of the competition will perform their reenactment for both Judiciary Committees of Congress in Washington, D.C. (all expenses paid, of course). Your class has decided to participate in this National Competition by writing, producing, and performing reenactments of all four cases. There is a lot of work to be done. Let's Get Started!!!


Your task is to research, write, produce, and perform a reenactment of one of the following Historical Supreme Court Cases:

You hope your reenactment production will win first place in the National American Government Competition that the Judiciary Committees of the United States Congress is holding for the best reenactment of Historical Supreme Court Cases. But first, you must be chosen by your school selection committee to represent your school at the county level. You have a lot of work to do!


There are three parts to the Process: Research, Reenactment Production, and Reenactment Performance

Marbury v. Madison

Plessy v. Ferguson

Brown v. Board of Education 

United States v. Nixon

The second part of the Process is the production of the reenactment. You must reassemble all group members. Your group will be given copies of the Grading Rubric so you will know what needs to be included. Your reenactment must be between 15-30 minutes in length.

Each member of your group needs to have one of the following roles:

The third part of the Process is the actual reenactment. Everyone must play a role in the production. The roles to be filled are:

The group must turn into the teacher:




Congratulations!!! Your Reenactment Production has been chosen to represent your school in the county-wide selection competition. You should continue to compete well all the way to Washington, D.C.

You should now be familiar with the Historical Supreme Court Decision you were assigned. I know when you are asked questions by the committee members about the specific roles played by the three branches of government in your case you will be able to answer with clarity and understanding concerning their roles, as well as, how the doctrine of "checks and Balances" was applied in your case.

You did a fabulous Job! You should consider being a lawyer some day...or at least an actor portraying one.